University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Charles Edward Rahn
Architectural Drawings

1892 - 1933

Manuscript Collection Number: 364
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman family, 1973.
Extent: 128 items and six volumes
Content: Drawings and sketches, floor plans, elevations, sections, details, perspectives, blueprints, vandyke prints, and journals.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1998 by Arthur Siegel

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Table of Contents


Introductory Note

Charles Edward Rahn (fl. 1885-1933) was a Philadelphia architect whose work was primarily in the design of residential buildings. Not much is known about his life, though the first record of his activity is in 1885, when he studied at the Franklin Institute Drawing School in Philadelphia. From 1887 to 1888, and also from 1892 to 1893, Rahn studied at the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art. He is listed in the Philadelphia city directory as a draftsman after 1897, and by the following year he was established in his own practice at 410 Walnut Street.

The collection contains 134 items and includes floor plans, elevations, perspectives, details, diagrams and calculations, blueprints, vandyke prints, and journals. The drawings are mostly in ink on paper, though there is occasional use of watercolor, and some of the rougher sketches are in pencil. The journals date from 1915-1933, while the few drawings that are dated were produced between 1892 and 1911. It would seem from stylistic similarities that most of the extant projects fell within this period as well. In addition, the architectural drawings are stored in oversize map drawers, while the journals are housed in a regular manuscript box in the manuscript stacks.

The collection contains no complete project designs, but only selected parts of numerous identified and unidentified projects. The collection has been divided according to client or street, when such information is available, and by the type of structure (either row house or suburban dwelling) if locational information is missing.

Rahn worked for a large number of clients in the Philadelphia area, though some of his designs were for residential structures in locations as far afield as Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Indeed, there are a number of perspectives of country cabins that are completely unidentified, and which appear to be set in the mountains. Nevertheless, most of the designs are of row houses in West Philadelphia, or of large suburban homes. These houses were generally created in styles that were popular around the turn of the century, including elements of the Queen Anne, the stick style, the Romanesque, and Jacobean revival, and the interior plans and exterior designs are roughly similar for many of them. Indeed, a number of his clients were contractors and builders who commissioned standardized designs for the construction of multiple row houses on a single block.

The journals chronicle Rahn's activity over the course of his career, particularly during the years 1923-1933. They contain the names of his clients and the projects with which they were associated, as well as other professional and personal contacts, and reveal the hectic pace that he kept. In general, the entries are meticulously detailed, including frequent comments on the weather, and the time of all his engagements. Occasional glimpses of Rahn's personal life are revealed in the journals, such as the death of his mother on April 16, 1924.

Sources:

Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory. Philadelphia: James Gopsill, 1870, 1873, 1904.

Tatman, Sandra L. and Roger W. Moss, eds. Biographical Dictionary of Philadelphia Architects: 1700-1930. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1985.


Series Outline

I.  	Projects by Client
     	  William H. Bauer, c.1906.
     	  S.R. Carey, c.1902.
     	  George E. Coulson & Co., c.1902.
     	  William Frizlen, n.d.
     	  Mrs. K.L. Moffett, 1904.
     	  C.R. Siegel, c.1902.
     	  Mssrs. Tomlinson & Wren, 1904.
     	  H.G. Williams, c.1899.
     	  Robert Wilson, c.1899-1902.
     	  Individual Clients, c.1902-1906.

II. 	Projects by Street
     	  Pine Street, c.1903-1904.
     	  Lycoming Avenue, c.1905.

III.	Projects by Type
     	  Log Cabins, n.d.
     	  Suburban Houses (set), n.d.
     	  Suburban Houses, n.d.
     	  Unidentified Row Houses, c.1909-1911.
     	  Non-Residential Structures, n.d.

IV. 	Miscellaneous Floor Plans, n.d.

V.  	Diagrams & Miscellaneous Sketches, n.d.

VI. 	Columns, c.1892.

VII.	Journals, 1915-1933.


Contents List

Folder -- Contents

     Projects by Client
     Several of these, such as George E. Coulson and C.R. Siegel, are builder/contractors who
     specialize in mass-produced row houses.  The remainder are individuals who
     commissioned Rahn for the design of houses, or for additions and alterations to
     previously-existing structures.  Folders 1-9 contain projects for which there are several
     plans each, while folder 10 contains projects for which there is only one sheet.  Included
     are blueprints, vandyke prints, elevations, and floor plans.

F1   House for William H. Bauer, c.1906  (3 items)
     Located in Logan, Philadelphia and dated to September, 1906.

