MEAD, WILLIAM R. (1846-1928). American architect and principal of McKim, Mead & White. TLS. (“Wm. R. Mead”). 2pp. 4to. New York, August 7, 1895. On McKim, Mead & White letterhead. To HENRY MACCRACKEN (1840-1918), chancellor of New York University.
“I am in receipt of yours of August 5th containing instructions in regard to procedure on the plans for the proposed University Library.
My first step has been to ask Mr. Brush to come to the office, as before we are able to determine the thickness required for the retaining terrace wall, we must know accurately its height at the different points. I was unable to find Mr. Brush’s office address and the letter was sent to his house, #113 West 69th St. He has not made his appearance, and I am to-night sending a messenger to his house to see if he is in the city. I have hesitated to employ our usual surveyor because Mr. Brush must be in possession of much useful data in connection with the work. We shall proceed as far as we can on the general lay-out of this wall without this survey, but shall be hampered until we obtain it. If we can get it soon we shall be able to send you the plans you ask for by August 15th, but if there is any considerable delay this will be impossible. We shall also proceed with the general working drawings of the Library proper, and when we get them far enough advanced shall obtain the preliminary estimates in the order you desire. We are always hampered at this time of year by the vacations we are obliged to give our men, and unfortunately two of the men I had selected to put upon this work are taking their vacation, but I have made arrangements so that others shall be working upon the plans until they return.
In regard to the photographs of good examples of wall built of native Gneiss stone, Mr. Bacon will go to-morrow morning to see the St. James Church on Jerome Avenue, and if he thinks it a fair example will either procure a photograph or have one taken. Without having seen the Church, I am afraid he will find it is made up of too small stones. As this wall will be, as I understand it, perhaps 30 ft high in some places, it would seem as if at least some part of the way up the stone should be of good size. However, perhaps Mr. Bacon may be able to find other examples in that part of the city and we will endeavor to send you photographs as soon as possible. [in holograph:] Very truly yours…”