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Works of the Master Architects: The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books from Johns Hopkins University

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Preface: Works of the Master Architects: The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books from Johns Hopkins University

Preface: Works of the Master Architects: The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books from Johns Hopkins University

The Fowler Architectural Collection of the Johns Hopkins University came into being with the gift of Laurence Hall Fowler (1876-1971) in 1945, an active, practicing architect in Baltimore and Maryland from 1906 to his retirement in 1945. Though not a man of great means, he set aside a part of each fee, received professionally, for the acquisition of books mostly in the realm of classical and renaissance architecture. His collection of Vitruvius, Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, Vignola and Scamozzi in all editions and all languages is outstanding.

The Fowler Collection has grown with the years by the addition of books already in the John Work Garrett Library (where the Fowler Collection is now housed), by purchases of the Evergreen House Foundation and a large gift by William A. Gumberts of "books not in the Fowler Collection" in the 1970s. This has filled some important gaps that Mr. Fowler was not able to do in his lifetime. The complete text of both the original collection and these added titles have been made available in a microfilm collection published by Research Publications (now Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of the Gale Group).

The work on the original catalogue was begun in 1956 in honor of Laurence Fowlers 80th birthday, but was not finished and published until 1961. The surprising demand for the volume was very gratifying and it was soon out-of-print. I hope this reprint will fill many requests for copies and that it will help supply some of the answers to questions puzzling students and bibliographers in the architectural field.

Elizabeth Baer, former librarian
The John Work Garrett Library

Baltimore, Maryland
March 1981


Laurence Hall Fowler is a scholarly and distinguished architect, most of whose professional life has been spent in Baltimore. The city and the surrounding countryside bear abundant witness to his knowledge, his taste and his imagination in residence and in public and monumental structures.

He was born in Baltimore on September 5, 1876, received his Bachelors degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1898 and graduated in architecture from Columbia University in 1902. After working for a year in New York, first in the office of Bruce Price and then with Boring and Tilton, he went to Europe with some fellow architects, spent much time in France and Italy and made measured drawings of many beautiful buildings, one being the Malatesta Temple at Rimini. It was his intention at this time to enter the École des Beau-Arts at Paris and he had taken and passed the entrance examinations when circumstances required his return to Baltimore. Here he became associated with Wyatt and Nolting, at that time one of the leading architectural firms of the city. In 1906 he decided to strike out on his own, establishing an office over which he presided until his retirement in 1945.

In that period of thirty-nine years his professional competence added many distinguished buildings to the community, of which some sixty are residences. In addition he designed two important buildings in Annapolis, the Hall of Records and (with Henry P. Hopkins) the State Office Building; in Baltimore, the Hurd Memorial Hall of The Johns Hopkins Hospital (with the office of Joseph E. Sperry), the magnificent and subtly composed War Memorial on City Hall Plaza, and, by no means least, the John Work Garrett Library at Evergreen House, in which his architectural library now finds a place.

His interest in rare and fine editions of architectural works began while he was still studying at Columbia. Under assignment, he was required to make drawings from the original books in the Avery Library. Then and there the collector was born. Moreover he soon found the sought-for rationale of his enthusiasm. Roger North, himself a bibliophile of some distinction in the time of Charles II, wrote about his brother John, master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in this wise: "He courted, as a fond lover, all the best editions, fairest characters, best bound and preserved. If the subject was in his favor (as the classics) he cared not how many of them he had, even of the same edition, if he thought it among the best, either better bound, squarer cut, neater covers, or some such qualification caught him." Mr. Fowler frequently quoted this passage and indeed it exactly describes his own attitude.

Thus, on that first visit to Europe, he acquired the Alberti of 1565, the Serlio of 1619 and Vignolas Perspective of 1644. From then on he bought slowly but regularly, setting aside a part of each professional fee for new acquisitions. His first idea was to specialize in the various editions of Vitruvius and the five great protagonists of the Renaissance: Alberti, Serlio, Vignola, Palladio and Scamozzi. Eventually he succeeded in obtaining forty editions of Vitruvius, fourteen of Alberti, thirty-three of Serlio, thirty-nine of Vignola, thirty-two of Palladio and twelve of Scamozzi.