     Plans of first and second floor
     pencil on paper; 19 1/4 x 11 3/4"  

     Plans of first and second floor
     pencil on paper; 10 1/2 x 19 1/2"  

     Plans of first and second floor, elevations
     pencil & watercolor on paper; inscribed at center right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut
     St. Phila."; 16 1/8 x 16 1/2"



F2   S.R. Carey, c.1902  (3 items)
     Referred to in the collection as the builder and owner.  Included are two blueprints and
     one sepia print of structures on Mifflin St. in Philadelphia.  The vandyke print is a
     duplicate of one of the blueprints, and was printed backwards.

     Houses on 20th & Mifflin Sts.
     Plans of first and second floor
     blueprint; 12 3/4 x 13 1/2"

     Houses on 20th & Mifflin Sts.
     Plans of first and second floor
     negative vandyke print; 15 3/4 x 13 1/2"

     East side of 20th St., south of Mifflin St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1902 August
     blueprint; 35 1/2 x 18 1/4"




F3   George E. Coulson & Co., c.1902  (3 items)
     According to Gopsill's directory, they are Philadelphia contractors located at N. 51st St,
     though on the blueprints their office is listed as 412 Betz Building.  These plans are for
     55 houses in West Philadelphia.

     Plans of basement to second floor, elevation
     blueprint; 31 x 24 1/2"

     Plans of basement to second floor, elevation; 1902 September
     blueprint; 30 5/8 x 24 1/2"

     Plans of basement to second floor, front elevation             
     ink on waxed paper; inscribed at center right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 32 3/4 x 30 1/8"



F4   William Frizlen, n.d.  (2 items)
     Possibly of Steutzen & Frizlen.  Plans are for a large rowhouse at 147 N. 7th St.

     Plans of basement to fifth floor and roof, elevations
     blueprint; 25 1/2 x 37"

     Alternate plans
     Plans of basement to third story
     blueprint; 12 1/2 x 36 1/4"



F5   Mrs. K.L. Moffett, 1904  (2 items)
     According to Gopsill's directory, she is the widow of Thomas Moffett, and resides at 727
     N. 40th St. in Philadelphia.  These plans are for alterations to properties at 116-18-20-22
     North 8th St.

     Plans of first and second floor, 1904 July
     ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 26 1/4
     x 20 1/8"

     Plans of first and second floor, 1904 July
     ink on tracing paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 17 3/4 x 25 3/4"



F6   C.R. Siegel, c.1902  (3 items)
     In Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1903, he is listed as Clarence R. Siegel,
     builder -- 5127 Arch St.  These are designs for row houses.

     S.E. corner of Race & Paxon Sts.
     Floor plans
     blueprint; 16 3/4 x 12 5/8"

     S.E. corner of Race & Paxon Sts.
     Front elevation
     blueprint; 19 7/8 x 15 1/4"

     Farson St.
     Plans of basement and first floor, 1902 August
     blueprint; 13 3/4 x 12"



F7   Projects for Mssrs. Tomlinson & Wren, 1904  (5 items)
     Alterations and additions to 5116 Market St., including floor plans, elevations, blueprints,
     and a vandyke print.

     5116 Market St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1904 November
     ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 21 1/8
     x 35 3/4"

     No.2 South 52nd St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1904 November
     ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Philada."; 21
     3/4 x 36"

     No.2 South 52nd St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1904 November
     blueprint; 20 1/2 x 36"

     No.2 South 52nd St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1904 November
     negative vandyke print; 20 1/2 x 36"

     5116 Market St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations; 1904 November
     blueprint; 21 x 35"



F8   Projects for H.G. Williams, c.1899  (8 items)
     Includes plans and elevations for a residence in St. David's, Pennsylvania, as well as a
     carbarn for the Delaware & Schuylkill Railroad Co.

     House
     Plans of first and second floor
     pencil on paper; 25 5/8 x 43"

     Residence
     Elevations
     ink on paper; inscribed at center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 29 x 21
     3/8"

     Residence
     Plans of cellar to third story and roof, 1899 August 21
     ink on paper; inscribed at center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 26 x 36"

     Residence
     Plans of cellar to third stories and roof
     ink on waxed paper; inscribed at center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 26 x
     36"

     Carbarn for Delaware & Schuylkill R&R Co.
     Floor plan & cross section, October 1899
     pencil on paper; 17 x 28" 

     Measurements and price list, 1899 October 17  (3 pp.)
     In pencil on lined paper, this is for materials to be used on the carbarn.



F9   Projects for Robert Wilson, c.1899-1902  (10 items)
     For buildings on 52nd and 57th Sts.  Includes floorplans, blueprints, & elevations.

     Houses
     Plans of cellar to second floor and front elevation
     ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 18 3/8
     x 36"

     Proposed houses
     Plans of cellar to second floor and front elevation, 1899 March 4
     pencil on tracing paper; 18 3/4 x 36 1/4"

     House & stable
     Plans of first and second floor, 1901 July
     pencil & ink on paper; inscribed at lower center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 17 x 28"

     House on 52nd St.
     Elevations
     ink on paper; 19 3/4 x 36 1/8"

     House on 52nd St.
     Plans of basement to second floor
     pencil & ink on paper; 23 3/4 x 36 1/8"

     Houses on 52nd St.
     Floor plans
     pencil & ink on paper; 25 1/2 x 36 1/8"

     52nd St.
     Elevation and cross section
     pencil & ink on paper; 15 x 36 1/8" 

     57th St. & [Haverton] Ave.
     Plans of first and second floor, 1902 May
     pencil on paper; 14 3/4 x 24"

     West side of 52nd St. (No.1)
     Plans of cellar to second floor
     blueprint; 31 x 22 5/8"

     West side of 52nd St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevation
     blueprint; 15 3/4 x 24 3/4"



F10  Residential Structures, c.1902-1906  (9 items)
     In some cases, details about the clients are given.  Thomas G. Birmingham is given an
     address at 1217 N. 52nd St. in Gopsill's directory.  There are 15 individuals listed under
     George W. Clark in Gopsill's, though one is listed as a contractor who resides at 1324 S.
     48th St.  George Flaven's name was blacked out on his plans, and James O. Holgate is
     listed in Gopsill's as a builder, residing at 573 Jamestown, Roxbury.

     Thomas G. Birmingham
     Houses on Baldwin & Silverwood Sts.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, front elevation
     blueprint; 25 5/8 x 16 1/8"

     George W. Clark
     20 houses on the north side of Spruce St.
     Plans of basement to second floor, elevations; 1903 December
     blueprint; 35 5/8 x 23 3/8"

     Mrs. E.R. Davis
     South N.J. Ave. in Atlantic City
     Plans of basement to third floor, front elevation
     pencil & ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 19 3/4 x 24 1/8"

     George W. Flaven
     Twin house
     Plans of basement to third floor, elevations, detail of cornice
     blueprint; 22 1/2 x 16 3/4"

     J.G. Gardiner
     Fairmount & Ridge Ave.
     Property survey
     ink on linen paper; 14 x 13"

     Mr. I. Goldstone
     S.E. corner of 3rd & Bainbridge St.
     Plans of first and second story, 1906 September
     blueprint; 16 3/4 x 35 3/4"

     James Holgate
     New porch & bay window at 1109 Lehigh Ave.
     Plans of first and second story, front and side view, sections; 1903 January 13
     pencil & ink on paper; inscribed at upper right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 23 1/2 x 19 3/4"

     Ramsey Bros. & Wilson
     Lewis St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, front elevation; 1902 September
     blueprint; 20 5/8 x 29 3/4"

     William Reynolds Jr.
     Houses in Wilkesbarre, PA.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, front elevation; 1905 July 14
     blueprint; 39 1/2 x 21 5/8"




     Projects by Street
     Various miscellaneous projects which were designed for construction on either Pine
     Street or Lycoming Avenue, in Philadelphia.

F11  Pine Street, c.1903-1904  (4 items)
     Included are blueprints and a pen & ink floor plan from various projects along Pine St. in
     Philadelphia.  The first of these is for John C. Knox, whose office was at No.11 South
     52nd St., the next is for Thomas Marshall, and the last two are for Joseph Stevenson,
     builder.

     Plans for operation of 10 houses
     Pine St. West of 51st St.
     Plans of cellar to third floor, elevations
     blueprint; 22 x 33 1/2"

     60th & Pine St.
     Floor plans, 1903 December 19
     ink on waxed paper; 18 1/2 x 21 3/8"

     Pine St. between 54th & 55th Sts.
     Plot plan
     blueprint; 9 3/4 x 23"

     North and south sides of Pine St.
     Plans of basement to second floor, 1904 April
     blueprint; 21 1/4 x 23 1/2"



F12  Lycoming Avenue, c.1905  (3 items)
     Plans for six houses on Lycoming Ave., in Philadelphia, at least one of which was
     designed for a certain Sarah Ely.  Included are blueprints of floor plans, a plot plan, and
     the fragment of a blueprint.

