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Walter T. Downing visual arts materials

Collection number: ahc.VIS200

Scope and Content

This collection contains images created or collected by Walter T. Downing. These images include lithographs, collotypes, photographs, and photographic reproductions of architectural details and sculptures from books and serials. The books include Lacy's Dramatic Costumes and Die Tapezierkunst which contains reproduced sketches of tapestries and window decorations. Also included are images of architectural details including wall medallions, cornice pieces, and statues from Bauornamente Der Neuzeit. Additional images from the serial American Architect and Building News include reproductions of drawings, tapestries, and paintings including religious, historical, and decorative images and figures. The collection contains sketches and watercolors of interiors created by Downing as well as twenty photographs of unidentied interiors and exteriors. Other lithographs and collotypes include images taken out of unidentified art books covering topics in design such as clothing of foreign countries and costumes from stage plays.


  • 1865-1899, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This collection is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative/Biographical History

Walter T. Downing (1865-1918) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his mother in 1876. He worked as a draftsman for Hannibal I. Kimball from 1884-1885 and then as an apprentice at the architectural firm, L. B. Wheeler and Company. Downing formed the firm W. T. Downing, Architect, in 1890. He won the design award for the Fine Arts Building for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. He was responsible for designing several of Atlanta's oldest extant churches including Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1898), Trinity United Methodist Church (1911), and First Presbyterian Church (1919). Downing designed office buildings for the Fairlie Poplar district in Atlanta with architect Thomas Morgan. He also designed buildings at Oglethorpe University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Downing changed his focus to residences, and in 1897 he published Domestic Architecture. He is best known for his designs of private residences in Atlanta including the Wimbish House (1898); the Frank Ellis House (1910-1914); the John Grant House (1921); and the Dodson House (1915-1918). He died in 1918 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being struck by an automobile.


446 item(s) (119 lithographs; 91 collotypes; 197 photographic reproductions; 14 sketches and watercolors; 20 photographs; and 5 prints)



System of Arrangement

Collection arranged alphabetically according to format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Nancy Downing, 1977 (1977.307)

Related Archival Materials

Walter T. Downing letter and travel article, MSS 689f, James G. Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Description Control

Collection reprocessed in 2011.
Walter T. Downing visual arts materials
Laura Starratt
October 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305