Austin History Center

Hugo Franz Kuehne Records and Drawings

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Kuehne, Hugo Franz
Title: Hugo Franz Kuehne Records and Drawings
Inclusive Dates: 1896-1971
Bulk Dates: 1917-1955
Abstract: Hugo Franz Kuehne was an Austin, Texas based architect that organized the Architecture Program at the University of Texas in 1910 and went on to practice architecture in the private sector for another 53 years before retiring in 1961. Personal papers, a limited amount of project files and drawings dating from 1896 to 1971 illustrate his career.
Identification: AR.2009.024
Quantity: .8 linear feet (2 boxes) of records and 3 flat file drawers(approximately 738 drawings)
Location: Architectural Archives
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Hugo Franz Kuehne was born in Austin, Texas in 1884. He received a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1906 and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1908.

Directly out of school, Kuehne worked in an architectural firm in Boston until he was asked to organize an architectural program in the College of Engineering at the University of Texas. His determination to establish a Beaux-Arts design oriented curriculum in a heavily emphasized engineering curriculum placed him at odds with the administration. He served as adjunct professor from 1910 to 1915 and founded the architecture library, which became one of the most important collections in the country.

He maintained his residence in Austin and entered private practice in 1915. His firms were Kuehne, Chasey and Giesecke (1915–17), Kuehne and Chasey (1917–19), H. F. Kuehne (1919–42), Giesecke, Kuehne and Brooks (1942), and Kuehne, Brooks and Barr (1942–1960). During the Great Depression Kuehne held supervisory positions with the United States Department of the Interior.

Kuehne served as president of the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) twice. In 1944 he was named an AIA Fellow. In 1961, after 53 years of practice, Kuehne retired. He died in Austin on November 23, 1963.

Kuehne was responsible for the design of many Austin public buildings. This list includes the Old Austin Library (1933), the Department of Public Safety Building (1952) and the Commodore Perry Hotel (1950). His Beaux-Arts style design was a major force in the shaping of Austin's visual image.

Scope and Contents

The Biographical Information series (1906-1962) contains awards and recognition from the City of Austin, the Mutual Savings Institute, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and the American Institute of Architects, diplomas from the University of Texas and Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a membership certificate from The Austin Country Club.

The Business Affairs series (1913-1953) consists of applications and resumes as well as business records of the Lake Austin Transportation Company. Of interest in the applications and resumes file is an application submitted to the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 to perform architectural and engineering work in connection with the National Defense Program. The application provides great insight into the type and costs of work Kuehne performed in his architectural and engineering career to date. The letters of recommendation from the Austin City Manager, the Chairman of the Austin Housing Authority and the President of the Board of Trustees of the Public Schools of Austin included in the application also provide insight into Kuehne's standing in the Austin community. The business records of the Lake Austin Transportation Company, of which Kuehne was president, date from 1913 to 1929 and contain Austin City Council meeting minutes relating to the contract with the city to operate a wharf and boat house on Lake Austin, financial statements and records, stock certificates, tax records, correspondence and an agreement for the dissolution of the Company.

The Correspondence series (1917-1955) consists of both personal and business matters in an effort to retain its original order by date. The earliest correspondence relates to Kuehne's interest in helping the war effort by going to France "to assist in the building and construction operations for the United States Army" and his subsequent frustration in trying to obtain such a commission. Also of interest is the 1935-1937 correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, during and directly after Kuehne was in Washington D.C. serving as the Chief of Construction and Development of the Rural Resettlement and Rehabilitation Division of the Resettlement Administration. Included are the weekly reports sent by J. Roy White on H.F. Kuehne, Architect letterhead updating Kuehne on the happenings in his office in Austin as well as Kuehne's responses to White about his personal and professional life in Washington D.C. Also included are letters between Dr. Carl C. Taylor, national director of the Resettlement Administration, and Kuehne about a pending legal case Kuehne was involved in and other Resettlement Administration issues. Also notable are letters between Lyndon B. Johnson and Kuehne dated 1938-1941.

The Writings series (1912-1958, undated) contains essays and speeches covering such topics as the architectural profession, the organization and curriculum of architectural schools, the Enfield Addition, the architectural style of the University of Texas, the history of the Department of Architecture of the University of Texas and church buildings.

Kuehne was involved in local civic organizations and served on several Boards and Commissions for the City of Austin throughout his adult life. The Civic Activities series contains materials related to his time serving as a member and as chairman of the City of Austin Planning Commission. Included are meeting minutes and supporting documentation, memorandum, correspondence, and press releases dating from 1952 to 1960.

The Professional Associations series (1949-1959) highlight Kuehne's involvement with the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Texas Society of Architects and the Texas Fine Arts Association. The majority of the materials relating to the AIA concern Kuehne's membership in the College of Fellows and nominations of fellow Texas architects for advancement to Fellowship in the AIA. These nominations include biographical information about architects including Austin architects such as Louis C. Page and Arthur Fehr. The Texas Fine Arts Association file consists of a single letter written by Kuehne, in his position of corresponding secretary, announcing a visit to Austin by sculptor Lorado Taft.

