Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch of Nicholas J. Clayton

Scope and Content of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

References to works by or about Nicholas J. Clayton (1840-1916)

Description of Series

Series A Specifications and Misc. Sketches

Series B Drawings

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Nicholas Joseph Clayton:

An Inventory of his Drawings and Papers, 1883-1901



Collection Summary

Creator Clayton, Nicholas Joseph, 1839-1916
Title: Nicholas Joseph Clayton (1839-1916) Architectural drawings and manuscript material, Galveston, Texas
Dates: 1883-1901
Abstract Clayton (1839-1916) was one of the first professional architects to establish a practice in Texas and is most famous for his work in Galveston between 1873 and 1900. Drawings, sketches, one set of specifications (1883-1901) for 18 projects designed by Clayton. Among the buildings included are Ball High School (Galveston), Dallas Orphan Asylum, New Galveston Country Courthouse (not built), Galveston NewsBuilding, Walter Gresham residence (Galveston), Hutchings-Sealy Building (Galveston), St. Matthews Catholic Church (Monroe, La.), St. Patrick's Catholic Church (Galveston), Ursuline Convent (Dallas).
Identification: Accession number(s): 0000002, 1986002, 1986003, 1988001, 1991013
Quantity: .08 linear feet of manuscript material, 490 drawings (not completely processed)
Language English.
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archive, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Nicholas J. Clayton

Nicholas J. Clayton was born in Cork, Ireland in 1840 and emigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio as a small child with his mother. He served in the United States Navy during the Civil War. After the war he went to Memphis, Tenn. where he studied with architect W.H. Baldwin at the firm, Jones and Baldwin. Late in 1872, Clayton traveled to Galveston on behalf of that firm to supervise construction of the First Presbyterian Church and the Tremont Hotel. He stayed in Galveston and established his own practice in 1875, making him one of the first professional architects in Texas. Clayton dominated Galveston architecture from 1873 to 1900, most prominently in the 1880s and 1890s.

While modest in personal conduct, Clayton assiduously promoted his architectural practice. From 1884 until 1902, each successive edition of Morrison & Fourmy's Galveston City Directory contained his full-page advertisement, illustrated with engravings of the architect's work. His office day book recorded the transmittal of notices on current projects to both Galveston and Houston newspapers.

Clayton was involved in the design of most building types of the period. Institutional, commercial, industrial, ecclesiastical and residential buildings all became subjects for his spirited, picturesque, eclectic treatment. From 1880 to 1900, his work, although stylistically varied, was consistently informed by a High Victorian sensibility. This entailed a richly plastic manipulation of building surfaces, deployed in aggressively mannered, renditions of the Gothic revival, the pre-Richardsonian Romanesque, and neo-Grec classicism.

Richardson's influence began to show in Clayton's work of the late 1880s and 1890s, as did the suburban Queen Anne, and the developing school of Renaissance classicism. Yet, even though these later tastes were predicted on the priority of massing and composition over ornament, Clayton sacrificed none of this exuberance in dealing with them. In contrast, his planning was simple and pragmatic. An academic distribution of space in institutional structures, and unencumbered loft space in commercial buildings were typical of his work. Only in churches and houses was his planning highly articulated.

After 25 years as the first architect of the city, Clayton, for a variety of reasons, suffered a swift and painful professional decline just after the turn of the century. When he died, in 1916, at the age of 76, his burial site was marked with one of his marble samples because his family could not afford a gravestone. Yet his bequest to Galveston and to the other cities which have retained his buildings is of irreplaceable value. His work represents a lifetime, worked out day by day under the most ordinary and circumstantial conditions, dedicated to the cause of architecture as the public art.

Sources:

Fox, Stephen. "Profile: Nicholas J. Clayton, Architect." Texas Architect 26 (July/August 1976): 51-52.

Fox, Stephen. "Texas 7." Architectural Review (November 1978).

Nesbitt, Robert A. The Port of Galveston Bicentennial Appointment Calendar and Compendium for 1976. [Galveston: private printing, 1976].

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Scope and Content of the Collection

The Nicholas J. Clayton Papers contain 490 drawings (some unprocessed),.08 linear feet (1 inch) of archival material and one set of specifications, all dating from 1883 to 1901, for 18 projects which Clayton designed.

Other University of Texas collections containing Clayton related material include:

Alexander Architectural Archive. Texas Architectural Archive: Church of the Sacred Heart, Palestine, St. Edwards University Administration Building, Austin (poster), University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston.

Center for American History: Oral interview of Lucy Clayton (grand daughter).

