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George F. Barber Collection

Identifier: MSC 0353

Scope and Contents

George F. Barber Collection Inventory, available. Scope: Personal and business papers, correspondence, photographs, patent documents, and writings of George F. Barber and his architectural firms. Collection contains original drawings, sketches, studies, scrapbooks, artifacts, house plans, original illustrated catalogues published by George F. Barber and Co., Barber & Kluttz, and Barber & Boardman, original letterhead and related papers, and information about Barber Houses, collectibles, fan clubs, honors and tributes, and artwork inspired by the houses of George F. Barber. This collection contains a few folders of genealogy and a collection of envelopes received from many other states and foreign countries. Subjects: George F. Barber, Charles I. Barber, Laura Barber, Barber houses, DeKalb, Illinois, architectural plans, architectural firms, home tours, Old House Fair, Michael Tomlan lectures, Shelia's Collectibles, Grand Lodge, Order of the Templars, a personal account of the Cincinnati Southern Railway train wreck near Oakdale (clipping), postcards, Tyson House, W. H. Cheney, Fort Scott, Kansas, photographs, Alice Barber Whitmore, Barbara Whitmore Thomas, scrapbooks, patent documents, Palliser's American Cottage Homes, illustrated catalogues, Barber family residence, Jeremiah Nunan Mansion, Greg Fox, historic preservation, Barber & Boardman, The Cottage Souvenir, Modern Dwellings, Artistic Homes, Modern American Homes, Thomas A. Edison, Jr., Barber & Kluttz, American Homes Publishing Co., Dora M. Gill, Barrett family, Manly DeWitt Barber journal (photocopy). Also an untitled student thesis, author is unclear.


  • Creation: 1874 - 1913

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available for research. Prior arrangement MUST be made by contacting the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at

Biographical / Historical

George Franklin Barber (1854-1915) was a remarkably successful practitioner of American domestic architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Much of his success was due to his early and enthusiastic adoption of national promotion of his sales catalogues for his architectural plans for houses and cottages, with a complete willingness to customize the plans for any customer. Barber was born in De Kalb, Illinois. He lived in rural Illinois and later near Marmaton, Kansas. His rural upbringing prevented him from receiving anything more than a nominal education. Barber had an early interest in horticulture and farming, but his work as a carpenter and builder, in partnership with his brother Manley DeWitt Barber, seems to have led him to a career in carpentry, building, and finally architecture. In 1888 Barber moved to Knoxville, Tenn. for health reasons. He flourished as an architect in the rapidly growing postwar southern city. Barber published over a dozen mail order catalogs for residential architectural plans between 1888 and 1908. A sudden illness led to his untimely death in 1915.


11 boxes

2 pc. (framed)

5 oversize folder

Language of Materials



Gift of Mrs. George F. Barber, Jr.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Repository

601 S Gay Street
3rd floor
Knoxville Tennessee 37902 United States