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A. Lawrence Kocher Collection(1921–1973)

  • MS 1986.12
  • 5 cubic feet

The A. Lawrence Kocher Collection documents the lengthy career of architect, editor, and colonial architecture and history authority A. Lawrence Kocher. The collection consists of general and personal correspondence, articles, lecture notes, monographs, news clippings, reviews, project and subject files, research notes, drawings, and photographic prints and negatives. Includes project files on various buildings or sites including Black Mountain College, Colonial Williamsburg, and Charles City Courthouse. Subjects include architecture, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, and other matters. Includes photographs of American architecture, art and objects, people, and furniture.

Monographs contained within the collection have been removed and accessioned into the Kocher collection of books on architecture and are available in the Foundation Library.

Biographical Note

A. Lawrence Kocher was an architect, editor, teacher and well-known authority on colonial architecture and history. He was born in San Jose, California, in 1885. He received his B.A. from Stanford in 1909, his M.A. from Pennsylvania State College in 1916, and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1910 until 1912, and New York University. He was an honorary member of the Alpha Chapter of Virginia of Phi Beta Kappa.

Mr. Kocher began his teaching career in 1912 as an instructor in Architectural History and Design at Pennsylvania State College. He was promoted to full professorship in 1918 and served as head of the Department of Architecture until 1926. In 1926 Mr. Kocher became head of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, a position he held until 1928. From 1928 until 1938 he was managing editor then editor of the Architectural Record and is credited with revitalizing the journal and giving it a more international focus. In 1938 Kocher joined William Frank Hitchens of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in reorganizing the Institute’s Department of Architecture. From 1940 to 1943, under a Carnegie Institute Artist-in-Residence grant, Mr. Kocher helped to design the new academic campus of Black Mountain College, and served as professor of Architecture there. He concluded his academic career at the College of William and Mary, where he served as lecturer in Fine Arts from 1944 until his retirement in 1959.

Mr. Kocher was appointed to Colonial Williamsburg’s first Advisory Committee of Architects in 1928. As a member of this committee he helped to establish policies that have governed the Foundation’s restoration work ever since. In 1944 he joined the Foundation staff as Editor of Architectural Records. While at Colonial Williamsburg he developed his glossary of 18th-century architectural terms, translating them into contemporary language.