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Charles I. Barber Papers

Identifier: MS-2006

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of Charles Barber’s personal papers, project files, and research files dealing with his time as an architect.

Series I: Charles I. Barber Personal Papers, 1899-1979, undated – Series I consists of notes, correspondence with multiple individuals, and photographs related to Charles Barber’s personal life and architectural projects.

Series II: Architectural Project Files, 1917-1984 (bulk 1925-1963), undated – Series II contains files related to the different projects Charles Barber worked on during his time as an architect.

Series III: Research Files and Reference Materials, 1887-1983, undated – Series III contains materials Charles Barber used as research for use in his projects, including press clippings, publication articles, advertisements, and his numbered files.

Series IV: Blanche Barber Files, 1891-1991, undated – Series IV contains materials saved by Blanche Barber, mostly related to her time as a teacher.

Series V: Large Format and Oversize, 1876-1962, undated – Series V consists of oversized publications, scrapbooks, and plates in oversized or flat storage boxes. There are also a number of architectural plans and plates stored in map cabinets.


  • 1876-1991


The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


40 Linear Feet ([26 regular boxes, 18 half-boxes, 11 flat storage boxes, 3 oversize boxes, and map storage folders.])


This collection is comprised mainly of whole publications and clippings from periodicals saved by Charles Barber for his files. Also included are Charles Barber's personal files, including notes and projects from the University of Pennsylvania, personal files of Blanche Barber, files related to individual projects, and general correspondence.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles Irving Barber (1887-1962) was born in DeKalb, Illinois. The following year his family moved to Knoxville where his father, George Franklin Barber, started an architectural practice. Charles Barber attended the Baker-Himel Preparatory School and traveled throughout Europe before studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He married Marian Lawrence of Jefferson City, who died in 1949; his second wife was Blanche McKinney.

Charles Barber worked briefly for his father before establishing a practice with Dean Parmelee and then Ben McMurry, Sr. Barber and McMurry's most prominent public buildings in Knoxville included the Tennessee General Building, the YMCA, Holston Hills Country Club, and numerous buildings for the University of Tennessee, including Hoskins Library. They were also involved with projects at Maryville College and the greater Knoxville area. The firm also designed many apartment buildings, schools, and houses, including the John Craig, Earl Worsham, and Hugh Goforth houses, as well as Barber's own home. Barber and McMurry designed many churches throughout the Southeast, most notably the Church Street Methodist Church in collaboration with John Russell Pope of New York.

Charles Barber held various honorary and service positions throughout his career. For the Tennessee chapter of the American Institute of Architects, he served as Chairman of the Committee on Preservation, Vice-President, and ultimately President in 1936. He was the President of the Knoxville Technical Society in 1928 and served on the City Planning Commission from 1940 through the 1950s. He was a member of the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association and the Church Architecture Guild of America. He served as a consultant to the Tennessee Valley Authority beginning in 1933, and as their chief architect in 1935-36.


Collection consists of five series:

  1. Series I: Charles I. Barber Personal Papers
  2. Series II: Architectural Project Files
  3. Series III: Research Files and Reference Materials
  4. Series IV: Blanche Barber Files
  5. Series V: Large Format and Oversize

Acquisition Note

This collection was donated to Special Collections by the Charles I. Barber estate.

Separated Materials

Charles Barber's drafting table and stool are located in the Special Collections reading room.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA