Verna Cook Shipway Papers, 1894 -1979 (MSS 105)

Extent: 7 Linear feet (6 archives boxes, 5 flat boxes, and 53 map case folders)

Papers of Verna Cook Shipway (1890-1978), American architect and author. Shipway designed homes in New York state and California, and wrote, with her husband Warren Shipway, five books on contemporary Mexican residential architecture and interior design.

Verna Cook Shipway was born October 19, 1890, in Spokane, Washington. She attended the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris and the School of Architecture at Columbia University, where she met and married fellow architecture student Edgar Salomonsky. They founded an architectural firm in 1920. When Edgar died in 1929, Verna continued to run the business on her own, specializing in Georgian, colonial and English style homes. She published a study of American furniture entitled Masterpieces of Furniture Design (1931).

Shipway designed homes built in numerous New York suburbs including Berkley and Scarsdale. In 1936, she was selected to design the first "Ideal House" for House and Garden magazine. In 1939, Shipway designed a model home for the New York World's Fair that was practical and affordable for the American family in the suburbs. Her home designs featured abundant closet space, natural light, circular staircases, bay windows, large hallways, and light-colored walls to make rooms appear larger.

In the 1940s, Verna Salomonsky married Warren Butler Shipway, an architectural engineer, and moved to California in 1947. During a tour to Mexico, the Shipways met a builder who encouraged them to write a book on Mexican architecture. Warren documented the construction of homes and took photographs, while Verna noted the planning and design and drew sketches. Together they published five books on Mexican architecture and design: The Mexican House, Old and New (1960), Mexican Interiors (1962), Mexican Homes of Today (1964), Decorative Design in Mexican Homes (1966), and Houses of Mexico: Origins and Traditions (1970).

After the death of her husband in 1972, Shipway moved to La Jolla, California, where she died in 1978.

Papers of Verna Cook Shipway, American architect and author. Shipway designed homes in New York state and California, and wrote, with her husband Warren Shipway, five books on contemporary Mexican residential architecture and interior design. The papers include correspondence, travel diaries, sketches, plans and photographs of her homes and details of interiors, and measured drawings of furniture details. Also included are manuscript materials, photographs and paste-ups for her books.


Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS: Includes address books, documents, reference notebooks on design and culture, sketchbooks, travel diaries, and other memorabilia. An early photograph of Verna Cook is also included.

Box 1 Folder 1
Address books
Box 1 Folder 2
Alien registration booklets and identity cards - England, 1945-1946
Box 1 Folder 3
Family history scrapbook of Josephine Merryman Van Ness (photocopy)
Box 1 Folder 4
American Red Cross certificate, 1946
Oversize MC-043-17
Diplomas and certificates - Oversize, 1907-1979

Washington state high school and university diplomas, State of Connecticut Arch. Board License (1935), North Council of Arch. (1937) certificates.

Box 1 Folder 5

Includes a mounted photograph of Verna Cook at the age of six (1894), ration and clothing books (1945-46), health certificates (1945), her calling card, American National Red Cross certificate and collage. Also includes a photograph of unidentified people.

Box 1 Folder 6
Newspaper articles about Shipway, 1937-1979
Box 1 Folder 7-8
Notebook: Personal Reference Guide

Notes on design, architecture and Mexican and South American culture. Includes newspaper clippings.

Box 1 Folder 9-10
Sketchbooks with artwork
Box 1 Folder 11-12
Travel Diaries - London, 1945-1946

Typescript of diary entries with some editing.

Box 2 Folder 1
Travel Diary - London, 1945 October 23-1946 January 10
Box 2 Folder 2
Travel Diary - London, 1946 January 10-April 4
Box 2 Folder 3
Travel Diary - Paris, 1946 April 5-May 7
Box 2 Folder 4
Travel Log - "Our European Whiz", 1953 October 15-November 27
Box 2 Folder 5
Travel log - Europe, ca. 1960
Box 2 Folder 6
Travel log - "Go Around; With Lena Gordon" - Europe, 1966 August 22-December 12
Oversize MC-043-18
Wallpaper samples


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) CORRESPONDENCE: Personal correspondence, as well as some professional correspondence pertaining to Shipway's architect's license. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box 2 Folder 7
Architectural licensing, 1930-1947

Includes registration materials and brochures.

