Helen Wurdemann at an art opening in Los Angeles

Helen Wurdemann at an art opening in Los Angeles

Helen Wurdemann at an art opening in Los Angeles

SUBJECT: Wurdemann, Helen
TYPE: Photographs
DATE: 196-?
No place, unknown, or undetermined
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 1 photographic print ; 20 x 25
SUMMARY: Date range based on style of dress worn by subjects in photo. Wurdemann stands on right next to four unidentified men.
CITATION: Helen Wurdemann at an art opening in Los Angeles, 196-? / unidentified photographer. Los Angeles Art Association records, 1922-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Current copyright status is undetermined
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560
Los Angeles Art Association records, 1922-1990
Archives of American Art


“Los Angeles and the art explosion” panel discussion

Discovered this while searching at the Smithsonian for a disconnected link for a different Wurdemann. You will notice they spelled her name Wurdeman here, and in another Smithsonian reference it is spelled Wurdemann.

CREATOR: Biberman, Edward, 1904-1986
TYPE: Sound Recording
PLACE: Los Angeles, Calif.
DATE: 1965 June 1 and 8
4 sound tape reels : analog ; 7 in. ; 2 hr., 50 min., 20 sec.
Edward Biberman chairs two panels discussing the art scene in Los Angeles.
Dates from handwritten notes on reel boxes.
First panel (on reels 1 and 2, June 1) includes LACMA curators James Elliott and Maurice Tuchman; Rosalind Holden [phonetic]; art critic William Wilson; and Helen Wurdeman of the LA Art Association.
Second panel (on reels 3 and 4, June 8) includes Andreas Anderson, director of the Otis Art Institute; Keith Crown, professor at USC; Kenneth Glen, sculptor and professor at the California State College at Long Beach; Dr. Lester D. Longman, UCLA professor; Edward Reek [phonetic], artist and professor at the Chouinard Art Institute.
Second panel focuses on art education.
“Los Angeles and the art explosion” panel discussion, 1965 June 1 and 8. Edward Biberman papers, 1929-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
This item has been digitally reformatted. It is available by requesting an appointment in the Archives of American Art’s reading rooms, or in certain situations as a Reproduction Request.
Current copyright status is undetermined
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560
Art–Study and teaching
Edward Biberman papers, 1929-1985
Archives of American Art

Be the first Wurdemann on Mars

Journey to Mars courtesy of NASA

Free Family Tree Programs

Who are we? Where do we come from? These questions define the human experience. If you find yourself wondering how you became you, you might be interested in genealogy.

Learning about your ancestry is a great way to connect to your heritage. But keeping track of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles to the nth degree can be bewildering. You need a family tree.

These free downloads can help you organize charts, photos, documents and lineages. They’re must-haves for anyone serious about genealogy.

Family Tree Legends – Here’s a sophisticated family tree organizer with a simple interface. It can import existing genealogy files. And it can copy your family tree to a CD or DVD for easy sharing.

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There’s nothing more important in this world than your family. It’s an important task to document your family’s legacy.

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Family Tree Builder – Genealogy site MyHeritage offers a free download called Family Tree Builder. It pulls information from the MyHeritage Website to help you build your family tree.

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Dynastree – Here’s an exceedingly simple and fast way to get started on your family tree. Just follow Dynastree’s step-by-step instructions to build your ancestry chart. Start with yourself and branch out from there

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There’s something special about discovering your roots. Your ancestry may not be full of kings and heroes. But there are fascinating stories to be found. And they will tell you a little bit about yourself.

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Ahnenblatt – This program may be hard to pronounce, but it’s easy to use. Ahnenblatt is designed to be simple, intuitive, compatible and full-featured. It can understand most genealogy file formats.

You’ll be able to organize people in searchable family trees, auto-complete entries and include pictures. Just drag and drop files and pictures into the window. Then use the plausibility check to find mistakes in your data with a single click.

Genealogy is the study of family lineage and history. If your family has been tracking genealogy for a long time, you could have huge amounts of information to sift through.

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One free program you might want to try is called Ahnenblatt. It’s a simple, user-friendly program for inputting your relatives into a database.

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My Family Tree – This family tree software has an attractive interface that makes your tree both easy to read and pleasing to the eye. You can use the map viewer to track your family’s movements over time.

My Family Tree organizes your ancestral information into timelines and statistics. It can analyze and display data on births, deaths, marriages and more. Export your family tree easily to your website or print and share.

To the uninitiated or the uninterested, studying genealogy can seem boring. It doesn’t help that most genealogy software looks bland and sparse.

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My Family Tree is a free genealogy program available for download. It has a modern-looking interface that incorporates photos for a simple and aesthetically pleasing user experience.

Add pictures, videos, files and other attachments to each family member. Or use the interactive timeline to view family events chronologically. My Family Tree even has a map viewer to track your family’s movements over time.

This program organizes all of your family data into statistics. Analyze data on births, deaths, marriages and more.

When you’re done, you can upload your files to your website. Or you can print off your family tree and share it with your loved ones.

This program is compatible with the GEDCOM file format used by many genealogy programs. That means you can import your family tree or a relative’s.

Courtesy of Kim Komando

Gustavus, Wilhelm/William Würdemann, and Judge Gustavus Family Connection

Been trying to tie up some loose ends in the family tree.  There have been several noteworthy Würdemann family members that have been unconnected to the tree for a lack of any known family.  Recently four pieces of the puzzle came together.

Have been working with Don Wurdemann from Canada on his tree and how, if at all, our trees intertwined.  So far we have been unable to make a connection, but despite that, we have been attempting to connect his family with the Dr. Harry Vanderbilt Würdemann (HVW) family.  Through Don’s family he had a photograph of Judge Gustavus Adolphous Würdemann.  He also came up with a census record for the Susan Würdemann family that Gustavus was a member of.  What was unusual about her census record was the lack of a husband.  Even when a spouse is absent when the census is taken, their name is noted as being a resident of the house.  Another dead end, or so I thought so.

When researching William Wurdemann I discovered a project oriented around architect Adolf Cluss that built the Würdemann “mansion” in Washingon, DC.  I started getting assistance from Joe Browne who is working on the project.  He gave me information from the William Wurdemann will.  This gave me immediate family members for a Würdemann for which I had no previous family members.  Unfortunately these were all offspring, not giving me any of his parents or grandparents to connect to the tree.

Having had it for over two years, I thought I would tackle a tree I had been given by Dustin De Koekkoek (connected to the HVW family).  When entering the names, I noticed a similarity in family names with another family.  The family members in the Wilhelm C. F. Würdemann tree were the same family members of William Wurdemann, the mathematical instrument maker.  Wilhelm/William was brought into the country by the U. S. Coast Survey specifically for his skills.  So now I finally knew where William plugged into the tree, having found him under his birth name.

Having just worked on the information from the William W. will, the same sequence of names in the HVW tree were too concidental.

Were not done yet.  For quite awhile the Würdemann Heron has been hovering around my computer, wanting to be plugged into the family tree.

It was thought through previous research that the the bird was discovered by a Gustave Würdemann, or at least his name was put on it, but I was unable to positively connect Gustave with the Heron named after him presumably.

I reached out to cousin David Cahlander, the birder in the family.  He came back to me with a link that identified the the Wurdeman Heron as having been named for Gustavus.  We still didn’t know who Gustavus was though.

Being stubborn, I thought I would do some more research.  I stumbled on an obituary for Gustavus Würdemann.  It mentioned Gustavus was connected with the U. S. Coast Survey, the tidal study, and his connection with the Smithsonian, a source for the Würdemann Heron picture.  Was my tidal surveyor, the father of Judge Gustavus, brother to William, and husband to Susan?  YES!

Died September 29, 1859 in Swedesboro, NJ –   William’s brother died unknown date 1859

Died in Swedesboro, NJ in 1859, explaining his absence on the 1860 census.  Susan Würdemann’s census was taken in Swedesboro, NJ.

Gustavus worked for the U. S. Coast Survey, Williams employer and later main client.  William’s son Charles took over most of William’s duties with the U. S. Coast Survey, allowing William access to all the expensive instruments to make his own instruments.

And…he discovered the Würdemann Heron !

Lew “Sherlock” Wurdeman

Gustavus Würdemann Obituary 9/29/1859

William Würdemann, Surveyor and Mathematical Instrument Maker

William was born Wilhelm C. F. (Conrad Fredrich?) Würdemann. Grandfather of Dr. Harry Vanderbilt Wurdemann who is also discussed on this blog and in the photo gallery.


Smithsonian Biographies

William Würdemann(1811–1900)—known for having had “a decided influence on observers and instrument makers throughout the United States, as he introduced among us extreme German methods where extreme English methods had formerly prevailed”—was born in Bremen, studied in Heidelberg, and moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the United States Coast Survey. In 1836, having proved his worth, Würdemann became the Survey’s Chief Mechanician. He went into business on his own in 1849, advertising as a Mathematical and Optical Instrument Manufacturer, but maintaining a cosy relationship with the Coast Survey. He supervised the Survey’s instrument shop in 1867–1869; his son Charles worked in that shop in the early 1870s; and he always had easy access to their dividing engine and other machine tools. While the Coast Survey was Würdemann’s most important customer, he made instruments for other federal agencies as well. Würdemann also helped Camill Fauth, Edward Kubel, George N. Saegmuller, and other German instruments makers get their start in the United States. Würdemann’s shop closed in 1881.

Ref: Steven Turner, “William Würdemann: First Mechanician of the U.S. Coast Survey,” Rittenhouse 5 (1991): 97–110.

A Brief History of Geomagnetism and A Catalog of the Collections of the National Museum of American History


“The earliest American-made instruments in the present collection are a dip circle (No. 31, Figure 61) by William Wurdemann of Washington that was in use by 1863, and a magnetometer (No. 6, Figure 35) by William
Grunow, a German immigrant who was active as an instrument-maker in New York City from 1861.”

“A “Table of Magnetic Results,’ published by the Survey  in its Report for 1881, lists observations dating from the 1830s and gives some indication of the instruments used.   Most of the Survey’s early observations were made with instruments borrowed from other sources, notably the Smithsonian and the Naval Observatory. A Barrow dip circle no. 4 is mentioned in use in various locations into the 1870s (it was used in Central Park, New York City, in 1872). The aformentioned Wurdemann dip circle was still in use in 1881, when it was carried down the west coast,from Sitka to San Diego.”

“The Smithsonian observatory had been a joint venture of the Institution and the Coast Survey, and so was the one at Key West. However, the Smithsonian was leaving the field of geomagnetic research. Its instruments were apparently transferred to the Coast Survey, for when LI. Hayes made an expedition to “the arctic seas” in 1860 he borrowed instruments from the Coast Survey, a magnetometer by W. R. Jones and the aforementioned Patton dip circle, which had been improved by new needles by William Wurdemann, now an employee of the Survey.”

“FIGURE 61.—Nos. 31, 35, 38, Inclinometers (Dip Circles), ca. 1860-1900. The instrument at the right (No. 31) was made about 1863 by William Wurdemann (1811-1900), a native of Bremen. Wurdemann was brought to the United States by the first Director of the Coast Survey, F.R. Hassler, in 1834. He resided in Washington until his death, working intermittently for the Survey (1834-1836, 1848, 1870-1874) and as an independent instrument maker.  He made some of the early instruments of the survey, including this one, apparently made while he was in private business.  The needle (missing) was about 9 in/23 cm long. The instrument was used in Washington in 1863 and subsequently at many other locations, including points on the west coast from Sitka to San Diego in 1881.”

United States Standards of Weights and Measures

Wurdemann, William, 15

Physical Sciences Collection – Surveying and Geodesy

This unusual instrument is probably best described as a precise level with a graduated horizontal circle

This unusual instrument is probably best described as a precise level with a graduated horizontal circle


Catalogue number:

“Wm. Würdemann, Washington, D.C. 565”

height 8.5 inches; horizontal circle 5.5 inches diameter; needle 4.25 inches; telescope 11.25 inches long; level 5.5 long


This unusual instrument is probably best described as a precise level with a graduated horizontal circle. The telescope is provided with a long and graduated level vial, and an ingenious clamp and tangent screw moving against the silvered vertical arc controls its elevation. This arc extends 20 degrees either way, and is graduated to 10 minutes and read by vernier to 20 seconds. The horizontal circle is silvered, graduated to 15 minutes, and read by opposite verniers with reflecting glasses and magnifiers to 30 seconds. A trough compass and a circular level are mounted above the horizontal circle.

The United States War Department transferred this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1931, in a pine box marked “Capt. M. C. Meigs, Washington Aqueduct -Wurdemann–Grading Transit–1854.” That is, it was used by Montgomery C. Meigs, the captain in the United States Army Corps of Engineers who was tasked with surveying the course of a new Washington Aqueduct in 1853. Since William Würdemann was the leading mathematical instrument maker in Washington at that time, it is reasonable that he was asked to make the instrument needed for this important task.

The same device is also found in another part of the Smithsonian Institute site in a section called “History Wired – A Few of our Favorite Things”




Used to survey the course of the Washington Aqueduct
German-born instrument-maker William Würdemann arrived in Washington, DC, in 1834 and became the first full-time instrument maker of the U.S. Coast Survey. Over the course of his long career, Würdemann had an important influence on his new country, introducing “extreme German methods and models among us, where extreme English methods had previously prevailed.” He made instruments for other government agencies as well. This Würdemann gradienter–which combines the features of a theodolite and a precise level–was used by Captain Montgomery Meigs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to survey the course of the Washington Aqueduct in 1854.

Theodolite  Catalogue number: PH*316530  Inscriptions: "Wm. Würdemann, Washington, D.C. No 163"

Catalogue number:
“Wm. Würdemann, Washington, D.C. No 163”


Catalogue number:

“Wm. Würdemann, Washington, D.C. No 163”

height 13 inches; horizontal circle 6 inches diameter; vertical circle 2.5 inches diameter; needle 4 inches; telescope 11 inches long

William Würdemann made this instrument during the period 1849-1881, and the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1959. The horizontal circle is silvered, graduated to single minutes, and read by opposite verniers with magnifiers to single seconds. The vertical circle is silvered, and read by single vernier and magnifier.

William was important enough to the Smithsonian that they had one of it’s famous architects build a home for him.

Adolf Cluss:

from Germany to America

Shaping a Capital City Worthy of a Republic

William Wurdemann Residence
200½ Delaware Ave & B Street, NE (square 685, lots 1 & 2)
1887 demolished

Link from the Adolf Cluss site
William Wuerdemann Residence (53)
200 1/2 Delaware Avenue and B Street, NE
Constructed in 1887, demolished ca. 1910

From 1836 to 1849, the German immigrant William Wuerdemann (1811-1900) was the Chief Mechanician of the U.S. Coast Survey, Cluss’s first employer in Washington. In 1849, Wuerdemann started his own business as a Mathematical and Optical Instrument Manufacturer, but stayed in close contact with the Coast Survey. More about Wuerdemann: see http://americanhistory.si.edu.

When Wuerdemann asked Cluss to design this row house located just northwest of the Capitol, he was already in his seventies and retired. Two years later, Wuerdemann built two more houses at 10-12 B Street. All three houses were around the corner from Wuerdemann’s own house at 204 Delaware Avenue NE. Other members of the family owned nearby houses at 200 and 206-210 Delaware Avenue. Wuerdemann also owned a house in Dresden and a schooner. All of Wuerdemann’s Washington houses were demolished around 1910 to make way for park land and a Senate office building.


Theodolites = P.C., Hagley Museum, Del.; Meridian Telescopes = West Point Museum, Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of the Interior; Transits = Cornell University, ADL-L31; Sextant = MYS.

Würdemann; studied in Heidelberg; came to the U.S.A in 1834 and worked for the U.S. Coast Survey; on his own from 1840; made many improvements to instruments; made his own dividing engine.

Bremen (1811-34); Washington, D.C. (1834-1900).

Smart 1; Bedini 8; USNM; ADL; D.J. Warner 10; RSW.


In the catalogue issued in 1883 by Fauth and Company, makers of surveying instruments in Washington, D.C., two different types of heliotropes were offered. One was a heliotrope produced by the instrument maker William Wurdemann which had a telescope with two sights and two signal mirrors. It was offered with or without graduated horizontal and vertical axes. In the same catalogue Fauth introduced a “Pocket Heliotrope . . . a beautiful instrument that requires no adjustment” that had been introduced in 1844 by Carl August Steinheil (1801-1870), a Swiss physicist best known for his inventions ranging from an electric clock, telegraphic device and optical instruments. This instrument was sold also by the Washington-based instrument maker and dealer George N. Sagemuller for $20, and examples of which were purchased by the U. S. Coast and Geological Survey.




Camill Fauth (1847-1925) was born and raised in Karlsruhe, in southwest Germany. William Würdemann encouraged him to move to Washington, D.C., in 1870, and to work in his shop. Fauth and his two brothers-in-law, George N. Saegmuller and Henry Lockwood, established their own instrument business on Capitol Hill in 1874, and began trading as Fauth & Co. They made surveying and geodetic instruments for federal agencies, colleges and universities, and state, local, and private surveys, as well as transit instruments and telescope mounts for astronomical observatories. Fauth & Co. won an award at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, and a gold medal at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1882. In 1887, when Fauth retired and returned to Germany, Saegmuller became manager and sole proprietor of the firm, and began putting serial numbers on Fauth instruments. Saegmuller began trading under his own name in 1892, but kept the Fauth name on the instruments until he moved to Rochester, N.Y., in 1905.


Ferrel Tide Predictor



Grading transit Date: 1854

Grading transit Date: 1854

 Montgomery Cunningham Meigs


Grading transit
Date: 1854

Capt. Montgomery C. Meigs used this grading transit, a surveying instrument, in his work on the Washington Aqueduct in the mid-1850s. It was made for him in 1854 by a prominent Washington instrument maker, William Wurdemann.

WURDEMANN, Frank Gustave, Coast Survey. 1341 Wallach Place




Published by the Joint Commission FEBRUARY, 1889

WURDEMANN, Frank Gustave, Coast Survey
1341 Wallach Place
National Geographic Society.

Gustavus Wurdemann, Surveyor, Tide Expert

Gustavus Wurdemann was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute to perform coastal surveys in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. United States Coastal Survey. 1854-1858

List of Expeditions (Smithsonian and Non-Smithsonian), 1849-1877

He also submitted specimens to the National Anthropological Archives

United States Army Medical Museum Anatomical Section, Records Relating to Specimens Transferred to the Smithsonian Institution


VOL. xviir.



Eulogies and Biographical Sketches :


G. Wurdemann, by A. D. Bache 164


The Secretary brought before the Board the subject of the pay of the assistants; which, after some remarks, was referred to the Secretary and the Executive Committee

Professor Bache made the following remarks:

Mr. Gustavus Wurdemann, in charge of the tidal observations of the Coast Survey
on the Florida reefs and Gulf of Mexico, died at his home in New Jersey on the 80th
of September. His health had been failing for some years, and during the last year
he had discharged his duties with great difficulty, owing to great physical debility.
Mr. Wurdemann entered the survey under my predecessor, and served throughout a
somewhat extended career, with a fidelity and singleness of purpose that has never
been exceeded. Exact truthfulness was the leading trait of his character, and his
observations, even the most minute, were always reliable. It is easily seen that it is
no exaggeration to say that such a man was invaluable in his place, and an example
worthy to be held up as the type of faithfulness. During the discharge of his labo-
rious duties he found time and opportunity to make collections in natural history,
which have been acknowledged by the Smithsonian Institution as among the most
valuable contributions to the knowledge of the fauna of Florida.

On motion of Professor Bache, the following resolution was unanimously adopted :

Resolved That the Eegents of the Smithsonian Institution have learned with regret
the decease of Gustavus Wurdemann, tidal observer in the Coast Survey, whose col-
lections of specimens from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and especially of the
birds of Florida, liberally furnished to the Smithsonian Institution, have proved of
great importance in increasing our knowledge of the natural history of the southern
part of tne United States.

Resolved That this resolution be communicated to the widow of Mr. Wurdemann.

And another reference to his work at coastal survey:


21. In referring to Wurdemann, who made a profession of observing tides, and another Gulf Coast observer, Superintendent Bache remarked: “The observations were made day and night, hourly for a year, with exceedingly rare omissions … with a degree of faithfulness which merits very great praise. The observers were Messrs. Gustavus Wurdemann and R. T. Bassett….” There are numerous references to Gustavus Wurdemann throughout annual reports which remarked upon his faithfulness and attention to detail in accumulating tidal and meteorological data.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Platte County, Nebraska

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Platte County, Nebraska. It is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Platte County, Nebraska, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in a Google map.

There are 21 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted October 23, 2009.

