Lee Nelson papers , 1957-1994

Overview of the Collection

Nelson, Lee H.
Lee Nelson papers
1957-1994 (inclusive)
39.5 linear feet, (27 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 334
Lee Nelson (1927-1994) was an American pioneer in historic and architectural preservation. The Lee Nelson Papers consist of professional correspondence, architectural drawings, published reports, pamphlets, articles, catalogs, manuscripts, photographs, and slides. The bulk of the material was generated during Nelson's career at the National Park Service, and includes material related to his activities in helping to preserve Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other historic buildings, including the White House. This finding aid is a preliminary list of the contents of the Lee Nelson Papers.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Lee H. Nelson (1927-1994) was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1927, the son and grandson of Norwegian carpenters. He received an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Oregon in 1957, and a Master's in Architecture from the University of Illinois in 1958. That same year he embarked on a lifelong career with the National Park Service (NPS), beginning with a summer internship doing architectural research and documentation drawings at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.

From 1960 to 1972 Nelson worked in the National Park Service, Division of Design and Construction in Philadelphia where, in connection with America's approaching bicentennial, he became part of a team documenting and restoring a number of buildings at Independence National Historical Park. In 1979, Nelson became chief of Technical Preservation Services, later renamed the Preservation Assistance Division, a position he held until his retirement in 1990.

During his years with the Park Service, Nelson helped formulate national policies on historic preservation, promoting the use of authentic materials to document physical data as a record for posterity. He received the NPS Meritorious Service Award in 1974, and the Distinguished Service Award in 1988. Nelson was a founding member of the Association for Preservation Technology and edited the Association's Bulletin for its first 10 years. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and was active in the AIA Historic Resources Committee. Lee Nelson died in 1994.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of professional correspondence, reports, published pamphlets, articles, catalogs, manuscripts, photographs and slides, and college course work.

The bulk of the material was generated during Nelson's career at the National Park Service and includes material relating to his activities in helping to preserve Independence Hall in Philadelphia and other historic buildings, including the White House.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Architects--United States--Biography
  • Architects--United States--Correspondence
  • Architecture--Conservation and restoration--United States
  • Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration--United States
  • Historic preservation--United States
  • Historic sites--Conservation and restoration--United States

Personal Names

  • Nelson, Lee H.

Corporate Names

  • United States. National Park Service

Form or Genre Terms

  • Architectural photographs
  • Architectural records
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Slides (photographs)