As so often happens with devoted collectors, his enthusiasm widened. With the passing of time he extended his acquisitions into new fields to include works of English, French and German architects and craftsmen. Understanding the influence of such works on American architecture, he noted in his catalogue the titles that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson and other American architects of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Association copies also played a large part in his acquisitions and an unusually large proportion of the collection is found in original or contemporary bindings, many of them from the libraries of practicing architects, builders and other craftsmen. His attention turned also to autograph letters and engraved portraits of architects. His collection of the latter has been presented to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Fowler architectural library is made up of 448 items. How wide is its range in interest and variety of authors will be seen in this catalogue. Lawrence Wroth might well have been speaking of Mr. Fowler when he wrote: "the desire of the collector to create perfection through completenessto integrate the elements of his collection by placing side by side upon a shelf all existing versions of a given text, is not often appreciatedI have known scholars who scoffed at this kind of bibliomania, but have never known a scholar who was not thrilled at the sight of such a shelf when it held books in the subject of his special interests." By giving such a collection to The Johns Hopkins University in 1945, Mr. Fowler has made it available to the historians and students of architecture in Baltimore and elsewhere.

The publication of this catalogue has been made possible by the generous contribution of the A.S. Abell Foundation of Baltimore. Its compilation was initiated by Mr. Fowler, but in the definitive stages of revision and perfecting of the entries, he has worked in collaboration with Miss Elizabeth Baer, Librarian of the John Work Garrett Library and Secretary of the Evergreen House Foundation; she has also undertaken the detailed responsibility of editing and seeing the book through the press.

Hamilton Owens, President
The Evergreen House Foundation


The compilation of this catalogue began as a simple listing by Mr. Laurence Hall Fowler of the volumes in his collection. Inevitably the undertaking became more complicated and developed greatly over the years. Work on the project soon revealed the dearth of true analytical and descriptive catalogues in this field. The librarian or collector seeking to identify or collate a volume in his library has precious little bibliographical literature to which he can refer. This situation is made the more critical because of the very nature of such "plate books" as characterize this group--they present a maze of variant editions, issues, reprints, copies of earlier plates, combinations and recombinations of all sorts. The bewildering complexity has resulted, evidently, in the virtual abandonment of the task by bibliographers.

This is a pity and a loss. These books rank as far more than mere professional manuals. They are the channels through which the monuments of antiquity were revealed to the receptive minds of the Renaissance and later. In them we can witness not only the process of imitation but, more important, of interpretation, of analysis, adaptation and modification by which these works served as the breeding ground of new styles and new aesthetics. They provided a storehouse of record and observation, a treasury of pattern, a manual of craftsmanship and engineering, a rationale of application and adaptation, criteria of discernment and taste, whose influence has lasted into the present century. Here is history--not only architectural--but political, economic, social, cultural and much more. The texts are by the greatest architects and engineers of the period. The plates--woodcut or engraved--are by the greatest delineators and graphic artists, the typography is by the great presses of the past. The designs are for those who cared for--and could afford--the most elegant taste of the time. The books reflect the artistic beginning of certain nations at certain eras--the Italians, the French, the English--and others. But the very fact, so clearly evident in this bibliographical listing, of the many languages and redactions in which a large number of these works made their appearance bears eloquent testimony to the international impact of the greatest of them.

It was the lack of adequate bibliographical descriptions for even the variant editions of the major authors that determined the general presentation of the collection recorded in this catalogue. It was obvious that it would be of service to give a complete description of each item, especially because of the existence of variant issues and editions, many hitherto unnoted. I have not made any attempt at a census of all known copies of individual books, nor even of exhaustive collation of all available copies of the 448 titles here listed. However, in more than four-fifths of the collection, that is in 375 titles, at least one other copy has been examined in order to clarify points of interest.

The richness in the collection of editions of certain major authors--Vitruvius, Alberti, Serlio, Palladio, Vignola and Scamozzi--gives a particular comprehensive view of their work and their influence. In these, as in so many others in this field, the problems relating to the variations of plates, reissuing of texts, or of new texts combined with old plates, is a study in itself. To one who has not searched for bibliographical analyses, the detailed description in this catalogue of the folio plates in the works of Vignola may seem overdone. It is my hope that future architectural historians may take off from this point and compile a complete analysis of these editions--very few of which seem to be available in American libraries.

In the case of the early architects and craftsmen whose views of Rome, ancient and contemporary, had a tremendous influence--Falda, Labacco, Dosio, Du Perac and others--it was not possible to carry through a complete study and analysis of their editions. Over many years their fascinating plates were reissued time and again, with minor changes, if any, but almost always without dates. A detailed study of these books would be a challenging and desirable one, but could not with practicality be pursued here in a catalogue of architectural books.