The Project Files series (1927-1954) contains architectural specification for the Austin Public Library (now the Austin History Center), the Capitol City Abattoir cattle shed and the Lamar Jr. High School. In addition there is correspondence between members of the State Building Architects, a group organized for the purpose of design and planning of a proposed State Courts Building for the Texas State Board of Control that included member firms Atlee and Ayres, Lamar Cato, George Dahl, Giesecke, Kuehne & Brooks and Stone and Pitts. Of note in the Austin Public Library file is a letter from A. P. Wooldridge, former mayor of Austin, written in 1927 to Kuehne expressing opposition to the idea of "combining on the same area of ground the public library and a public auditorium." The letter also provides details on how Wooldridge obtained the half block south of Wooldridge Park for the use of a public free library.

The Photographs series is a mixture of undated photos of actual buildings and photographic prints of reduced-in-size architectural renderings and/or presentation drawings. Commercial, educational, ecclesiastical, public and residential projects are represented. Also included are three photo albums, two of which hold the representative work of Kuehne, Brooks & Barr, Architects and Southwestern Architects-Engineers. The third album is titled "Austin History Center" and includes photographs, slides and brochure pages of what appears to be projects completed by Brooks & Barr. The unidentified folder contains buildings designed by Kuehne, presumably built in Texas.

The Drawings series (1896-1954, 1971, undated) contains approximately 738 drawings representing 133 projects. The majority of the projects are located in Austin, Texas but there are some drawings for designs built elsewhere in Texas. Just under half of the collection consists of designs for residential projects including several ink sketches by J. Roy White of a set of designs titled "Subsistence Homestead." The earliest drawings in the series are student work by Kuehne and other architects. The rest of the drawings represent public, commercial, ecclesiastical, educational, and medical projects including the Austin Public Library (1933), Lockhart Creamery (600 E. First St., Austin, 1941), and the Central Christian Church (1110 Guadalupe St., Austin, 1928).


Collection is arranged into 9 series:
I. Biographical Information
II. Business Affairs
III. Correspondence
IV. Writings
V. Civic Activities
VI. Professional Associations
VII. Project Files
VIII. Photographs
IX. Drawings


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Kuehne, Hugo Franz, 1884-1963.
Taylor, Carl C. (Carl Cleveland), 1884-1975.
White, J. Roy.
American Institute of Architects. Austin Chapter.
Lake Austin Transportation Company.
United States. Resettlement Administration.
Austin (Tex.)
Washington (D.C.)
Document Types:
Printed Material.
Financial Records.

Related Material

The architectural drawings of Kuehne, Brooks and Barr were donated separately and processed as a separate collection - AR.2012.033 Brooks, Barr, Graeber and White. Please see the Finding Aid and the Architectural Archives card catalog in the Reading Room for a listing of these materials.

Drawings associated with Kuehne can also be found in AR.2012.035 J. Roy White Drawings.

Separated Material

Photographs portraying Austin or Travis County structures were separated and stored in the Photographs Collection (photocopies of the separated photos with locations are included in the collection). Two photographs of Kuehne were also moved to the Photographs Collection (AF-Biography - PICB 12325-12326).

Various City of Austin publications concerning the Planning Commission were removed to the General Collection. See Donor File for details.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Hugo F. Kuehne Jr. on March 21, 1985.

Preferred Citation

Hugo Franz Kuehne Records (AR.2009.024). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1956/007

Donation Date: 1985

Processing Information

Finding aid was prepared by Tim Wilder in November 1991, updated by Molly Hults in 2010.

Finding aid was encoded by Evan Usler in 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Biographical Information, 1906-1962

Box Folder
1 1 Awards and certificates, 1945-191955
Location Box
Arch qAR 3 Oversize award, 1962
3 Diplomas, 1906-1908, 1962
Box Folder
1 2 Membership, 1924

II. Business Affairs, 1913-1953

Box Folder
1 3 Applications and resumes, 1937-1953
4 Lake Austin Transportation Company, 1913-1929

III. Correspondence, 1917-1955

Box Folder
1 5-10 Correspondence, 1917-1955

IV. Writings, 1912-1958, undated

Box Folder
1 11 Address to Rotarians, undated
12 "Alma Mater Nova", 1912
13 Architectural style, undated
14 Committee on Graduate Studies in Education, 1958
15 "Discussion of the Organization and Curriculum of Architectural Schools", circa 1910s
16 "History of the Department of Architecture at the University of Texas", 1932
17 "On Church Buildings", undated
18 "Tribute to T. U. Taylor", undated

V. Civic Activities, 1952-1960

Box Folder
1 19 City of Austin Planning Commission, 1952-1960

VI. Professional Associations, 1949-1959, undated

Box Folder
2 1 American Institute of Architects and Texas Society of Architects, 1949-1959
2 Texas Fine Arts Association, undated

VII. Project Files, 1927-1954

Box Folder
2 3 Austin Public Library (KU-258), 1927-1932
4 Capitol City Abattoir - Cattle Shed (AD-0025), 1930
5 Lamar Jr. High School (KBB-965), 1954
6 State Courts Building, 1945-1951

VIII. Photographs, undated

Box Folder
2 7 Commercial, undated
8 Ecclesiastical, undated
9-11 Educational, undated
12 Public, undated
13 Unidentified, undated
Location PhotoAlbum
Outer Vault #11 and #12 Representative works, undated
Location Box
Arch. qAR 3 "Austin History Center" Album, undated

IX. Drawings, 1896-1954, 1971, undated

View an index of the architectural drawings here.