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Gene Leedy Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 0556

Scope and Content

The Gene Leedy Papers date from 1920 to 2008 with the bulk of the material dating from 1952 to 2000. The papers include photographs, slides and negatives, rolled drawings, scrapbooks, and models from Leedy’s architectural projects and are organized into five series.

“Series 1. Photographs” contains photograph prints from projects Leedy worked on as well as photographs from his AIA advancement to fellowship nomination and of family and friends. The series is arranged alphabetically by project with unidentified projects stored at the end.

“Series 2. Slides and Negatives” contains slides and negatives from projects Leedy worked on as well as other general images. The series is arranged alphabetically by project with unidentified projects stored at the end.

“Series 2. Slides and Negatives” contains slides and negatives from projects Leedy worked on as well as other general images. The series is arranged alphabetically by project with unidentified projects stored at the end.

“Series 3. Rolled Drawings” contains rolled architectural drawings of projects Leedy worked on. The projects are currently stored in their original housing and arranged numerically in their original order. A second numerical order with numbers marked in red is recorded after the main run. Unidentified drawings are listed at the very end.

“Series 4. Scrapbooks” contains large oversize, bound scrapbooks with newspaper and magazine clippings covering Leedy’s major projects as well as his awards and a grant proposal for the Gene Leedy Walking Tour in Winter Haven, Florida. These are arranged in rough chronological order.

“Series 5. Models” contains a single model of the 12 Merrill Lynch Office Building.

Dates

  • 1920 - 2008
  • Majority of material found within 1952 - 2000

Creator

Access

The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Gene Robert Leedy was born on February 6, 1928 in Isaban, West Virginia. His family eventually moved to Gainesville, Florida with Leedy attending the University of Florida to study architecture. After finishing college in the early 1950s, Leedy moved to Sarasota, Florida, becoming the first employee of noted architect, Paul Rudolph. Leedy was an original member and pioneer of the “Sarasota School” mid-century architecture movement. Although Rudolph later invited him to join Yale’s faculty, Leedy chose to base his practice in Winter Haven, FL in 1954.

His most notable buildings include the University of South Florida President’s House, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at the University of Florida, First National Bank of Cape Canaveral, Brentwood Elementary School and the Syd Solomon Residence on Siesta Key. Winter Haven, however, is the indisputable epicenter of Leedy’s prolific architectural career. Leedy’s contributions to this Central Florida town include its award-winning City Hall, Chamber of Commerce, Country Club, Garden Center and the multitude of important commercial and residential buildings including the Strang Residence, Dormon Residence, Sands Residence, Ellison Residence, Brogden Residence, Sparrow Residence, and the widely-celebrated Craney Spec Homes.

He designed projects throughout the US including Hawaii as well as a large housing project for the government of Malaysia. He was extensively published in the US and Europe and received more than 50 architectural awards. This recognition included Architectural Record’s Successful Young Architects in 1965, the Lifetime Design Achievement Award from the Florida Association of Architects, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Florida’s College of Architecture. Leedy was installed into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1992 and received the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Medal of Honor in 2014.

Leedy is well known for his innovative and pioneering use of pre-cast concrete structural systems as he often incorporated mass-produced industrial building components into designs for offices and residences. His signature style is easily recognized by its exposed structural systems, concrete blocks, enclosed courtyards, flat roofs, and sliding glass doors. Additionally, many of Leedy’s designs incorporate “passive-design” concepts that include cross-ventilation, day-lighting, and the use of generous overhangs for sun protection. Some of his Central Florida work has been commemorated in The Leedy Lifetime Works Tour organized by Main Street Winter Haven.

Notable employees of Leedy include architects Lawrence Scarpa and Max Strang.

Leedy died November 24, 2018 at the age of 90.

Sources:

Gene Leedy Obiturary. November 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/winter-haven-fl/gene-leedy-8067363 [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Gene Leedy. Wikipedia. October 2020. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Leedy [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Extent

40 Linear Feet (14 boxes, 7 volumes, 1 model, est. 326 rolled drawings)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Rolled drawings, slides, negatives, photographs, presentation photos, scrapbooks, models, and miscellaneous material belonging to Winter Haven Architect, Gene Leedy. Leedy was one of the pioneers of the modern movement in Florida and later one of the founders of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Leedy is most well known for his bold use of precast concrete, especially long-span “double-tee” structural elements.

Location

Please note that this collection is housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility off campus and will require advance notice for timely retrieval. Please contact the Special and Area Studies Collections department prior to your visit.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Ingram Leedy in 2019.

Related Materials

Leedys works are also featured in the John Howey's Sarasota School of Architecture Collection.
Title
A Guide to the Gene Leedy Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Marissa Thomas and Matt Kruse
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
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

Contact:
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America
352-273-2755