Royal Barry Wills Associates Archive
Master of the Cape Cod House
Historic New England is making the archive of a famous architectural firm accessible to the public for the first time.
This collection documents the history and work of the Boston-based architectural firm founded in 1925 by Royal Barry Wills, one of America’s most popular architects and master of the Cape Cod-style house. From the 1920s to the 1960s, Wills designed 2,500 single-family residences, authored eight books about architecture, hosted a radio program, lectured widely, received numerous awards, supplied “Home Building Plans” for a number of newspapers, and was the subject of feature articles in Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and Good Housekeeping. In 2013 Wills’ son Richard donated the majority of the company archives to Historic New England.
The collection contains materials from the 1920s to 2003 and includes:
- architectural drawings for 2,000 projects (32,000 individual items)
- 5,000 photographs and negatives
- 101.5 linear feet of scrapbooks, publicity files, original manuscripts, and accompanying illustrations, reference resources, miscellaneous photographic materials, recordings, speech scripts, certificates, diplomas, and project files
The work of cleaning, cataloguing, digitizing, and providing online access to the Royal Barry Wills Associates Archive is funded in part by a matching grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, award # MA-30-16-0435-16, with additional support from the Felicia Fund, Elizabeth and Robert I. Owens, and Kristin and Roger Servison.