The [print] Catalogue is arranged alphabetically by author, with the separate works in chronological order, regardless of language. It is hoped that access to information embodied in descriptions and notes will be facilitated by the Index, which cites authors, commentators, editors, translators, illustrators, and publishers or booksellers--with their dates wherever possible. No subject indexing of the great general works of architecture (Alberti, Vitruvius, etc.) has been attempted, but works on specific subjects, such as perspective, are indicated. In citing reference material in the individual entries, there is no listing of current monographs or other studies on the life and work of the architect, unless such writings include useful descriptions of the architectural book concerned. In this same manner, references to such a useful library tool as the new Avery Catalogue have been omitted, because any unrecorded variants found in that Library are discussed in full in this work. The form of entry, given on a succeeding page, has not been followed in cases where the make-up or contents of the book have rendered it unsuitable.

A major problem was the selection of illustrations [in the print guide] from the wide range of authors and their works. An effort was made to avoid subjects often reproduced, so that fresh aspects of these great books might be made available. It is hoped that the choice finally made will evoke something of the beauty and charm to be found in these volumes, and suggest in small part the scope and variety of the Fowler Collection.

In the process of collating the books in the Collection, I have resorted to the early architectural books preserved in the following libraries: the Library of Congress; the Library of The American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C.; The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (The Alverthorpe Gallery, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania); the New York Public Library; the Avery Architectural Library of Columbia University; as well as the Peabody Institute Library; the Library of the Walters Art Gallery and the Library of The Johns Hopkins University, all in Baltimore. To the staffs of these institutions the compiler wishes to express her deep thanks, particularly to Frederick R. Goff of the Library of Congress; George E. Pettingill of The American Institute of Architects; Elizabeth Mongan of the Alverthorpe Gallery; Karl Kup and Wilson G. Duprey of the Spencer Collection and Lewis M. Stark of the Rare Book Room, New York Public Library; Adolf K. Placzek and Louis Markoff-Sotomayor of the Avery Library; Frank N. Jones and P.W. Filby of the Peabody Library; John Berthel of The Johns Hopkins University Library and Sarah E. Freeman, Curator of Fine Arts and Numismatics of that university; and Dorothy Miner of the Walkers Art Gallery, whose advice, encouragement, practical help and enthusiasm has helped carry this work to its conclusion. Also to my mother, Margaret Brian Baer, I wish to express my unbounded thanks, for without her constant help in copy and proofreading there would be no Fowler Catalogue. No list of acknowledgments would be complete without a word of appreciation for the care and interest of Fred Anthoensen of The Anthoensen Press, and Harold Hugo of The Meriden Gravure Company, which are reflected throughout the book. Finally and most especially to the Trustees of the Evergreen House Foundation goes my very real appreciation for allowing me the time to spend on this work, sometimes to the detriment of normal duties at Evergreen House, and for their continued support and generosity.

I hope that I, as a Librarian, have not offended the professionals in the art field by attempting a bibliographical approach to this task, and every effort has been made to avoid errors, inevitably present in a work of this kind. It is my earnest desire and that of the Trustees of the Evergreen House Foundation, that the Fowler Catalogue may prove of value to collectors, librarians and research students in this field.

Elizabeth Baer
Baltimore, Maryland
June 30, 1960

Content and Form of Entry

1. Author: The form of the authors name has been given in the vernacular, or country of origin following the form of the Library of Congress (i.e. Grapaldi not Grapaldus). The authors date, as established by the Library of Congress has been used except when additional information could be supplied. The Library of Congress has not been followed in all cases of author attribution. Where, in the opinion of the compiler, the work is essentially rewritten with new illustrations, or additional matter, it has been entered under the name of the person essentially responsible, as in the case of Bosboom, Cort Onderwys Vande Vyf ColomenAmsterdam, 1686 (No. 54), listed by the Library of Congress under Scamozzi.

2. Title Page: A transcript of the title page, with line endings has been given for all entries. Some have been abbreviated and shown by dots, / / /, or if more than two lines, / [7 lines] /. Capital Letters: A capital first letter only has been used wherever the entire work is printed in capitals, otherwise the typography of the page has been followed. Punctuation: The punctuation of the printed page has been followed and where omitted in original has not been supplied or corrected. Colophon: The colophon is given only when it contains information lacking on the title page.

