Philip Johnson Correspondence and Manuscript



A collection of papers relating to Philip Johnson, one of the most important and influential American architects of the 20th Century, and his 1966 book Philip Johnson: Architecture, 1949-1965. The collection includes a Typed Letter Signed from Johnson, his seven-page Signed book contract, along with the 36-page annotated manuscript introduction to the book by his friend, the architectural historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and a Typed Letter Signed by Hitchcock.

Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was one of the greatest and most important American architectural minds of the 20th Century and played an enormous role in both understanding and creating the modern urban skyline. He started his career as critic and curator championing the work of other major modern architects, twice serving as Directors of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1930-1936 and 1946-1954). Later he took a more active role designing groundbreaking houses and public buildings including his famous Glass House resident in New Canaan, Connecticut, as well as the Seagrams Building and AT &T Buildings in New York. He was awarded the first Pritzker Prize in 1979.

The brief Typed Letter Signed from Johnson is to Arthur Cohen, editor-in-chief at Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, concerning book negotiations, and is accompanied by a typescript of Cohen's reply. The Typed Letter Signed from Hitchcock is also to Cohen. Hitchcock discusses his plan to detail the portions of Johnson's career that he witnessed first hand, specifically his and Johnson's mounting of their landmark 1932 exhibition entitled "The International Style," which introduced a generation of American architects to the new European approach toward design characterized by the use of glass and steel, emphasizing function and structure over ornamental decoration. All are near fine or better with the final page of the manuscript torn along the right margin.

A small but remarkable archive from one of the country's greatest architects.

1. TLS, 1p., New York: January 14, 1965. A letter from Johnson, and on his personal letterhead, to Cohen. A brief letter referring to his lawyer and his plans for new pictures to illustrate the book.
2. Typescript copy, 1p., New York: January 15, 1965. A copy of the reply Cohen sent to Johnson in which he agrees the lawyers will work everything out.
3. TLS, 2p., New York: April 7, 1965. Letter from Hitchcock, on his personal letterhead, to Cohen. Hitchcock explains his plans for the introduction and his intention to only relate events he was witness to. He mentions that he has discussed this idea with Johnson, requests copies of the images that will appear in the book, and writes of a plan to reprint his and Johnson's book, The International Style.
4. Book Contract. 7pp. Folded blue wrapper with stapled contract pages. Signed by Johnson ("Philip Johnson").
5. Introduction. 35pp. Single sheets with annotations throughout in red and black ink. Fine except for final sheet with moderate tears along right margin.
6. Newspaper clipping. 2pp. "The Architect of a Master Builder's Store of Art," by Martin Filler, from The New York Times, June 2, 1996.

Item #340240

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Philip Johnson Correspondence and Manuscript. Philip JOHNSON.