A Guide to the papers of H. Warren Billings, 1892–1979
Collection Number Mss1 B4963 a
A Collection in the Virginia Historical Society
Virginia Historical Society
P.O. Box 7311
Richmond, Virginia 23221-0311
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Fax: (804) 355-2399
Processed by: Margaret Turman Kidd
c 2010 By Virginia Historical Society. All rights reserved
Collection is open for research.
There are no restrictions.
H. Warren Billings Papers, 1892–1979, (Mss1 B4963 a ), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.
Gift of Warren M. Billings of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1989. Accessioned January 29, 2010.
Repository: Virginia Historical Society.
Collection number: Mss1 B4963 a
Collection name: H. Warren Billings Papers, 1892–1979
Size: 586 items.
Abstract: Chiefly materials, such as photographs, plans, renderings, and sketches, relating to Billings' career as a draftsman, decorator, designer, and mural painter in New York and Virginia. The collection also includes correspondence, accounts, educational materials, and other miscellaneous papers.
Scope and Content Information
The papers of Harold Warren Billings (1896–1988), primarily concern his career as a draftsman, interior decorator, designer, and mural painter, both in New York and Virginia. Included is his correspondence, accounts, educational material, project materials, and other papers which consists of miscellaneous clippings and publications.
The bulk of the collection is made up of materials related to Billings' professional projects. These materials contain examples of his work during various stages of his career. Items include architectural plans and renderings of ships and buildings, sketches of proposed interiors for commercial and residential projects, sketches and photographs of furniture, plans and sketches of mural works, and photographs of some of his completed works.
This collection is divided into five series: Series 1. Correspondence, 1914–1977 (arranged alphabetically by correspondent), Series 2. Accounts, 1946–1948 (arranged chronologically), Series 3. Educational materials, 1939–1952 (arranged chronologically), Series 4. Projects, 1916–1979 (arranged chronologically), and Series 5. Other materials, 1914–1968 (arranged by document type). Series 4 is divided into four subseries: Series 4.1. Professional Projects, n.d., 1915–1979, Series 4.2. Furniture Sketches n.d., 1930–1950, Series 4.3. Photographs, and Series 4.4. Ship plans and ship model societies, 1892–1977. All the subseries are arranged chronologically with the exception of Series 4.4, which is arranged alphabetically by the ship name, with the ship model societies appearing at the end.
Harold Warren Billings (1896–1988) was an artist, a draftsman, interior decorator, and designer. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and was the son of Frederick Murray Billings (b. 1856) and Ethel Broadfield (Warren) Billings (b. 1862). Billings was educated in boardings schools in Deerfield and Waltham, Mass. Billings served an apprenticeship as a naval draftsman at the Fall River Shipyard in Fall River, Mass. In 1917, he worked for the Emergency Shipping Board in Washington, D.C. After the war he moved to New York and was employed by the naval design firm of Gibbs Brothers, naval architect Theodore Ferris, and Hoggson Brothers, an architectural firm known for its bank buildings. During this period Billings also trained at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League of New York. Billings operated his own design and interior decorating business from 1929 until 1941, when he relocated to Richmond, Va. He worked as a design consultant and muralist for the remainder of his career. During this period, Billings collaborated with landscape architect, Charles Gillette and with the American Furniture and Fixture Company. Over his career, Billings did a variety of work including naval architecture, furniture design, interior design for ocean liners, commercial buildings, and private residences, and murals for both private residences and commercials buildings. Most of his murals were for Virginia businesses, but he also accepted commissions in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. Billings retired in 1970, but continued to accept occasion mural commissions. He spent much of his retirement painting, making cabinets, and building models of historic ships. He was a member of the Richmond Ship Model Society, the Washington Ship Model Society, and a member of the Nautical Research Guild.
Billings, H. Warren (Harold Warren), 1896–1988.
Architects -- History -- 20th century.
Artists -- History -- 20th century.
Interior design -- History -- 20th century.
Mural painting and decoration -- History -- 20th century.
Naval architecture -- History -- 20th century.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1914–1977.