Box 2 Folder 8
A-H Miscellaneous
Box 3 Folder 1
J-M Miscellaneous
Box 3 Folder 2
P-Y Miscellaneous


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) WRITINGS: Includes photographs, layouts and text for Shipway's books on Mexican architecture and design. The series also includes the specifications for Shipway's home design for the New York World's Fair in 1939, accompanied by a proof of a booklet of the housing exhibit, "The Home Building Center." The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box 3 Folder 3
Bird House Architecture: A Bird's Eye View of the Comfortable Well Designed House. The House Beautiful, 1931 March

Decorative Designs in Mexican Homes (1966)

Box 3 Folder 4
Photographs and layouts, pp.1-99
Oversize FB-211 Folder 1-4
Drawings, photographs, and layouts, pp.100-247 and miscellaneous
Box 3 Folder 5
Photographs not used, final discards
Box 3 Folder 6
Dignity and the Small House. From House Plans from the American House, pp.87-90
Box 3 Folder 7
Elegant Card Table is Returning. From Furniture Manufacturer, 1931 July
Box 3 Folder 8
Exemplar of Old and New Colonial Details. From The House Beautiful, 1927

Houses of Mexico (1970)

Box 3 Folder 9
Foreword and table of contents
Box 3 Folder 10
Lists of photograph headings and captions
Oversize FB-213 Folder 2
Drawings and photographs
Box 4 Folder 1-6
Photographs and layout, pp.1-189
Box 5 Folder 1-2
Photographs and layout, pp.190-249

Mexican Homes of Today (1964)

Oversize FB-213 Folder 3-4
Oversize FB-214 Folder 1
Photographs, pp. 111-246
Box 5 Folder 3
Sketches and negatives
Box 5 Folder 4
Contents, picture locations, foreword and glossary
Box 5 Folder 5
Photograph captions and credits
Box 5 Folder 6-7
Suggested layout
Oversize FB-214 Folder 2-3
Final layout

Mexican House Old and New (1960)

Oversize FB-214 Folder 4-5
Photographs and original scale drawings
Box 5 Folder 8
Photographs, pp.1-99
Oversize FB-215 Folder 1
Photographs and drawings, pp.100-187
Oversize FB-215 Folder 3
Paste-up proofs
Oversize FB-215 Folder 5
Period Furniture, 1925 May-December
Box 6 Folder 1
Phyfe Table a Family Heirloom. From Furniture Manufacturer, 1931 September
Box 6 Folder 2
Record of complimentary copies of Masterpieces of Furniture, 1967
Oversize FB-215 Folder 2
Residences Designed by Verna Cook Salomonsky, Architect, 1936
Box 6 Folder 3
Small Tables and Stands. From Furniture Manufacturer, 1931 August
Box 6 Folder 4
Design for the New York World's Fair - Specification of Labor and Materials Required for the Erection and Completion of Housing Exhibit No.13, 1938-1939

Includes "The Home and Building Center" preliminary proof pages.

Box 6 Folder 5
Study of Fret Cut Work of the Chippendale Era. From Furniture Manufacturer, 1932 March
Box 6 Folder 6
Miscellaneous materials and photographs relating to Mexican architecture


Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNS. Arranged in three subseries: A) Measured Drawings, B) Photographs and Illustrations, and C) Architectural Plans and Designs.

A) Measured Drawings: Contains Shipway's analysis of furniture and design details and includes published drawings, as well as sketchbooks containing original pencil drawings.

B) Photographs and Illustrations: Includes photographs of Shipway-designed homes that show interiors and exteriors. There are also photographs pertaining to Mexico, and illustrations from a book on French architecture. Arranged alphabetically.

C) Architectural Plans and Designs: Shipway's plans for specific homes. Undated plans are located at the end of the subseries. Arranged chronologically.

Measured Drawings

Oversize FB-211 Folder 5
The Architect's Assistant or, an Exemplar of Colonial Mouldings...
Oversize FB-212 Folder 1
Drawings of interior doorways
Oversize MC-043-19
Empire Sideboard design blueprint
Box 6 Folder 7
House drawings and details by Edgar and Verna Cook Salomonsky

Includes Sheets No. 1-3, 5-9, 11-12 and Second Series Sheets No. 1-3, 5-11 Colonial School.

Box 6 Folder 8
Measured drawings and sketches - Part 1
Oversize FB-213 Folder 5
Measured drawings and sketches - Part 2 (oversize)
Box 6 Folder 9
Measured Drawings of Card Table, Duncan Phyfe Lyre Back Chair, and Double Chair Style of Chippendale. From Furniture Manufacturer, 1931-1933
Box 6 Folder 10
Measured Drawings of American Maple Table and American Walnut Highboy. From The Architectural Forum, 1923 January-February
Oversize FB-215 Folder 4
Measured drawings of tables with photograph
Box 6 Folder 11
Sketchbook #2
Box 6 Folder 12
Sketchbook #4
Box 6 Folder 13
Sketchbook, 1932 July 30
Box 6 Folder 14
Box 6 Folder 15
Measured Colonial Details sketchbook
Box 6 Folder 16
Miscellaneous measured drawings by others

Photographs and Illustrations

Oversize FB-212 Folder 2-3
Homes Designed by Verna Cook Shipway - Parts 1-2
Oversize FB-213 Folder 1
Homes Designed by Verna Cook Shipway - Part 3
Box 6 Folder 17
Miscellaneous photographs of homes - Interiors and exteriors
Box 6 Folder 18
Miscellaneous photographs including Mexican design and architecture

