Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Biographical sketch of Walter Thomas Rolfe

Scope and Content of the collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

References to works by or about Walter T. Rolfe (1900-1967)

Description of Series

Series A: Personal Papers

Series B: Correspondence

Series C: Manuscripts

Series C1: Speeches

Series C2: Articles

Series C3: Prose

Series C4: Poetry

Texas

Series E: Printed Material

Series F: Photographs

Series G: Awards and Medals

Series H: Paintings

Series I: Drawings

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Walter T. Rolfe:

An Inventory of his Records, Drawings, and Paintings, 1920-1967



Collection Summary

Creator:Rolfe, Walter T., 1900-1967
Title:Walter T. Rolfe (1900-1967) Archival records, drawings and paintings, Architectural education; personal papers
Dates:1920-1967
Abstract:Rolfe (1900-1967) taught at the University of Texas School of Architecture (1924-1946); practiced architecture in Houston and Beaumont, Tex. (1946-1967); won the Order of the Sun of Peru (1965) for "outstanding contribution to the furtherance of architectural education and practice in Peru." Summary: Personal papers, correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, photographs, books, awards and medals, seven paintings and 26 drawings make up this record group documenting portions of Rolfe's life (1920-1967).
Identification:ROLFE 1984006; 1986014; 2003005; 2007030
Quantity: 26 drawings, 1.25 linear feet of archival records, 7 paintings, 94 photographs, 4 medals, 3 pins
Language:Materials are in English.
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical sketch of Walter Thomas Rolfe

Walter Thomas Rolfe was born on August 22, 1900 in Wetmore, Kansas. He grew up there and graduated from Wetmore High School in 1918. He received a bachelor of science degree in architecture from Kansas State College in 1922 and his masters in architectural design from MIT in 1923.

He started his teaching career as associate professor of architecture at Auburn University in 1923 where he met his future partner, Albert S. Golemon, who was one of his best students. Rolfe moved to North Dakota State College where he taught for four years before going to the University of Texas in 1924. He spent the next eighteen years at the University of Texas School of Architecture and was chair of the department from 1936 to 1946.

"In February of 1946, he and Albert Golemon... formed the nucleus of one of the largest and most experienced architectural firms in the Southwest [at that time].... A number of the Southwest's most modern hospitals, churches and schools were designed by them. They reflect individuality and functional efficiency. Golemon & Rolfe was one of the first architectural firms to research and recommended the compact type, year-round air conditioned school building for more efficient teacher and pupil performance; Walter Rolfe was greatly responsible for the concept. The idea was accepted and acclaimed nationally."*

Rolfe was representative from the AIA to the US Commission to UNESCO from 1953 to 1955 and was active in other committee work in the AIA. He had a heart attack in 1957 which reduced his participation in the activities of the firm to the role of consultant. "He was acclaimed as one of the best public speakers in the architectural profession. On may occasions he spoke at conventions of the various segments of the AIA, at the local, state and national level. He made numerous talks for the engineering profession and for service organizations."*

In 1965, Rolfe was awarded the Order of the Sun of Peru, for "outstanding contribution to the furtherance of architectural education and practice in Peru,"* through his having been the professional teacher of Peru's President Fernando Belaúnde Terry.

Rolfe was in Houston when he died of a heart attack in June 1967.

Sources


  • *Memorial booklet printed by Golemon & Rolfe, Architects, 1967.
  • [Obituary] Texas Architect (August 1967): p. 4.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Content of the collection

Personal papers, correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, photographs, books, awards and medals, 7 paintings and 26 drawings make up this record group documenting portions of Walter T. Rolfe's life from 1920 to 1967. The papers, correspondence, manuscripts and printed material measure 1.25 linear feet.

The personal papers include biographical information, certificates, awards and quotes he collected to use in speeches. A memorial brochure, printed by his firm, Golemon & Rolfe gives one of the few overviews of his life.

Correspondence focuses on two major themes: the Order of the Sun of Peru and the memorial brochure printed by the firm. Letters and telegrams arrived at Rolfe's door when he won the award including congratulations from Peru's president, Fernando Belaúnde Terry, who was one of Rolfe's former students. The comments about the memorial brochure were sent to Rolfe's partner, Albert Golemon, or Rolfe's wife, Bessie Mae.

Manuscripts show that Rolfe was a prolific writer. The varied types of manuscripts included in this series were presented as speeches, articles, short fiction and poetry. Rolfe wrote a book in 1935 called Texas which he described as "a 32-page booklet illustrated in black and white, front page in color, treating the cultural background, history and opportunity of Texas." Several copies of the book are in with his papers.

Printed material is comprised of an assortment of articles about architecture.

The photographs are portraits of Rolfe and his wife. The paintings are watercolors by Rolfe and the drawings represent Rolfe's residence.

The series called awards and medals contains Rolfe's medals and awards. Highlights in this series are the Order of the Sun of Peru Plate (silver) and medal (gold) and his FAIA medal.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

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.

Return to the Table of Contents


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.
Subjects (Persons):
Rolfe, Walter T., 1900-1967
Belaúnde Terry, Fernando, 1912-
Subjects (Organizations):
Golemon & Rolfe (Houston, Tex.)
Subjects:
Rolfe, Walter T., 1900-1967--Archives.
University of Texas at Austin. School of Architecture.--Faculty.
Document types:
Manuscripts.
Architectural drawings.
Watercolor drawings.
Paintings.

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Citation

Walter T. Rolfe (1900-1967) Archival records. Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Drawings processed by Lila Knight, Summer 1986; other material processed by Nancy Sparrow.

Return to the Table of Contents


Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

Return to the Table of Contents


References to works by or about Walter T. Rolfe (1900-1967)

"AIA National Committeeman." Texas Architect (June 1951): p. 9.

"The American Architectural Foundation." American Institute of Architects Journal 15 (May 1951): p. 214, 219.

"The American Architectural Foundation, its opportunities and its needs." American Institute of Architects Journal 24 (September 1955): p. 111-5.

"Architect and his community." Texas Architect (December 1956): p. 5.

"At AIA Convention." Texas Architect (July 1954): p. 7.

"Bellaire High School." Texas Architect (April 1958): p. 6 and cover.

"Center Medical Building, Houston, Texas." Progressive Architecture 35 (January 1954): p. 90.

"Elementary Schools." Progressive Architecture 29 (November 1948): p. 51-64.

"Hospital: Alexandria, Louisiana." Progressive Architecture 32 (February 1951): p. 79-85.

"Hospitals: trends in planning. Building types study 363." Architectural Record 140 (October 1966): p. 197-216.

"Jack Tar Orange House." Texas Architect (May 1957): p. 7 and cover.

Kohl, George S., ed. American Architects Directory. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1962.

"Medical Towers." Texas Architect (July 1960): p. 11.

"Medical Towers win AIA award." Texas Architect (April 1957): p. 9.

"Memorial to Goldwin Goldsmith." Texas Architect (February 1962): p. 4.

"Moderates TSA Seminar." Texas Architect (November 1955): p. 6.

"Named to UNESCO Commission." Texas Architect (December 1952): p. 20.

"Named to UNESCO Post." Texas Architect (January 1953): p. 11.

[Obituary] Texas Architect (August 1967): p. 4.

"Presides at TSA Seminar." Texas Architect (November 1953): p. 4.

"Professional Offices, Houston, Texas." Progressive Architecture 36 (September 1955): p. 102-3.

"Research and the Architect." Texas Architect (June 1961): p. 4.

Rolfe, Walter Thomas. Texas. Austin: The Steck Company, 1935.

"Speaks to Clay Products Institute." Texas Architect (January 1955): p. 9.

"Twentieth Street Medical Plaza." Texas Architect (March 1961): p. 8.

"Wins award from Peru." Texas Architect (December 1965): p. 20.

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

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

Series A: Personal Papers

Series Abstract
The personal papers include biographical information, certificates, awards and quotes he collected to use in speeches. A memorial brochure, printed by his firm, Golemon & Rolfe gives one of the few overviews of his life.
boxfolder
11Biographical Information (1940-1967)
2A Great History of the Class of 1923, Mass. Institute of Technology
3Certificates and Awards (1920-1959)
4AIA Fellowship (1947)
5Announcement of Walter Rolfe Scholarship (1967)
6Quotes for Speeches
7Memorial Brochure
8Memorial Book
9Bessie Coulter Rolfe's Certificates (1921)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series B: Correspondence

Series Abstract
The Correspondence series includes references to Rolfe's health, general incoming and outgoing mail, AIA tours, the Order of the Sun of Peru, correspondence with Lyndon Baines Johnson, and that discussing Rolfe's memorial tribute.
boxfolder
110Outgoing: Concerning Rolfe's heart attack (1957)
11Incoming General (1965-1977)
12Outgoing (1965)
13Incoming: AIA tour highlights (1952-1954)
14Incoming: pertaining to the Order of the Sun
15Incoming: from Lyndon Baines Johnson (1946-1958)
16Correspondence with Fernando Belaúnde Terry (1965-1967)
17Incoming: Copies of letters received by Albert Goleman pertaining to Rolfe's Memorial Tribute (1967)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C: Manuscripts

Series Abstract
The Manuscripts series reflects Rolfe's prolific writing career. The varied types of manuscripts included in this series were presented as speeches, articles, short fiction and poetry. Rolfe wrote a book in 1935 called Texas which he described as "a 32-page booklet illustrated in black and white, front page in color, treating the cultural background, history and opportunity of Texas." Several copies of the book are in with his papers.

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C1: Speeches

boxfolder
21Outlines for lectures
2"The Architect, Color and Light"
3"Competence - The Key to Excellence"
4"Houston - Large or Great - or Both" (1965)
5"Mexico"
6"To Open More Doors" (1956)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C2: Articles

boxfolder
27"What has the School a Right to Expect of Its Graduates?" (1948)
8"One Architect's Home"
9"Department of Architecture at the University of Texas 1910-1948," [draft] with Werner Dornberger and Hugh McMath (1962)
10"A Research Program in Architecture" (1964)
11"The Need for a Certifying Program in Any Profession" (1956)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C3: Prose

boxfolder
212Prose Manuscripts (1962-1964)
13"High on a Kansas Hill" (1963)
14"Sincerely Yours" [draft] (1965)
14"Sincerely Yours" [notes] (1955-1965)
boxfolder
31"Bless Your Heart" [rough draft] (1966)
2-5"Worry" (1965)
6"Trouper" (1965)
7"Miraculous Man"
boxfolder
41-3"Miraculous Man "

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C4: Poetry

boxfolder
44-5 "Dust and Stars"
6Poetry (undated)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series D: Texas [Rolfe's Book]

Series Abstract
Rolfe's description of the book: A 32-page booklet, illustrated in black and white, front page in color, treating the cultural background, history and opportunity of Texas. Published by Steck and Co., Austin, 1935.
boxfolder
51Mock-up for Texas
2Texas (without covers)
3Texas
(two copies)
folder
flat fileMechanicals for the book. (illustrations)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series E: Printed Material

Series Abstract
Printed material is comprised of books and articles about architecture by or about Rolfe, as well as clippings about Rolfe.
boxfolder
54Clippings about Walter Rolfe (1947-1965)
5AIA Journal, January 1964 (see full description in bibliography)
6Architecture: A Profession and Career(1954)
7El Architecto, March/April 1954.
8Ernest Langford Architecture Center at A&M Dedication Brochure, 1976
9Texas Architect, December 1965
10Remembrances of Things Past, by Ernest Langford, 1975

Return to the Table of Contents




Series F: Photographs
93 black and white prints and 1 color print

Series Abstract
The photographs series contains portraits of Rolfe, his wife Betty, friends and associates.
boxfolder
511Walter T. Rolfe (Kodak date on verso of photograph: August 1967
12Walter and Betty Rolfe's Wedding Portraits (2) [September 1925]
13 Portraits of Rolfe (undated)
folder
flat fileRolfe in studio, painting
boxfolder
513 Portraits of Rolfe (undated)
14Rolfe receiving Order of the Sun (undated)
15Unidentified (1963, undated)
16Texas Society of Architects convention, Houston, Tex. 1955
17Texas Society of Architects convention, Corpus Christi, Tex. 1968
18Texas Society of Architects convention, Dallas, Tex., undated

Return to the Table of Contents




Series G: Awards and Medals

Series Abstract
The series called awards and medals contains Rolfe's medals and awards. Highlights in this series are the Order of the Sun of Peru Plate (silver) and medal (gold) and his FAIA medal.
boxfolder
61Order of the Sun Plate. Engraved Signature of Fernando Belaúnde Terry.
(inscription)
2FAIA Medal. Silver with red ribbon. Inscription.
3Princeton Medal (bronze)
4Order of the Sun Medal (gold) Masonic Tie Pin (25 year member) Two Fraternity Pins (Kappa Delta) Silver Pin (possibly a tie clip)

Return to the Table of Contents




Series H: Paintings

Series Abstract
The paintings are watercolors by Rolfe. They are all acrylic on crescent board unless otherwise stated.
"Fulfilment" - watercolor sketch of a futuristic city
Landscape (with golf course)
21-1/2 × 28-1/2"
Abstract (organic)
22 × 27-3/4"
Abstract (organic)
22 × 27-3/4"
Abstract
19 × 25"
Seascape with bubbles
22 × 30"
Landscape in blue
19 × 22"
Pyramids, 1960
21 × 26"

Return to the Table of Contents




Series I: Drawings

The drawings series represents Rolfe's residence.
Residence for Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rolfe, Commission 5700

Return to the Table of Contents