This series contains the correspondence of H. Warren Billings chiefly concerning professional matters including references from his employers, letters from corporate executives and others thanking Billings for his interior design work for their private residences, and letters discussing projects on which Billings was working. This series also includes several letters relating to Billings' hobby as a ship model builder, his membership in the Richmond Ship Model Society, and an exhibit at the Mariner Museum of ship models including the "Corsair," model by Billings. Also in this series are a few letters exchanged between Billings and family members. These include the unidentified letters he exchanged with cousins about the family and letters between Billings and his son, Warren M. Billings, regarding family matters and Billings' design and mural work.
|8||Bakeman, Mollie L.|
|9||Bassett, William (Otis Elevator Company)|
|10–12||Billings, Warren M.|
|13||Brandenburg, Kurt D. (The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.)|
|14–16||Burgess, Robert H. (The Mariners Museum)|
|17–19||Burkman, Eric (United States Rubber Company)|
|20–21||Close, Alan M. (Hoggson Brother, Inc.)|
|22–23||Coe, Theodore I. (Carrere and Hastings, New York, NY)|
|24–25||Craven, J. C. (Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company)|
|26||Crook, Wilbur F. (Chemical Bank & Trust Company, New York, NY)|
|27–28||Davis, F. B., Jr. (United States Rubber Company, New York, NY)|
|30–35||Ferris, Theodore E. (Naval Architect & Marine Engineer)|
|36||Gibbs, William Francis (Gibbs Brothers, Inc. New York, NY)|
|37||Heisler, Charles B. (The University of the State of New York)|
|38||Heyman, Oscar (O.H. Trading Company, New York, NY)|
|39||Hofstatler, Earl S. (Hemphill, Noyes & Co., New York, NY)|
|40||Holland, Edwin T. (First Virginia Bankshare Corporation)|
|43||Koether, B. G. (General Motors Company)|
|48–57||Lochhead, John L.(The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Va.)|
|58||Magann, R. D. (American Furniture & Fixture Company, Inc., Richmond, Va.)|
|59||Montgomery, W. (Acacia Mutual Life Association, Washington, D.C.)|
|60–62||Morgan, Henry S. |
|63–64||Morse, Harold S. (Scovell Wellington & Company, New York, NY)|
|65||Smoot, Alden (General Motors Company)|
|66–68||Walker, A Stewart (Walker and Gillette, Architects, New York, NY)|
|69||Walsh, Thomas Fleming (Bedford Park Lawn Tennis Club, New York)|
|70||Watson, E. W. |
|71||White, A. R (The Methodist Publishing House)|
|72||Woollcott, James W. (The Bank of Ashville, Asheville, NC)|
Series 2. Accounts, 1946–1948.
This series contains two accounts books for H. Warren Billings. These books include lists of materials purchased for house and landscape projects; a record of labor for landscaping; balance of landscape costs; income, fees, and earnings for the 1946–1948 tax years.
Box 1 (cont.)
|73||Account Book, 1946–1947|
|74||Account Book 1946–1948 |
Series 3. Educational materials, 1939–1952.
This series contains materials relating to Billings' education as an architectural engineer including the Virginia Junior Examination for Architects, an engineering notebook, and architecture notes made in preparation for his exams.
Box 1 (cont.)
|75–78||n.d., Junior Examination for Architects|
|79||1939, Engineering notebook|
|80||1942, 1953 Architecture notes, unbound|
Series 4. Projects, 1915–1979.
This series contains materials relating to Billings' work as an artist, naval architect, interior designer, mural painter, and model ship builder. The series is divided into four subseries: professional projects, furniture sketches, photographs, and model ships and model ship societies. Items are arranged chronologically beginning with undated items, except for series 4.4 which is arranged alphabetically by ship name with the model ship societies appearing at the end.
|81–93||n.d., 1927–1967, project lists and notes|
|94||n.d., "The Challet" at Lake George, NY for Isabel Danforth, plans|
|95||n.d., Garden landscape at unidentified residence, plans|
|96||n.d., "Willow Oaks," Richmond, Va., project by Charles Gillette, landscape architect, landscape plans|
|97||n.d., "Proposed New Campus Plan," Randolph–Macon College, project by Charles F. Gillette Landscape Architect, J. Binford Walford, Architect, plans|
|98–100||n.d., Old Dominion Bank, Arlington, Va., mural, pamphlet and information on mural; oversize panel of the mural, watercolor sketch |
|101–102||n.d., Carriages, various sketches|
