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Turpin Chambers Bannister Papers

Identifier: Ms Coll. 004

Scope and Content

The collection is arranged in three series. Series A, Subject files, contains the general subject and correspondence files of Dr. Bannister. The files were begun in the years Dean Bannister was a doctoral student at Harvard and instructor at Rensselaer, continue with his stay at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and end with his tenure at the University of Florida. Also in this series are his records as the first president of the Society of Architectural Historians and the editor of its journal in the early 1940s. Types of records include correspondence, lecture notes, and course syllabi. The correspondence includes discussions with other architectural historians and there are several files related to historical preservation projects. A list of the contents is attached.

Series B, Iron and Architecture, Records, consists of the research notes, rough drafts and correspondence related to Dean Bannister's doctoral dissertation. Bannister's doctoral research was partially funded by grants from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Series C, the New York State Files, consists of general subject files and geographic files related to Dr. Bannister's work as an editor and writer for the Federal Guide Series New York State Guide. Of particular interest are the photographs and documentation, arranged by county, of tours taken by Bannister when researching his introductory essay.


  • Creation: 1938-1982



University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Biographical/Historical Note

Turpin Chambers Bannister was the Dean of the University of Florida's College of Architecture and Fine Arts from 1957 through 1965. He was born in Lima, Ohio and received his Bachelor's degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 1925 and a Master's from Columbia in 1928. From 1932 to 1944 he taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, first as a design instructor and later as an architectural historian. During this time period he was hired by the Federal Writers Project of the WPA to assist in the preparation of the Federal Guide Series book on New York State. From December 1938 to August 1939, and in February 1940, he was employed as an editor and writer. The guide's introductory essay on architecture was written by Bannister.

While at Rensselaer he served as the first president of the Society of Architectural Historians and was also editor of its journal. He completed his studies at Harvard's School of Architecture where he received his Ph.D. in 1944. That year he left Rensselaer and became dean of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute's School of Architecture and Arts in Auburn. In 1948, he moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana and was Professor of Architecture for ten years, seven of which he served as head of the Department of Architecture. In 1958 he came to the University of Florida and served as dean until 1965, when he suffered a stroke. He died March 15, 1982, in Williston, Florida.

Dean Bannister also served on the advisory boards of the National Park Service and the Historic America Buildings Survey, and was a member of the Medieval Academy, New York Historical Association, Thornton Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Chi, and Phi Mu Alpha.


14.25 Linear feet (33 boxes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, course materials, administrative records, professional association records, research notes, and other papers related to Dr. Turpin Bannister's career as an architect, educator, and academic administrator.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The personal files of Dean Bannister were given to the University of Florida shortly after his illness in 1965. In 1984, additional items, including correspondence by his wife from 1965 through 1982, were added to the collection. At that time they were transferred to the University Archives from the Architecture and Fine Arts Library.

A Guide to the Turpin Chambers Bannister Papers
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
December 2008
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America