Other institutions with Clayton holdings: Rosenberg Library (Galveston, Tex.) (74-0004). Papers, 1874-1915.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Access is by appointment only to any serious scholar. Rolled materials must be flattened before viewing. A three day advance notice is required to flatten rolled materials. Portions of this collection are not processed and may not be accessible.

Restrictions on Use

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Alexander Architectural Archive's Use Policy.

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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.
Persons:
Clayton, Nicholas Joseph, 1839-1916--Archives.
Organizations:
Dallas Orphan Asylum.
Galveston News Building.
Hutchings-Sealy Building.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church (Galveston, Tex.)
Ursuline Convent (Dallas, Tex.)
St. Matthews Catholic Church (Monroe, La.)
Ball High School (Galveston, Tex.)
Galveston (Tex.)--Buildings.
Dallas (Tex.)--Buildings.
Subjects:
Monroe (La.)--Buildings.
Architecture--Texas--Galveston.
Document types:
Architectural drawings.
High Victorian buildings.
Gothic Revival buildings.
Romanesque Revival buildings.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Nicholas Joseph Clayton (1839-1916) Architectural drawings and manuscript material, 1883-1901, Galveston, Texas, the Alexander Architectural Archive, the General Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the Alexander Architectural Archive from the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture.

Processing Information

Drawings are not completely processed. For more information, please contact Archives' staff.

Drawings processed by: Lila Stillson and Hugh Boren

Date: Fall 1983

Processed by: Nancy Sparrow

Date: October 1992

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Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

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References to works by or about Nicholas J. Clayton (1840-1916)

Alexander, Drury Blakeley. Texas Homes of the Nineteenth Century. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966.

Barnstone, Howard. The Galveston that Was. New York: Macmillan, 1966.

Robinson, Willard E. Texas Public Buildings of the Nineteenth Century. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974.

Speck, Lawrence. Landmarks of Texas Architecture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986.

Nicholas J. Clayton papers, 1874-1915. Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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

 

Series A Specifications and Misc. Sketches

Series Abstract
The Specifications and Misc. Sketches series consists of sketches of Ball school and the Lasker residence. The specifications are for the Galveston County Courthouse.
box folder
1 1 Miscellaneous sketches
Ball School
Lasker residence
box folder
1 2 Specifications for the construction, completion and equipment of the new county courthouse for Galveston County (1897)

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Series B Drawings

Series Abstract
Entries in the Drawings series 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.). Although processing for this collection is not yet complete, the following is a comprehensive list of the Archives' holdings of drawings for this collection. The drawings found in this collection are fragile. Access may be limited.
Project name: Ball High School. North Front. Remodeling.
Date on drawings: 1890
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Church of the Sacred Heart (Palestine, Tex.).
Date on drawings: 1890 08 30
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas John Clayton and Company Architects
City: Palestine
County: Anderson
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Dallas Orphan Asylum.
Date on drawings: 1885-1889
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Dallas
County: Dallas
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Fourth District Free School.
Date on drawings: 1889-1891
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Galveston News Building.
Date on drawings: 1883-1884
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Hutchings Building.
Date on drawings: 1895
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Jesuit Society of Spring Hill College.
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Mobile
State/Province: Ala.
Country: U.S.
Project name: St. Joseph's Infirmary.
Date on drawings: 1895
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Houston
County: Harris
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: St. Louis Church (Tampa, Fla.).
Date on drawings: 1897
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Tampa
State/Province: Fla.
Country: U.S.
Project name: St. Matthews Catholic Church (Monroe, La.).
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Monroe
State/Province: La.
Country: U.S.
Project name: St. Patricks Cathedral (Galveston, Tex.). Addition.
Date on drawings: 1901
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Taylor Catholic Church.
Date on drawings: 1894
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Taylor
County: Williamson
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Ursuline Convent Building. Addition.
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
City: Dallas
County: Dallas
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Adoue and Lobit bank and office building. Proposed.
Date on drawings: 1890-1891
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: Adoue and Lobit
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Galveston County Courthouse.
Date on drawings: nd
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: Galveston County
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project number: 1889
Project name: Walter Gresham residence.
Date on drawings: 1886-1891
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: Gresham, Walter
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Thomas Jack residence.
Date on drawings: 1894
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: Jack, Thomas
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Lasker residence and stable.
Date on drawings: 1889-1890
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: Lasker, M., Esq.
Street address: 18th and Broadway
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.
Project name: J.C. League residence.
Primary archt/firm: Nicholas J. Clayton
Client: League, J. C.
City: Galveston
County: Galveston
State/Province: Tex.
Country: U.S.

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