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Edward Austin Duckett Collection, 1958-1999

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Edward Austin Duckett Collection




Western Kentucky University Library special CollectionsBowling Green, Kentucky, 42101-3576 USA

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[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.

Scope and Content

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.

User Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to the Western Kentucky University.

Collection Inventory

1958-1999. 143 items
[box: 1]
Inventory and separation sheet. 1965-1999. 8 items
[box: 1, folder: 1]
Correspondence. 1958-1990. 40 items
[box: 1, folder: 2]
"Duckett Family History Book".1995-1996. 2 items
[box: 1, folder: 3]
Drawings. n.d. 29 items
[box: 1, folder: 4]
Architectural projects - First Wisconsin National Bank - Madison,Wisconsin. 1971-1976. 9 items
[box: 1, folder: 5]
Architectural projects - National Life and Accident InsuranceCompany - Nashville, Tennessee (cont'd). 1965-1967. 7 items
[box: 1, folder: 6]
Architectural projects - National Life and Accident InsuranceCompany - Nashville, Tennessee (cont'd). 1968-1981. 8 items
[box: 1, folder: 7]
Architectural projects - National Life and AccidentInsurance Company - Nashville, Tennessee. 1970-1977. 4 items
[box: 1, folder: 8]
"All About Slunks" - Illustrated children's book. n.d. 1 item
[box: 1, folder: 9]
Notes for speeches and talks delivered by Duckett aboutarchitecture. n.d. 6 items
[box: 1, folder: 10]
Clippings about Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe. 1976-1987. 27 items
[box: 1, folder: 11]
Oral history tape done with Duckett by Ben Harris on 31 August1998. 1998. 1 item
[box: 1, folder: 12]
Oral history tape done with Duckett by Ben Harris on 1 September1998. 1998. 1item
[box: 1, folder: 13]

Hosted by the University of Kentucky

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