Architectural Plans and Details

Oversize MC-025-13
Salomonsky, Edgar - Edgemont, Scarsdale, NY, 1923
Oversize MC-025-14
Phillips - Scarsdale, NY, 1926
Oversize MC-024-03
Salomonsky, Edgar - Scarsdale, NY, 1926
Oversize MC-024-04
Clark, P.A, 1928
Oversize MC-025-12
Crocker, Weyman - Massachusetts, 1928
Oversize MC-025-11
Owen, Margaret - Bedford, NY, 1929
Oversize MC-024-05
Lots 77 and 79 - Berkeley, Scarsdale, NY, 1929
Oversize MC-024-06
Phillips, Lot #2 - Scarsdale, NY, 1929
Oversize MC-025-10
Waught, George M. - Scarsdale, NY, 1929
Oversize MC-024-01
Waught, George, Jr. - Scarsdale, NY, 1929
Oversize MC-025-09
Lot #67 - Berkeley, Scarsdale, 1932
Oversize MC-025-08
Brown, Marjorie Warren - North Castle, NY, 1933
Oversize MC-025-07
Brown, Marjorie Warren - Whipporwil, NY, 1933
Oversize MC-042-01
Greenwood, Ernest C, 1933
Oversize MC-042-02
Ledbetter - Scarsdale, NY, 1933
Oversize MC-042-03
Crane - Berkeley Corp. - Taunton Rd., Scarsdale, NY, 1934
Oversize MC-042-04
Lot #70 - Scarsdale, NY, 1934
Oversize MC-042-05
Lot #71 - Berkeley, Scarsdale, NY, 1934
Oversize MC-042-06
Prange, Dr. Herman - Scarsdale, NY, 1934
Oversize MC-042-07
Sheridan - Cortland, NY, 1934
Oversize MC-042-08
Davis, Phillip M. - Greenwich, Connecticut, 1935
Oversize MC-042-09
Lot #46 - Scarsdale, NY, 1935
Oversize MC-042-10
Richbell Estates - Taunton Rd., Scarsdale, NY, 1935
Oversize MC-042-11
Claxton, W.M. and Enid - Darien, Connecticut, 1936
Oversize MC-042-12
Cohen, Gertrude P. - Fairfield, Connecticut, 1936
Oversize MC-042-13
Ford, Hannah M. and Thomas M. - Pennsylvania, 1936
Oversize MC-042-14
Friedman - Scarsdale, NY, 1936
Oversize MC-025-01
McCutchan, Dr. Frank - Salisburg, North Carolina, 1936
Oversize MC-025-02
Rogers, Frank C. - Scarsdale, NY, 1936
Oversize MC-025-03
Scott, Elmer P. - Pelham, NY, 1936
Oversize MC-024-02
Chandler - Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1937
Oversize MC-025-04
Lowenthal - Scarsdale, NY, 1937
Oversize MC-025-05
Spates, Thomas G. - Scarsdale, NY, 1937
Oversize MC-025-06
Kelley, Walter M. - Scarsdale, NY, 1937
Oversize MC-043-01
Eckstein, Adolph W. and Grace, undated
Oversize MC-043-02
World's Fair #1 - Preliminary Scheme for Small House, 1938
Oversize MC-043-03
Spencer, Herman, House #2 - Harrison, NY, 1938
Oversize MC-043-04
New York World's Fair Lot #13, 1938
Oversize MC-043-05
Pugliese, Joseph, Lot #17 - Harrison, NY, 1939
Oversize MC-043-06
Wilson, J.T. - Lynchburg, Virginia, 1939
Oversize MC-043-07
Hotckin, E.W., Game Room Elevation; Meyer Construction Co., Munsey Pk., NY, 1938
Oversize MC-043-07
Mr. and Mrs. Donald Ryan - Los Angeles, California, 1947
Oversize MC-043-08
Fitzgerald, Dr. Edgar - Wallace, Idaho; Gerar Corp., Dwelling #2 - Scarsdale, NY, 1939
Oversize MC-043-09
Shipway - Los Angeles, California, 1947
Oversize MC-043-10
Ryway - Rancho Santa Fe, 1957
Oversize MC-043-11
Ryan - Rancho Santa Fe, CA (details only); Lot #1 - Scarsdale, NY, 1930, 1959
Oversize MC-043-11
Scott - Lake Waramaang, Connecticut, 1937
Oversize MC-043-12
Miscellaneous Shipway drawings, undated
Oversize MC-043-13
Better Homes and Gardens, Bildcost Homes Plans for #806, 604, 510 and two unidentified plans, undated
Oversize MC-043-14
House #3 and 4, McLean Alterations, Spanish House, Sales Office - Harrison, NY, undated
Oversize MC-043-15
Marquart, undated
Oversize MC-043-16
Arthur V. Wilker Residence - Fox Meadow, Scarsdale, NY, undated