     Lycoming Ave., west of Broad St.
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevations
     blueprint; 32 1/2 x 29 1/2"

     Lycoming Ave.
     Plot plan
     blueprint; 19 1/4 x 18 1/4"

     Lycoming Ave.
     Front elevation (fragment), 1905 September
     blueprint; 8 1/2 x 18"




     Projects by Type
     Many of these are unidentified by either client or location, and thus are categorized
     according to the type of structure.  These include row houses, suburban dwellings, log
     cabins, and other residential and non-residential buildings.  In addition, there are
     several unidentified floor plans and sketches.  Included are floor plans, elevations,
     perspectives, blueprints, sketches, and diagrams.


F13  Log Cabins, n.d.  (7 items)
     These are undated drawings of unidentified structures.  All are drawn in ink on paper, all
     are 10 1/2 x 18" in size, and each consists of floor plans and a perspective of the 
     building.


F14  Suburban Houses, n.d.  (11 items)
     A set of sketches of Victorian and Bungalow-style houses, all drawn in ink.  Each sheet
     consists of plans for the first and second floor, which are set below a perspective of the
     house.  In addition, they all have 3/4" borders in ink which frame the drawing.  These
     houses are unidentified and undated, and range in size from 19 x 20 1/4" to 19 3/4 x 26
     3/4". 


F15  Suburban Houses, n.d.  (8 items)
     Includes perspectives, floor plans, and elevations.

     Private residence
     Front perspective
     ink on paper; 19 x 25"

     Cottage
     Perspective & floor plans
     pencil on paper and matted in board; inscribed at upper center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410
     Walnut St. Phila."; 10 x 15 1/4"

     Private residence
     Perspective
     ink on paper; 19 3/4 x 24"

     Private residence
     Perspective and floor plans
     ink on tracing paper; 19 x 28"

     Private residence
     Front and side elevation
     ink on paper; inscribed in pencil at lower right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 18 3/4 x 25 1/8"

     Private residence
     Plans of first and second floor, elevations
     ink & watercolor on tracing paper; 8 x 19 3/4"

     Tudor-style home
     Front and side elevations, floor plans
     ink & watercolor on paper; 21 1/2 x 18"

     Private residence
     Perspective
     ink & watercolor on paper; inscribed at bottom "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St.
     Phila."; 20 3/4 x 22"



F16  Unidentified Row Houses, c.1909-1911  (13 items)
     Floor plans and elevations in ink, as well as blueprints, of Philadelphia row houses.

     Row house
     Front elevation
     ink on waxed paper; 12 5/8 x 11 3/8"

     Row house
     Front elevation
     ink on waxed paper; 14 1/8 x 21 1/4"

     Row house
     Plans of cellar to second story, elevations, 1909 December
     ink on waxed paper; inscribed at bottom "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 18
     1/4 x 35"

     Small operation house
     Plans of cellar to second story, elevations; 1911 April
     ink on vellum; inscribed at top "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 15 1/2 x 35
     3/4"

     Row house
     Front elevation and floor plans
     ink on paper; 16 7/8 x 24"

     Row house
     Front elevation
     ink on paper; 12 1/2 x 21 3/4"

     Row house
     Plans of cellar to second story, elevations; 1909 December
     ink on waxed paper; inscribed at bottom "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 13
     7/8 x 36 1/2"

     Row house
     Plans for basement to second floor, elevations
     blueprint; 26 7/8 x 15 1/2"

     Row house
     Plans for basement to second floor, elevations
     blueprint; 15 3/4 x 27"

     Row house
     Plans of cellar to second floor, front elevation
     blueprint; 17 1/2 x 36 1/2"

     Row house
     Plans of cellar to second floor, front elevation
     blueprint; 15 1/8 x 17 1/2"

     Row house
     Plans of cellar to second floor, elevation
     blueprint; inscribed on tag glued at upper right "Plan representing
     2 houses / 1-for corners / 1-for inside row / 37 houses like this 
     / Ground Plan  B' for / 64th St. & Grays Ave."; 35 1/2 x 17 1/2"

     No. 312 South 12th St.
     Plans of basement to third floor, elevation
     blueprint; 15 1/2 x 34 1/4"




F17  Non-Residential Structures, n.d.  (5 items)
     Includes plans for a church, an apartment building, and several businesses.

     Proposed store for John Livezey
     Plans of basement to upper floors, cross section, elevations
     ink on paper; inscribed at right center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 21
     5/8 x 23 5/8"

     Church
     Front elevation
     pencil on paper; 21 3/8 x 25 1/2"

     Harrison Apts.
     Elevation
     ink on paper; inscribed at lower right "P. Mohr Architect 410 Walnut St. Philad'a."; 19 1/2
     x 24 7/8"
     The Harrison Apartments were designed for Girard Realty Co., on Chestnut St. in
     Philadelphia.  The drawing has a border in ink and was designed by Paul Mohr, who was
     an architect in Rahn's firm.