|103||n.d. The Bank of Floyd, Floyd, Va., interior, project by American Furniture & Fixture Co., sketch|
|104||n.d., Bonomo Residence, Glen Ridge, N.J. mural panel 2, "Morning Over Bow Lake," chalk sketch|
|105||n.d., Brickfords, Inc. mural, pencil sketch
|106||n.d., Matthias Hammond Residence, Annapolis, Md., mural depicting historic homes, pencil and watercolor sketch|
|107||n.d., Lafayette-Lawrason-Cazenove House, mural depicting George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson at Christ Church, pencil and watercolor sketch|
|108||n.d., Exterior of Lloyd's Neck, pencil sketch |
|109–113||n.d., Historic home exteriors, pencil and watercolor sketches|
|114–118||n.d., Home interiors, pencil and watercolor sketches|
|119||n.d., Unidentified mural depicting a street scene with people, horse drawn carriages and 1914 Ford Model T cars, sketch, to scale (see o.s. roll)|
|120||n.d. Unidentified residence, mural on four panels, pencil and watercolor sketch, depicting "Auburn," Natchez, Miss; "Carter Hall," Millwood, Va.; "Evergreen," Donaldsville, La.; "Hampton Plantation," McClellansville, S.C.; "The Hermitage," Nashville, Tn.; "Shadows on the Teche," New Iberia, La; and "Tyron Palace," New Burn, N.C. (see o.s. flat file)|
|121–127||1915–1943, Landscapes in chalk and watercolors (see o.s. box 7 for item 127 [a–c]) |
|128–131||1915–1916, Dutch Colonial, plans|
|132–133||1917, United States Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corp, molded lines of wooden steamships, plans|
|134||1918, United States Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corp, rudder construction, fastenings and details, plans|
|135||1924, Old Dominion S.S. Co., Lounge and Music Room, photograph of sketch|
|136||1924, Window seat, pencil sketch|
|137||1924, Sitting room, pencil sketch|
|138||1924, Child's room, watercolor sketch|
|139–140||1925, Avery Library, Columbia University, interior, chalk sketches|
|141–146||1925, S.S. Malolo, plans for lighting fixtures for suite verandahs, swimming pool and children's room; sketch of hull being built; sketch of Main Dining Saloon|
|147–148||1926, C.A. Thompson house, Cleveland, Ohio, interior and exterior sketches|
|149||1926, Prize of the Month Sketch for Pencil Points Magazine, front entrance of a house, pencil sketch|
|150||1926, Sitting room, chalk sketch|
|151–156||1926–1927, Acacia Mutual Life Associates, Washington, D.C., interior and exterior sketches (see o.s. box 7 for all items) |
|157||1927, Foyer, pencil sketch|
|158–164||1928, First National Bank, Amherst Mass., plans|
|165||1928, DuPont Viscolid Company, Inc., private office and board room, pencil sketches|
|166–168||1929–1930, United States Lines, Inc. plans and sketches of new ocean liners |
|169–173||1930–1931, Danforth Apartment, N.Y., plans for interior designs|
|174||1930, William Montgomery residence, Washington, D.C. library and garage, pencil and watercolor sketches|
|175||1930, Proposed library with built in bookcases and paneled in antique gumwood with hand carved detail, pencil sketch|
|176||1932, Dining Room, watercolor sketch|
|177||1932, Mural of a mounted hunter and dogs, watercolor sketch|
|178||1932, Library, watercolor sketch|
|179–184||1933, S.S. Empire State, photograph and plans|
|185–192||1933, S.S. Ambassador, interior plans |
|193||1933, Iron Steamboat Co., sketch of steamboat interior|
|194–203||1933, S.S. Yankee, blueprints and sketches|
|204||1933, S.S. New York and S.S. Boston, Main Dining Saloon, pencil and watercolor sketch (see o.s. box for item)|
|205||1936, Wilbur F. Crook residence, dining room mural, pencil and watercolor sketch|
|206||1936, Residence "Type D," pencil sketch |
|207||1936, Summer Gift Studio in Ridgefield, Conn., road sign, sketch|
|208||1937, Dining room with mural, pencil sketch (see o.s. box for item)|
|209||1939, Bungalow, plans|
|210||1940, Court Walls B Garden Vistas, Ritz Carlton Hotel, New York, N.Y., mural, pencil and chalk sketch|
|211–227||1941, Chemical Bank and Trust, New York, N.Y., industrial murals, 9 small charcoal sketches, 1 sketch, "Heavy Industry,"on board, (see o.s. box 7 for item 220) and 7 sketches on canvases, (see o.s. flat file for items 221–227)|
|228||1942, The Governor's Palace, Williamsburg, Va., chalk sketch|
|229||1944, M. K. Blount Residence, Greenville, N.C., plans for the entrance gate, garden gate, brick wall, walks, and steps|
|230||1944,"Elk Hill" near Richmond, Va., Buford Scott Estate, project by Charles Gillette, Landscape Architect, exterior sketch|
