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James W. Martens architectural drawings

Call Number

PR 113


circa 1840-1869, inclusive


Martens, James William, 1827-1899


1.34 Linear feet (1 box, plus 2 oversize folders; 117 drawings)

Language of Materials

English .


The James W. Martens Architectural Drawings contains architectural drawings, primarily of houses and row houses, ca. 1840s-1860s, by Brooklyn architect James W. Martens.

Biographical Note

James William Martens (1827-1899), born in London, lived in New York State all of his adult life. He worked as an architect at 52 Wall Street in 1847 and practiced in Brooklyn from 1849 to 1864. In 1853, Martens married Charlotte Louisa Jones and had at least one son, James Martens, Jr. (1858-1919). After his retirement, Martens spent time in Shrub Oak, NY, where he designed St. Mary's Church. His wife passed away in 1898 and he died one year later in March 1899.


Drawings are arranged by type.

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes architectural drawings, primarily of houses and row houses, ca. 1840s-1860s, by Brooklyn architect James W. Martens. The collection is comprised of 117 drawings: elevations, floor plans, details, tracings and patterns for cornice moldings in graphite, ink, and color wash.

The drawings, formerly part of the Architect and Engineer File, had been numbered and sorted using randomly assigned numbers. When the collection was processed, the arbitrary numbers were disregarded and the drawings were organized by drawing type as few full projects are identified. Along with single, unidentified elevations, floor plans, and details, the collection does contain four plan sets. These sets include elevations, which match floor plans for complete projects. Several complete sets of floor plans exist, without any attached elevations. There are also drawings of decorative details, mantels, doors, and windows.

The majority of these drawings are unidentified, with little information regarding location, date, or patron. However, there is one plan set for a house on Montague Place in Brooklyn, which includes an elevation and floor plans for three floors, an attic, and a basement. The collection also contains one elevation of the former Delmonico Hotel, which once stood at 27 Broadway at Morris Street.

Along with original work, the collection includes several tracings and architectural studies. This group contains two perspective elevations, front and rear, of a castle or country home and an ink and watercolor study of columns, each labeled.

Oversize drawings include one folder of elevations and floor plans. Another folder contains patterns for moldings. Many of these patterns were cut from drawings and small pieces of plans can still be seen. Several patterns are labeled with either a patron name or building location, including moldings for a house on Pierrepont Street and a cornice molding for 62 Remsen Street.

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at

Use Restrictions

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: James W. Martens Architectural Drawings, PR 113, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Conrad Martens, 1986.

Related Material at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

Additional architectural drawings from this time period can be found in the Architect and Engineer File (PR 003), Alexander J. Davis Architectural Drawing Collection (PR 016), and Calvin Pollard Architectural Drawing Collection (PR 051).

The New-York Historical Society's museum holds two sketchbooks by James Martens' son, James Martens, Jr.

Collection processed by

Kelly McAnnaney

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:49:17 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in November 2007 by Kelly McAnnaney. At that time McAnnaney documented a summary finding aid and also prepared an item level inventory in spreadsheet form. In 2011, the summary finding aid was migrated from a Word document into a collection management system, Archivists' Toolkit, and published on-line. In June 2020 archivist Larry Weimer copied most item details from the spreadsheet into the new collection system, ArchivesSpace, and re-published the finding aid with the added details.


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024