Esther McCoy papers, 1876-1990, bulk, 1938-1989

McCoy, Esther, b. 1904 d. 1989
Photographer, Architectural historian
Active in New York, N.Y.; Los Angeles, Calif.

This site provides access to the papers of Esther McCoy in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2010. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 75,513 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Collection size: 42.6 linear feet.

Collection Summary: The papers of Southern California architectural historian, critic, and writer Esther McCoy measure 42.6 linear feet and date from 1876 to 1990 (bulk 1938-1989). The collection documents McCoy's career, as well as her family and personal life through biographical material, extensive correspondence, personal and professional writings, project files, Southern California architects' files, clippings and other printed material, a large collection of photographs and slides, and taped interviews of Southern California modern architects.

Biographical/Historical Note: Esther McCoy (1904-1989) is remembered best for her pioneering work as an architectural historian, critic, and proponent of Southern California modern architecture of the early to mid-twentieth century.

The collection was given to the Archives of American Art by Esther McCoy in 1986. Before her death in 1989, McCoy assisted in the organization and identification of the papers.

Funding for the preservation of the motion picture film "Dodge House" was provided by the Women's Film Preservation Fund of the New York Women in Film and Television.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available via the Archives of American Art website.
    Many of the sound recordings of interviews were digitized in 2009 and are available for use by appointment. McCoy's Dodge House film has been preserved on film and video access copies are also available.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Also in the Archives of American Art are eight sound cassettes of a transcribed interview with Esther McCoy conducted by Joseph Giovannini, June 8-November 14, 1987.