Wurdeman-Lawson Archeological Site July 12, 1974 Address Restricted Creston, NE

Walter Charles Wurdeman, Architect and Professor

Pacific Coast Architecture Database

Wurdeman, Walter ID: 415
Full Name: Walter Charles Wurdeman
Nationality: US
Birth Date: 08/02/1903
Death Date: 09/17/1949
Family: Walter C. Wurdeman was born in Wisconsin and died in Los Angeles County, CA, at the age of 46; his mother’s maiden name was Reitz; his father’s name was spelled Wuerdemann;
Biographical Information:
Work History: work: Principal, Walter C. Wurdeman, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1931-1932;
Countries: United States
Structures: Armstrong, M. Burton House – c. 1947 (671)
Buffums Department Store, Santa Ana, CA – None (2355)
Bullock’s Department Store, Pasadena, CA – 1947 (672)
General Petroleum Building, Los Angeles – 1947 (568)
House of Tomorrow – 1946 (670)
Innes Company Shoe Store – c. 1946 (698)
Jai Alai Auditorium – 1940 (661)
Los Angeles Home Show House for Kaiser Homes, Incorporated – (660)
Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA – (666)
Prudential Square Building, Los Angeles – 1948 (673)
Pueblo del Rio Public Housing, Vernon, CA – 1940-1941 (3840)
Salvatori, Henry House – 1941 (662)
San Fernando Valley Country Club, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, CA – 1945 (665)
Tilford’s Restaurant, Los Angeles – 1946 (7232)
University of California, Los Angeles Campus – 1948-1968 (674)
Wurdeman, Arthur, House, Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA – (5172)
Wurdeman, Walter, House, Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA – (663)
Partners: Becket, Welton D. and Associates (29)
Bodmer, Wurdeman and Becket, Architects (3709)
Plummer, Wurdeman, and Becket, Architects (163)
Southeast Housing Architects, Associated (3812)
Wurdeman and Becket, Architects (162)
Wurdeman, Walter C., Architect (1914)
Publications: “Armstrong, M. Burton House”, Architectural Digest, 11: 3, 6-10,
“Fritz Burns’500 new houses feature plank and beam construction and convertible two-car garages, sell for $8,250”, Architectural Forum, 91: 5, 84-85?, 114, 116, 11/1949.
“Etchwood Paneling Advertisement, Davidson Plywood and Lumber Company”, Architectural Forum, 91: 5, 146, 11/1949.
“Three Shoe Stores: Open front store in Los Angeles”, Architectural Forum, 91: 6, 92-93, 12/1949.
Better Homes and Gardens,
“Southern California Chapter’s Honor Awards”, Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 7: 2, 74-79, 02/1947.
“Southern California Chapter’s Honor Awards”, Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 7: 2, 77, 02/1947.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 115, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 188, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 193, 1994.
Cole, Benjamin Mark, “Pan Pacific will be restored to former glory”, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 15, 01/18/1985.
“Salvatori, Henry House Notice”, Southwest Builder & Contractor, 24, col. 3, 7/25/1921.
Southwest Builder & Contractor, 56, 1/28/1949.
“Pueblo del Rio Housing Project plans”, Southwest Builder & Contractor, 96, col 2, 7/5/1940.
“Wurdeman, Walter, House notice”, Southwest Builder & Contractor, 28, col 1, 10/24/1941.
“Wurdeman, Arthur, House notice”, Southwest Builder & Contractor, 28, col 1, 10/24/1941.
Websites: General Petroleum Building, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 1951 (1696)

Finding Aid for the Elliot Mittler Collection of Welton Becket and Associates Photograph Archives, 1940-1979

Welton Davis Becket was born in Seattle, Washington, on August 8, 1902; BA, Architecture, University of Washington, (1927), with one year of graduate study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Fontainebleau, France, (1928); partnered with Walter previous hit Wurdeman next hit and Charles Plummer under the name Becket, previous hit Wurdeman next hit , and Plummer in 1933; following Plummer’s death in 1939 and previous hit Wurdeman’s next hit death in 1949, Becket continued the firm as Welton Becket and Associates, serving as President (1949-68) and Chairman of the Board (1968) until his death in 1969; served as Master Planner and Supervising Architect, UCLA, 1949-69; Becket’s philosophy of total design, embracing all requirements demanded of architectural design, became integral to the firm; the firm’s designs are not identified with a particular style, but are individual to each client; the firm was one of the largest firms in Los Angeles with building credits throughout the world, including: Pan Pacific Auditorium (with previous hit Wurdeman , 1934), Beverly Hilton Hotel (1955), Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles Music Center (1964), Gulf Life Tower, Florida (1967), Xerox Square, New York (1968), several Bullock’s Department Stores in California (1951-77), and various UCLA campus structures (1958-70); after Becket’s death, the firm continued under the same name, directed by his nephew, MacDonald Becket; around 1985, the firm was acquired by Ellerbe Incorporated to become Ellerbe Becket.

Scope and Content
Collection consists of photographs related to the work of the Welton Becket & Associates architectural firm. Most of the photographs represent projects in and around the Los Angeles area. Includes examples of both residential and commercial buildings with interior and exterior views. Architectural photographers whose works are represented in this collection are: Glen Allison, Orlando R. Cabanban, Fred S. Carr, Louis Checkman, Robert C. Cleveland, Gerbert Bruce Cross, Fred Daly, Philip Fein, Eddie Hoff, Richard K. Koch, Balthazar Korab, Nathaniel Lieberman, Joseph W. Moliter, Rondal Partridge, Marvin Rand, Gerald Ratto, Otto Rothschild, Ben Schnall, Gordon H. Schneck, Julius Shulman, Douglas Simmonds, Delmar Watson, Todd A. Watts, and Dick Wittington.

Interview with Paul Thiry
Conducted by Meredith Clausen
At the Artist’s home
September 15 & 16, 1983

“MEREDITH CLAUSEN: Who were your professors at the time?

PAUL THIRY: Carl Gould of course was the head, and he was also architect for the campus, and of course he had good training. He was a Beaux Arts man from Paris, and he’d gone to Harvard and no one could question his qualifications. And I will say that he was modern in the sense that he fostered the idea of prefabrication, and actually he’d built a house for himself on Bainbridge Island that was an assembly of doors; I might say that he bought the doors and then built the house on top of the doors. (laughter) And then too he made ventures into modern, it was kind of modernistic, somewhat of basis for change in architecture. But this didn’t get into our training in school.

Finally in 1927, there were three others and myself who [went to] Fontainebleau. The previous year, Walter Wurdeman, who later became a partner with Welton Becket– who also went to Fontainebleau with me; he preceded us in school and he came back with great reports on how he enjoyed it and how much he learned. And it’s true, we learned a great deal. At Fontainebleau we had illustrious professors and…”

MEREDITH CLAUSEN: Now was Paris and the Atelier Gromort in between Fontainebleau and Italy?

PAUL THIRY: That was right after Fontainebleau, you see, and I stayed in France, oh, it was two or three weeks. Becket and Wurdeman had gone ahead, and I met them in Rome.

The General Petroleum Building, also known as the Mobil Oil Building and the Pegasus Apartments, is a highrise building in Downtown Los Angeles that was built in 1949. It was designed by Wurdeman and Becket and P.J. Walker in the Moderne style. The building was later converted into apartments operated under the name Pegasus. In 2004, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places based on architectural criteria.

General Petroleum Building - Mobil - Pegasus Apartments

General Petroleum Building – Mobil – Pegasus Apartments

(from Wikipedia)
Walter Wurdeman ( ? – 1949) was a leading architect who, with his partner Welton Becket, designed many notable buildings in Los Angeles, California.

Wurdeman graduated from the University of Washington program in Architecture in 1927 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree (B.Arch.). After graduation he apprenticed with the Seattle firm Bebb and Gould and participated in design of the Seattle Art Museum (now Seattle Asian Art Museum) in Seattle’s Volunteer Park.

Seattle Art Museum designed by Walter Wurdeman

Further commentary on the Carly Frelinghuysen Wikipedia entry about the Seattle Art Museum gives credit to Walter Wurdeman and also cites him as being an influence in the Art Deco style:

“By the 1930s, Bebb’s role in Bebb and Gould declined and the firm’s work began to reflect the emergence of Art Deco. This new direction was reflected in the design for the Seattle Art Museum building (1931-1933); now the Seattle Asian Art Museum) in Volunteer Park. (The design of the front elevation reflects the influence of draftsman Walter Wurdeman who had joined Bebb and Gould after graduating from the University of Washington.) ”

Wurdeman had moved to Los Angeles by 1933 and formed a partnership with his University of Washington classmate Welton Becket and local architect Charles F. Plummer. The Moderne Pan-Pacific Auditorium, dating from 1935, brought them local fame.





Subsequent commissions included residences for James Cagney, Robert Montgomery, and other film celebrities.

After Plummer died in 1939, the surviving partners renamed the firm Wurdeman and Becket. The firm was responsible for Bullock’s Pasadena (1944) and several corporate headquarters. Wurdeman and Becket practiced “total design”, taking responsibility for master planning, engineering, interiors, fixtures and furnishings, landscape, and graphics.

After Wurdeman’s death in 1949, Becket carried on the practice alone as Welton Becket Associates.