     Newspaper clipping, n.d.
     A color drawing and article about the proposed Harrison Apt. House.  It is glued to the
     back of an advertising broadside from Gatchel & Mannig, illustrators and engravers.

     O'Neill & Knox
     Perspective
     pencil on paper; 14 7/8 x 26"




F18  Miscellaneous Floor plans, n.d.  (10 items)
     Most of these have not been identified, and each is a different structure.

     Residential dwelling
     Plans of cellar to third floor
     ink & watercolor on paper; 28 7/8 x 19 3/4"

     Suburban dwelling
     Plans of basement to attic and roof
     ink on paper; inscribed at center "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 20 3/4 x 23
     3/4"

     Residential dwelling
     First floor plan
     pencil on board; 17 7/8 x 23"

     Residential dwelling
     Plans of basement to second floor
     ink on paper; 20 x 24"

     Residential dwelling
     First floor plan
     ink on paper; 6 7/8 x 7 7/8"

     Residential dwelling
     House at 309 Pitney Ave.
     Plans of basement to second floor and roof
     ink on paper; inscribed at upper right "C.E. Rahn Architect 410 Walnut St. Phila."; 16 1/2
     x 23 3/4"

     Residential dwelling
     Cellar plan
     blueprint; 14 x 23 3/4"

     Residential dwelling
     Plans of cellar to third floor
     blueprint; 22 1/2 x 17"

     Residential dwelling
     Plans of first and second floor
     blueprint; 21 1/2 x 33 1/2"

     Residential dwelling
     Plans of basement to second floor
     blueprint; 17 x 18"




F19  Diagrams and Miscellaneous Sketches, n.d.  (14 items)
     Diagrams are for variables such as loading, wind, stress, and frame.  There are several
     diagrams to a sheet, in pencil and ink, and most are accompanied by mathematical charts
     and calculations.  The project for which these were drawn is unidentified.  In addition,
     there are several sheets of unidentified sketches and calculations, mostly on scrap paper.

     Loading & stress
     ink on paper; 19 1/8 x 25"

     Wind, stress, & frame
     ink on paper; 19 1/8 x 25"

     Reaction
     pencil on paper; 19 1/8 x 25"

     Stress & frame
     pencil & ink on paper; 21 x 26 1/8"

     Stress & frame
     pencil & ink on paper; 21 x 23 1/8"

     Wind, stress, & frame
     pencil & ink on paper; 19 1/8 x 25 1/8"

     Wind & stress
     pencil on paper; 19 1/8 x 25 1/8"

     Elevation sketch of building
     pencil on the letterhead of Gummey, McFarland, & Co. of Philadelphia; 5 x 7 3/4"

     Drawing studies
     pencil on paper; 16 1/4 x 21 1/2"

     2028 Girard Ave.
     First story window head
     pencil on paper; inscribed in ink on back "Lit Bros. 733-735 Market St. No II"; 19 3/4 x
     26 1/2"

     Elevation, details, and calculations  (4 items)
     Drawn in pencil, two of these are on lined paper.




F20  Columns, c.1892  (5 items)
     Detailed sketches of various column types.

     Detail of Ionic column
     ink on paper; 14 x 22 7/8"

     Detail of Tuscan column, 1892 October 18
     ink on paper; 14 x 20"

     Detail of Doric column, 1892 October 31
     ink on paper; 14 x 22"

     Sketches
     pencil on paper; 14 1/4 x 15 3/4"

     Composite sketch of columns
     pencil on paper; 20 x 14"




Box  Journals, 1915-1933  (6 items)
1    These contain notes of Rahn's personal and business affairs, and the dates are inclusive.
     All are bound stenographer's notebooks, 5 x 9" in size, and written in ink.

     1915 February 12 - 1915 October 15  (190 pp.)
     "Miti" Stenographer's Notebook #900, produced by Hoskins at 9th & Chestnut in
     Philadelphia.

     1925 March 15 - 1926 December 31  (151 pp.)
     Guild Pen & Pencil Stenographer's Notebook #100, produced in Philadelphia.

     1927 January 1 - 1928 October 11  (156 pp.)
     Guild Pen & Pencil Stenographer's Notebook

     1928 October 12 - 1930 November 30  (158 pp.)
     "Miti" Stenographer's Notebook

     1930 December 1 - 1933 June 14  (157 pp.)


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