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C. Gilman Davis papers

Identifier: Coll 057

Scope and Contents

The C. Gilman Davis Papers contain material spanning the entire 33 years of his career from 1947 to 1979. Included are architectural project files, project drawings, and research and educational material. One box of photographs of his projects, the Case house in particular, has been removed to the photograph collection. Over 1,000 historical slides of Pacific Northwest buildings are house at the Architecture and Allied Arts Library at the University of Oregon.

Project files are arranged alphabetically by client name, with building type, location, and date included for each building. The primary date for a project is included in parentheses. Available material varies greatly for each project from only a few pages of notes for some projects to a complete set of correspondence and documents for others.

Project drawings have also been arranged alphabetically by client name. However, not every project found in the project files has corresponding drawings, and additional projects are represented by drawings only. As with the project files, the available graphic material for each building various. The number of individual sheets is listed for the projects, which may include diagrammatic sketches, finished drawings and blueprints.

Davis' scholarly interests in Oregon historic buildings are represented in the collection in the research files and manuscript series. Also included are his educational program proposals and materials relating to professional organizations to which Davis belonged.

Photographs in the collection include images of the Peter French Round Barn, the William Case house at French Prairie, the Lone Rock church, the Lindgren house, Davis' Fremont Methodist Church (1953), and a contemporary furnished interior.


  • 1947-1979


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Gilman Davis, architect, educator and historian, was born in 1918 in Portland, Oregon. He began his career as assistant to his father, who designed prefabricated homes in Portland. Davis became a licensed architect in 1948, and completed his studies at the University of Oregon for the Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1949.

He established a successful and highly respected practice in Portland, designing a wide range of building types including residences, churches, warehouses, offices and hospital and nursing home facilities. In 1956 the Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded him a citation for his design of the R.A Carlton House in Tigard, Oregon.

Davis joined the faculty of Portland State University in 1959 as professor of art and architecture. He taught architectural history and design, and also attempted to establish an accredited school of architecture at the university. Despite his concerted efforts, the program never materialized.

As historian and educator, Davis was especially interested in Oregon "vernacular" architecture, including historic barns, farm buildings and churches. In addition to preparing a number of articles and lectures on these subjects, he also developed a collection of slides and photographs to provide a pictorial record of outstanding examples of such architecture.

In 1965, Davis joined Henry P. Bergman in an architectural partnership which lasted until 1973. His restoration of the historic William Case house at French Prairie, Oregon, earned him another

American Institute of Architecture citation. In 1980, a posthumous citation honored his design for the Episcopal Chapel at the Bishop's Close in Portland. Davis died in 1979.


36.5 linear feet (29 containers, 6 drawers)

Language of Materials



Charles Gilman Davis (1918-1979) was an architect and educator. The C. Gilman Davis Papers include architectural project files, project drawings, and research and educational material that reflect his career as an architect and educator.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Project files

Series II: Research files

Series III: Manuscripts

Series IV: Educational Program Proposals

Series V: Professional Organizations

Series VI: Personal Material

Series VII: Project Drawings

Series VIII: Photographs

drawers/oversize folders

Location of drawers/oversize folders is unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Gilman Davis in 1982.

Physical Description

29 containers, 6 drawers

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the C. Gilman Davis papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Ronda Thompson, Manuscripts Processor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA