Eames & Young Architectural Photographs Collection

About the Eames & Young Firm

William S. Eames was born in Clinton, Michigan in 1857. He and his family moved to St. Louis in 1863 where he graduated from the St. Louis School of Fine Arts in 1878. After an extensive study trip around Europe, Eames received appointment as the Deputy Commissioner of Public Buildings. He completed plans for several structures in the city, then resigned in 1885 to form a partnership with Thomas C. Young.

Young was born in 1858 lived primarily in Grand Rapids, Michigan until coming to Washington University in 1878. In 1880 he traveled to Europe to study at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and Heidelberg University in Germany. Upon his return to the United States, he worked with the Boston firm of Van Brunt & Howe and E.M. Wheelwright from 1882-1885. He went back to St. Louis to work on the commission of a small office building, a project supervised by Eames. This lead to their partnership.

After a series of impressive residential commissions, the firm undertook commissions for larger structures such as the Cupples Warehouse complex, the Lincoln Trust Building, the Art Building for the Trans-Continental Exposition in Omaha, and federal prisons in Atlanta, Georgia and Leavenworth, Kansas.

Eames became the first president of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and in 1904, he became the first St. Louisan to hold the office of National President of the Institute. Meanwhile, Young served as mayor of Webster Groves, and he eventually overtook Eames' position as the president of the St. Louis Chapter of the AIA in 1909 and 1910.

Eames died in 1915, having never married, but he was survived by his mother, five sisters, and one brother, the father of architect-designer Charles Eames. After Eames' death, Young continued to practice and eventually formed an office in Chicago with Alfred H. Granger in 1917.

About the Collection

The Eames and Young digitization project was proposed based on repeated requests for eight of the thirteen photo albums that reside in Art special collections. The first eight albums contain unique photos of the firm's buildings. For a complete listing of all the buildings featured in this collection, click here

The images in volumes 1-8 are black and white photographs, a total of 254 images in two formats. Volumes one through four are commercially bound; each photo page is backed with cloth, the photos measure 26.6 x 21.2 cm. Volumes five through eight are leather albums, crumbling either from their acidic board backing or from red-rot. The photos in these albums are mounted on acidic black paper common to the 1920s. Some photos are showing signs of fading and discoloration. The photos vary slightly in size, none measuring more than 28 x 22.8 cm.

The partners in the firm were William S. Eames & Thomas C. Young. William died in 1915. He was uncle to Charles, of the Charles & Ray Eames design team. Thomas Young continued working until 1927 when he retired from practice. Most of the images in the albums pre-date the 1923 copyright line. Volumes 5 and 8 are the only ones that may have images from 1924 onward.

Enter Eames and Young Collection

About the Eames & Young Digitization Project

The Digital Library Team met in several working groups to make recommendations on a content management system, scanning resolution, intellectual property rights, metadata fields, and scanning workflow.

Luna was chosen be the content management system for the collection. The University already licenses this product, and several staff are familiar with the software.

Scanning resolution for these photographs will be 600ppi (dpi). This resolution was determined after reviewing the recommendations of several other organizations, including the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the Universities of Virginia, Michigan, Indiana and California.

Metadata fields were determined based on review of Dublin Core and the University of Kansas template for art and cultural objects. The structure of Luna was taken into account when developing the list of fields and how they will be used and displayed. An attempt was made to create fields that can be used by both art and architectural objects. Detailed information on the metadata process and a list of approved fields are appended.

The scanning workflow is appended and was developed by staff in the Art and Architecture Library and Slide Library. Due to problems with the Luna server and software, the project scanning fell behind schedule, however, progress has been made in terms of how files are batch loaded into Luna, planning for a new workstation, background preservation consulting, and notes for metadata.

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