3. Collation: The following information is given:

Size: Folio, 4to etc. as determined by the fold of the sheet.
Vertical measurement of leaf in centimeters and inches.

Signatures: Signature marks given for all books printed before 1600, and others if necessary to distinguish issue or edition. (Signatures are not included in this online guide.)

Total number of leaves.

Numbering of leaves or pages: Inclusive numbering of leaves--preliminary leaves and blank or unnumbered leaves in text or at end of book supplied in square brackets: [i-vii], 1-364 [365-368] leaves or pages. Errors in numbering notes: l-288 p. (i.e. 294:6 unnumbered pages between p. 243-244).

Illustrations: Number and type of illustration.

4. Contents: A general summary of the contents has been given.

5. Notes: Editions, historical and descriptive note, bibliographical references, provenance and binding.

[] Square brackets have been used for all supplied information in titles, authors, dates, or descriptive matter supplied in titles, contents or notes.

Frontispiece: Woodcut or engraved plate containing portrait, allegorical picture, view, etc., usually not counted in signatures or pagination.

Added Engraved Title Page: Engraved plate containing title and imprint, or parts of imprint.

Edition and issue: The term edition has been used to denote an entirely new typesetting with additional material, or corrections and rewriting of the text. The term issue has been used for a reprinting, or issuing of the sheets from the same typesetting, with minor additions or rearrangement of the parts, with change of date in the imprint or a new title page.

Abbreviations used for general reference works

Bartsch, Adam. Le Peintre Graveur. Vienna, 1803-1821. 21 v. Supplement, Leipzig, 1843.

Baudrier, Henry Louis and Julien. Bibliographie Lyonnaise Lyon, 1895-1921. 12 v.

Bénézit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs & Graveurs Paris, 1924. 3 v.

Berlin Catalog
Berlin. Staatliche Museen. Katalog Der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin. Berlin and Leipzig, 1939. (See also Jessen)

Bloomfield, Arch. Drawing
Bloomfield, Reginald. Architectural Drawing and Draughtsmen London, 1912.

Bloomfield, Fr. Arch. I
________ A History of French Architecture from the Reign of Charles VIII till the death of Mazarin, 1494-1661 London, 1911. 2 v.

Bloomfield, Fr. Arch. II
________ A History of French Architecture from the death of Mazarin till the death of Louis XV, 1661-1774 London, 1921. 2 v.

British Museum, Catalogue of Books
British Museum. Catalogue of Books printed in the XVth CenturyLondon, 1908-1949. 8 v.

BM (i)
British Museum. Catalogue of the Printed Books in the Library. London, 1881-1900 (Reprint, Ann Arbor, 1946). 58 v. Supplement. London, 1900-1905 (Reprint, Ann Arbor, 1950). 10 v.

BM (2)
British Museum. General Catalogue of Printed Books. London, 1931-1952. 49 v.

Brun, Robert. Le Livre Illustré en France au XVIe Siècle. Paris, 1930.

Brunet, Jacques-Charles. Manuel Du Libraire et de lAmateur de Livre Paris, 1860-1865. 6 v.

Cartier, Alfred. Bibliographie des Editions des De Tournes, Imprimeurs Lyonnais Paris, 1937. 2 v.

Charvet, Lèon. Sebastien Serlio, 1475-1554 Lyon, 1869.

Cicognara. Catalogo Ragionato dei Libri DArte e DAntichità posseduti dal Conte Cicagnara. Pisa, 1831. 2 v.

Colvin, H.M. A Biographical Dictionary of English Architects, 1660-1840. Cambridge, Mass., 1954.

Comolli, Angelo. Bibliografia Storico-Critica DellArchitettura Civile ed Arti Subalterne Rome, 1788-1792. 4 v.


Destailleur, H. Notices sur Quelques Artistes Français, Architectes, Dessinateurs, Graveurs du XVIe au XVIIIe Siècle Paris, 1863.

Dinsmoor, William Bell. "The Literary Remains of Sebastian Serlio" (in The Art Bulletin, Vol. XXIV, 1943, p. 55-91, 115-154).

Robert-Dumesnil, A.P.F. Le Peintre-Graveur Français Paris, 1835-1868. 10 v. Supplement, Paris, 1871.

Enciclopedia Italiana
Enciclopedia Italiani di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti. [Milan], 192901939. 36 v.

Evans, Charles. American Bibliography Chicago, 1903-1934. 12 v.

