University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Robert Leon White:

An Inventory of his Drawings, 1920-1928

Collection Summary

CreatorWhite, Robert Leon, 1898-1964
Title:Robert Leon White (1898-1964) Drawings, Mission San Jose, San Antonio and projects in Austin, Texas
Dates: 1920-1928
AbstractTexas architect Robert Leon White (1898-1964) served as supervising architect at the University of Texas during the 1930s and designed several important buildings in Texas including the Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in Waco (1948), and multiple structures for the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston (1928-1937). Consists of approximately 300 drawings including examples of White's student work at the University of Texas, measured drawings of Mission San Jose in San Antonio and working drawings for the Central Christian Church in Austin, Tex.
Quantity:300 drawings
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Robert Leon White

Robert Leon White (1898-1964) was born near Cooper, Texas and graduated as valedictorian from Cooper High School in 1916. During the summer of 1917, he attended the North Texas State Normal School. In 1918, he entered the University of Texas. After serving in the infantry during World War I, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1921. He subsequently worked for several architects in San Antonio, including Ralph Cameron and Phelps and DeWees before returning to the University of Texas for a masters degree in 1923. His thesis, completed in 1930, was a study of the Mission San Joseph de San Miguel de Aguayo (known as Mission San Jose). He married Viola Baker of Austin in 1922.

While attending graduate school at The University of Texas, he also served as instructor and adjunct professor. In 1924, he was appointed to the newly created post of "supervising architect" for the University wherein he coordinated the University's largest building campaign during the 1930s. Among the many buildings erected at this time were the Main Building, Goldsmith Hall, Home Economics, the Texas Union, and Hogg Auditorium. He served as supervising architect for the University until 1958.

In addition to his work for the University, White was responsible for the design of other important structures in Texas including the Central Christian Church in Austin (1928); the Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in Waco (1948); and numerous structures for the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston (1928-1937). White received the Sealy-Smith Foundation award for his design of the Outpatient Building in Galveston and the 1950 Gold Medal from the Texas Society of Architects for the Masonic Grand Lodge in Waco. He was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner. White died on July 28, 1964. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, Mrs. Cecil Heard of Austin, and a son, Robert Leon White Jr. of Georgia.

Scope and Content of the collection

Robert Leon White served as supervising architect to the University of Texas from 1924 to 1958. This collection of architectural drawings (1920-1928) contains the work he executed in private practice outside the scope of his work for the University of Texas. It consists of the working drawings for the Central Christian Church in Austin (1928); measured drawings of Mission San Jose in San Antonio executed as part of the requirements for his masters thesis in architecture at The University of Texas; and examples of his student work at The University of Texas (primarily watercolor renderings executed in the Beaux-Arts tradition).

Additional material in the Alexander Architectural Archives relating to Robert Leon White may be found in the papers of The University of Texas Supervising Architects Office in the University of Texas Buildings Collection, and the School of Architecture Archives.


Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives' reference staff for further information.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasions of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person).

The Alexander Architectural Archives operate in accordance with applicable federal or state laws and regulations, providing unrestricted access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

The Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas Libraries, and The University of Texas at Austin, assume no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyright or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that results from a researcher's use of collections.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless The University of Texas at Austin, and their officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries. Please alert staff if anything inappropriate is found during research.

Copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to the University of Texas. Researchers assume full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Additionally, the public use of material must be cited. See citation information below.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
White, Robert Leon, 1898-1964--Archives.
University of Texas. Office of the Supervising Architect.
Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo (San Antonio, Tex.)
Central Christian Church (Austin, Tex.)
Church architecture--Texas--Austin.
Missions--Texas--San Antonio.
Beaux-Arts buildings.
Byzantine Revival buildings.
Spanish Colonial buildings.
Student drawings.
Document types:
Architectural drawings.
Measured drawings.
Working drawings.
Watercolor drawings.

Administrative Information


Robert Leon White (1898-1964) Drawings, 1920-1928, Mission San Jose, San Antonio and projects in Austin, Texas, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Drawings processed by: Lila Knight, 1988; Beth Dodd, 1998

Processing is not completed. Please see Archive's staff for more information.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

References to works by or about Robert Leon White (1898-1964)

McMichael, Carol. Paul Cret at Texas. Austin: Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, 1983.

[Obituary] Texas Architect (September 1964): p. 4.

"Robert Leon White becomes partner in firm." Texas Architect (January 1964): p. 14.

Smith, Hank Todd, ed. Austin: Its Architects and Architecture (1836-1986). Austin: Austin Chapter AIA, 1986.

Williamson, Roxanne. Austin, Texas; An American Architectural History. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1973.

Williamson, Roxanne. A History of the Campus and Buildings of the University of Texas with Emphasis on the Sources for the Architectural Styles. Masters Thesis, Spring 1965. n.p.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Drawings Series

Series Abstract
Entries are indexed in alphabetical order by Client's last name. If the client is not identifiable the field will remain blank. Entries without client names are sorted by Project Name and listed before those that provide client's names. Project names are supplied by the cataloger, as title blocks on the drawings prove to be inconsistent and many drawings are not labeled. Dates are offered if they can be derived from the drawings or gathered from other authoritative sources. The term "drawing" includes both original works (such as pencil on trace paper, or ink on tracing clothe) as well as copies (such as sepia prints, blue line prints, etc.).
Project name: Central Christian Church (Austin, Tex).
Date on drawings: 1928-1929
Primary archt/firm: Robert Leon White, Samuel Vosper, Ralph Cameron
Street address: 1110 Guadalupe (Guadalupe at West 12th Street)
City: Austin
County: Travis
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.
Date on drawings: 1930
Primary archt/firm: Robert Leon White
City: San Antonio
County: Bexar
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Normandy Shop Front.
Date on drawings: 1928?
Primary archt/firm: Robert Leon White