Maynard Lyndon was a modern architect who worked primarily in California. Many credit him with the first truly modern design for a public school (Northville Kindergarten in Northville, Michigan) and he is especially known for his many school buildings in southern California. The Lyndon papers contain conceptual sketches, final design drawings, specifications, cost and color schedules, and correspondence for most of the buildings he worked on. The archive makes it possible to observe his development as an architect and also reveals much more about his personality than was published magazines and newspapers.
A large part of Lyndon’s archive consists of personal photographs and sketches. There are drawings at all stages, starting with initial rough sketches, then detailed sketches in pencil, tracings in pen of the best of the pencil sketches, and then several more reworked sketches in pen. They are meticulous and clean (a quality we hope all architects possess). And those are just the sketches of skylines and street scenes! Lyndon extensively documented his travels and daily life. In addition to the photographs he took in nearly every country in Europe, the collection also contains many objects that show what an interesting man he must have been.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, he spent time working in Michigan under two engineers, Albert Kahn and N.O. Gould. Following this, after a trip to Europe, he worked for the Department of the Interior in the National Parks Service for a few years during the Great Depression. In 1935, he worked with architect E. Smith, and in 1941 started his own practice. After a long and prolific career, he retired and moved to Germany in 1973.
It was after this move to Germany when many of the curious objects in the collection were made. For example, we have a chart that notes the size of each of Lyndon’s suitcases. Another chart, with small cut outs of all his furniture, lists where all his furniture was to go after he died. He also made many gifts for his family, which are documented through drawings and photographs: clocks, dollhouses (complete with furniture), and full-sized furniture.
-Kimberly Sultz – Intern Spring 2013