Edward Austin Duckett Collection
Western Kentucky University Library special CollectionsBowling Green, Kentucky, 42101-3576 USA
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item] Edward Austin Duckett Collection, 1958-1999, MSS 119,Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.
1 box, 8 folders, 143 items. Originals and photocopies.
Edward Austin Duckett was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Chester and Zula Duckett in 1920. He attended Bowling Green public schools and matriculated at Western Kentucky State Teachers College in 1938 to study industrial arts. While studying at Western he fell under the influence of the art department head and family friend, Ivan Wilson. Wilson recognized Duckett's intrinsic architectural ability. With only eighteen hours left to complete his degree, Duckett went to Chicago to pursue formal training as an architect.
He studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology under Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe. van der Rhoe recognized Duckett's talent and allowed him to teach courses and to draft for projects he was working on. Duckett worked on a number of important projects with van der Rhoe including the Seagram Building in New York City. He learned to appreciate van der Rhoe's careful use of space, which was accomplished by stregthening a structure from the core by using internal, peripheral columns. This allowed for vast areas of unimpeded space.
In the early 1960s Duckett left van der Rhoe's company to join Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), the largest architectural firm in the country at that time. Duckett's association with SOM allowed him to do extensive traveling, as this firm executed many successful international projects. Duckett retired from SOM in 1982, after forty years as an architect. He then moved back to Bowling Green, Kentucky.
This collection contains a small amount of correspondence. Of particular interest is a letter from Duckett to Sotheby's relating information about a photo of a composite model done by international artist Alexander Calder. Also included are photos, correspondence, and contract information related to two of Duckett's favorite SOM projects: the First Wisconsin National Bank in Madison, Wisconsin, and the National Life and Accident Insurance Building in Nashville, Tennessee. The collection contains one folder of information related to Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe--his projects and critical analysis of his work clipped from newspaper and magazines. In this folder is a copy of the firm's stationery designed by Duckett. Also included are two oral history interviews with Duckett done by Ben Harris in August 1998.
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