Fairfax Murray Catalogue (French)
Davies, Hugh William, comp. Catalogue of a Collection of Early French Books in the Library of C. Fairfax Murray. London, 1910. 2 v.

Fairfax Murray Catalogue (German)
________ Catalogue of a Collection of Early German Books in the Library of C. Fairfax Murray. London, 1912. 2 v.

Geymüller, Henry de. Les Du Cerceau, Leur Vie et Leur Oeuvre Paris, 1887.

Graesse, Jean George Théodore. Trésor de Livres Rares et Précieux ou Nouveau Dictionnaire Bibliographique Berlin, 1922. 7 v. in 8.

Guilmard, D. Les Maitres Ornemanistes Paris, 1880-1881. 2 v.

Quinby, Jane, comp. Catalogue of Botanical Books in the Collection of Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt. Vol. I. Pittsburgh, 1958.

Berlin. Königliche Museen. Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung des Kunstgewerbe-Museums Leipzig, 1894.

Johnson, Initials
Johnson, Alfred F. Decorative Initial Letters London, 1931.

Johnson, 100 Title Pages
________ One Hundred Title-Pages, 1500-1800 New York, 1928.

Kimball, Fiske. Thomas Jefferson, Architect Boston, 1916.

Lukomski, Arch. Classica
Lukomski, Georgii Kreskentévich. I Maestri della Architettura Classica da Vitruvio all Scamozzi Milan, 1933.

Lukomski, Palladio
________ Andrea Palladio Paris, 1927 (Les Grandes Architectes).

Lukomski, Vignole
________ Vignole (Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola) Paris, 1927 (Les Grandes Architectes).

Mauban, Mariette
Mauban, A. LArchitecture Française de Jean Mariette. Paris, 1946.

Mauban, Marot
________ Jean Marot, Architecte et Graveur Parisien Paris, 1944.

Meyer, Julius. Allegemeines Künstler-Lexikon Leipzig, 1872-1875. 3 v.

Biographie Universelle (Michaud) Ancienne et Moderne Nouvelle edition Paris & Leipzig [1854]. 45 v.

Nagler, Monogrammisten
Nagler, Georg Kaspar. Die Monogrammisten Munich, 1858-1879. 5 v.

Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon
________ Neues Allegemeines Künstler-Lexicon Munich, 1835-1852. 22 v.

Palau y Dulcet, Antonio. Manuel del Librero Hispano-Americano Barcelona and London, 1923-1927. 7 v.

Poleni, Giovanni. Exercitationes Vitruvianae Venice, 1739-1741 (No. 250).

RIBA Catalog
Royal Institute of British Architects. The Library Catalog Printed Books and Manuscripts, 1834-1888. London, 1889.

Schlosser, Julius. Die Kunstliteratur; Ein Handbuch zur Quellenkunde der Neuren Kunstgeschichte. Vienna, 1924.

Schweiger, Franz Ludwig Anton. Handbuck der Classischen Bibliographie Leipzig, 1830-1834. 2 v.

Sowerby, E. Millicent, comp. Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson Vol. IV. Washington, 1955.

Pollard, A.W., and Redgrave, G.R. A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475-1640. London, 1926.

Stillwell, Margaret Bingham. Incunabula in American Libraries, a Second Census. New York, 1940.

Thieme, Ulrich, and Becker, Felix. Allegemeines Lexikon der Bildenen Künstler von der Antike biz zur Gegenwant Leipzig, 1907-1947. 36 v. Supplement, Leipzig, 1950.

Universal Catalog
South Kensington Museum, London. Universal Catalogue of Books on Art London, 1870-1877. 2 v. and supplement.

Wing, Donald G. Short-Title Catalogue of Books1641-1700. New York, 1945- . 3 v.

Zamora Lucas & Ponce de Léon
Zamora Lucas, Florentino and Ponce de Léon Freyre, Eduardo. Bibliografía Española de Arquitectura (1526-1850). Madrid, 1947.

Use of The Print Catalogue as a Guide to the Microfilm

This bibliography also serves as the reel guide to the microfilm collection. For greater user convenience, each microfilm reel begins and ends with an eye-legible target, which contains the collection title, the reel number, and the item numbers included on that reel.

The entries in both this bibliography and on the microfilm are arranged alphabetically. The numbers assigned by Fowler in the original catalogue were used as item numbers on the microfilm.

The supplementary material not included in the original catalogue but added to the microfilm collection is listed starting on page 103.