Over 1000 blue prints, full-size tissues, drawings on small tissue, red prints, and linens still exist in the Principia Archives. In addition, the following catalog of 81 pastels and drawings records the development of Maybeck’s ideas, as well as his dreams for buildings that were never executed. These 81 renderings, often done in large scale and brilliant color, underscore the immense vitality of his art during his later years. In 1923 Maybeck was 61 years old when he began to describe in pastel and pencil his vision of the Principia campus. The last renderings were done in 1937, when he was 75 years old. Maybeck’s pastels also reveal his sensitivity to the total environment, including the siting of each building and its landscaping. Maybeck once wrote: “The buildings cannot compete with the beauty of the [Elsah] location, but should fit in without effort.”

Pastels dated between 1923 and 1930 were intended for the Loch Lin site in Overland, Missouri. This site was abandoned in October 1930 when a major highway was proposed, bisecting the Loch Lin property. Pastels from 1931 through 1937 represent the Elsah site that Maybeck visited each year during construction.

The renderings for the Great Hall, library, School of Nations complex, administration building, dining hall, faculty offices, and classrooms in many ways reflected the unbounded optimism and prosperity in American during the 1920s. The stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression of the 1930s, however, quickly tempered-and soon eroded-the practicability of those dreams and designs.

Today, the Maybeck campus, built during the height of the Great Depression, demonstrates the unwavering commitment to the vision both client and architect shared. The unexecuted designs are a tribute to their dreams.

Jeanne Colette Collester
Professor Emerita of Art History, Principia College

If you’d like to ask questions about Principia College’s current collections, e-mail archivist@principia.edu.

Loch Lin Early Elsah Great Hall Exterior Great Hall Interior Landscaping Great Court/Buck Roof Tiles College Center and Cottages Classrooms, Offices, Entrance Gate, Library and School of Nations, Anderson Hall Interior Late Elsah Renderings