|231||1945, Newport News Clinic Building, project by Baskerville & Son, plans|
|232||1949, Train and truck sketch in pencil and chalk, (see o.s. box 7 for item)|
|233||1952, Bank of Virginia, 4th & Grace Streets, Richmond, Va., mural subject study sketch (see o.s. box 7 for item)|
|234–263||1952–1963, First and Merchant National Bank, Richmond, Va., 8th and Broad Street location, pamphlets about the mural; 9th and Main Street location, photographs and sketches of the front lobby and second floor, index and sketches of murals depicting presidents, presidential homes, and historic Virginia homes (all items in o.s. box 8)|
|264||954, Citizens National Bank, Martinsburg, W.V. project by American Furniture & Fixture Co., Inc., Lobby sketch (see o.s. box 9 for item)|
|265–273||1954, 1956, T. Armistead Heindl residence, 300 Banbury Road, Windsor Farm, Richmond, Va., plans |
|274–277||1954, 1960, Petersburg Savings and American Trust Company, clippings, notes, photograph, and pamphlet about the mural|
|278–293||1955–1956 and 1959, H. Warren Billings residence on Beechmont Road, Richmond, Va., plans, interior and exterior including a detailed sketch for a cupboard, and an interior sketch of floor plan on a board (see o.s. box 9 for item 293)|
|294–301||1959, Bank of Raleigh, Beckley, W.V., photographs and a six panel watercolor sketch of mural (see o.s. box 9 for all items)|
|302–306||1959–1960, 1979, Citizens Bank & Trust, Riverdale, Md., information, pamphlet, and sketches of mural "Early Prince Georges County," including a watercolor sketch on canvas and sketch of proposed mural on board (see o.s. box 9 for item 306, proposed mural on board)|
|307||1961, American Furniture & Fixture Co., Inc., Mr. Marsh's office, watercolor sketch on board (see o.s. box 9 for item)|
|308–315||1965–1968, First National Bank of Martinsville & Henry County, Va. clippings, pamphlets and photographs of mural|
|316–328||1967–1969, Irving M. Groves, Jr. residence, Martinsville, Va., plans|
|329||1968, Mr. & Mrs. Dundas Leavitt residence, Bailey's Neck, Easton, Md., plans|
|330–358||1968, Robert Magann residence, Edengrove," Hanover County, Va., plans (See o.s. roll)|
|359–365||1969, "Rose Hill," Greenwood, Va., pencil sketch of mural in dining room and information and plans for the mural|
|366–367||1970, The Citizens Bank, Inc., South Hill, Va., pamphlets with pictures and information on mural depicting the South Hill Tobacco Market circa 1906|
|368–403||Miscellaneous plans and sketches|
Series 4.2. Furniture Sketches, n.d., 1930–1950.
|404||n.d., American Easy Chair in the Chippendale Style, about 1725–1750, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, plan|
|405–409||n.d., Hoggson Brothers, Inc, N.Y., furniture sketches |
|410–411||n.d., W & J Sloane, New York, furniture sketches|
|412||[1930?] United States Lines, Inc., Catalog of furniture sketches for proposed 1,000 foot passenger ship|
|413||1931, Bound Portfolio of Furniture Illustrations and Fireplace Equipment for the Residence of William Montgomery, Washington, D.C.|
|414||1950, Cabinet, plans|
|415–417||Miscellaneous furniture sketches|
Series 4.3. Photographs.
Box 5 (cont.)
|418–424||n.d., Commercial projects|
|425–437||n.d., Home interiors|
|438–457||n.d., 1926–1950, photographs of sketches for various projects|
|458–462||1931, Model trail layout, photographs|
|463–467||1932, Unidentified residence, interior photographs|
|468–473||1932, Dr. I. F. Harris residence, photographs of Sport Room, including sketch of the north wall with mural and fireplace|
|474–479||1933, The Rainbow Fleet, owned by Union Navigation Company, Inc., N.Y., photographs and program|
Series 4.4. Ship plans and ship model societies, 1892–1977.
|480||Aloha, clipper ship, sketch|
|481–491||Corsair IV, yacht, plans, sketches, and notes|
|492–503||Flying Cloud, yacht, plans|
|504–506||J.T. Morse, steamer, plans|
|507–509||Lightening, clipper ship, plans|
|510–512||Nahlin, yacht, plans|
|513–519||Miscellaneous plans and sketches of historic ships|
|520–543||Reproduction of watercolor prints depicting U.S. Navy ships, 1892–1893, by Frederick S.Cozzens|
|544–551||Richmond Ship Model Society, clippings|
|552–559||Richmond Ship Model Society, materials|
|560–561||Washington Ship Model Society, certificates|
Series 5. Other materials, 1914–1968.
Box 6 (cont.)
|575–579||Printed materials, miscellaneous invitations and programs |
|580–585||Printed materials, miscellaneous booklets and magazines |
|586||Printed materials, book, Pegasus im Joche|