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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Eric Gugler papers, 1889-1977

Eric Gugler papers, 1889-1977

Biographical Note

Architect and painter Eric Gugler (1889-1974) lived and worked in New York City, New York. Known for his work on monuments and memorials, Gugler was selected by President Roosevelt to head the redesign and building of the White House's West Wing in 1934.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to lithographer Julius Gugler and his wife, Bertha Bremer, Gugler attended Columbia University and received a three year scholarship to continue his studies at the American Academy in Rome. In 1919, he opened his architectural firm on Park Avenue in New York City and began accepting residential and commercial commissions. In addition to designing buildings and houses for clients, Gugler also completed smaller design objects for ceiling details, sculptures, murals, and decorative structures. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, his firm won commissions to complete World War I Memorials in New York and Chicago, Illinois, and also received a major commission to design the Educational Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Around this time, Gugler married Broadway actress and dancer Anne Tonetti and designed a second residence in the artist's community of Sneden's Landing, New York.
Gugler's interest and willingness to work on large scale memorials and institutional buildings aided in his appointment to a number of prominent commissions in the 1930s to the 1950s. These include the design of the White House's West Wing and the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy, new construction and renovations to the Forman School (Conn.) and Wabash College (Ind.), and the building of residential houses for Katherine Cornell, Barry Faukner, and Paul Manship. In the 1960s, he was selected to head memorial designs for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt Memorials in Washington, D.C., and also spent considerable time and energy developing the "Hall of Our History" project. Gugler remained active designing and working on projects until his death in 1974.