Creator
Webb, James M.
Size
222.5 linear feet
Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff.

Call number
MC 00102

The collection contains the business and design records from James M. Webb's architectural firm, as well as his personal papers and some papers of his brother, John B. Webb, and his mother, Martha Webb. The major groupings of records are Project Files, Drawings, Maps, Professional Papers, Personal Papers, Photographs and Slides, Videos, Artifacts, John B. Webb, and Martha Webb.

James Murray Webb was born in 1908 and died in 2000. In 1947, he joined the new City and Regional Planning School at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, where he served as a faculty member for thirty years. He and his brother, John Bruce Webb, maintained an architectural practice in Chapel Hill and designed a number of modernist houses and other buildings in the area.

Biographical/historical note

James Murray Webb (1908-2000) was the son of Martha Webb and Ray H. Webb. Ray Webb was assistant general manager for the American Smelting Refining Company in Mexico until he suffered from an appendicitis and died in the factory in 1913. James and his brother, John Bruce Webb (1910-1997), grew up in Covina, California and later moved to the site that would become the family's homestead: 36 Tamalpais Place, Berkeley, California. John returned to "36 T" after retirement: much of the correspondence between him and James concerns maintenance, finances, and renovations of this home.

James received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from the University of California-Berkeley in 1936 and Master's degree in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1946. He worked for California architect William Wurster before coming to North Carolina in 1947. That year he joined the new City and Regional Planning School at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, where he served as a faculty member for thirty years. He started the firm City Planning and Architecture Associates (CPAA) in the late 1950s, recruiting Don Stewart as a partner. In 1954 he was joined by his brother John, and together they designed a number of modernist houses and other buildings in the area. In 1957 James married Barbara Henderson Kelly. Kelly brought three sons from a previous marriage: James, Clinton, and Archibald. In the 1960s John returned to Berkeley with his wife, Dorothy. James Webb left CPAA in the mid-1970s to practice on his own until his death in 2000.

Significant clusters of Jim and John Webb houses were built in Chapel Hill: Whitehead Circle, located near the University of North Carolina Hospital, and Highland Woods, located across the 15-501 Bypass from Laurel Hill. James Webb was also involved with site planning for Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Forest Hills Shopping Center in Durham, North Carolina; UNC-Chapel Hill; and Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

James Webb was also actively involved in Chapel Hill Town preservation and historical projects. Additional information can be found on the Triangle Modernist Houses website.

This collection also contains some of John Webb's documents, as John died three years prior to Jim. John was the associate architect in charge of design development and chief delineator for the Kennedy Grave in Arlington Cemetery, 1964-1965.

Scope/content

The collection contains the project files, drawings, professional papers and visual materials from Webb's architectural firm, as well as his personal papers. The collection also contains papers from James's brother, John B. Webb, and his mother, Martha Webb.

Project Files are arranged alphabetically by building or client name, and include notes, agreements, billing and cost estimate records, progress reports, construction documents, specifications, project photographs, and equipment catalogs for buildings Webb designed. Drawings are arranged alphabetically by building or client name and may include blueprints, sketches, working drawings and/or presentation drawings. Maps are primarily of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Town of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. Some of the maps are marked with handwritten notes. Professional papers consist of American Institute of Architects (AIA) and North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (NCAIA) publications and materials, documentation from committees to which James Webb contributed, and information on James Webb's office building (Rosemary-Henderson Street Building). Personal Files contain correspondence, handwritten memoirs, family history records, personal financial records, newspapers, and other miscellaneous materials from James Webb's personal life. Most photographs, slides, and negatives relate to James Webb's personal life or are unidentified. Contents of the videos also relate to Webb's personal life. Artifacts include the sign from the Rosemary-Henderson Street Building and architectural planning instruments.

Papers in the John B. Webb series are divided into project files, personal papers and photographs. Project files include papers from California architectural projects and the John F. Kennedy gravesite in Arlington, Virginia. Personal papers include correspondence, documentation from the Webb home at #36 Tamalpais in Berkeley, and other miscellaneous documents. Most of the photographs series comprises personal photos of people and places in California and Japan. Papers in the Martha Webb series are arranged into personal papers and photographs. Personal papers include correspondence and financial documents, some of which relate to Ray Webb, James's father, and the Webb family connections in Mexico. Photographs contain family photos of James, John, and Martha Webb, as well as some unidentified persons.

Physical description

88 document cases, 2 flat boxes, 6 cartons, 6 flat folders, 470 tubes.

Arrangement

Materials are organized into ten series:

  • 1. Project Files
  • ,
  • 2. Drawings Series
  • ,
  • 3. Maps
  • ,
  • 4. Professional Papers
  • ,
  • 5. Personal Papers
  • ,
  • 6. Photographs and Slides
  • ,
  • 7. Videos
  • ,
  • 8. Artifacts
  • ,
  • 9. John B. Webb Papers
  • ,
  • 10. Martha Webb Papers

Use of these materials

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Webb Papers, MC 00102, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

Gift of the James Webb Estate, 2008 (Accessions 2008-0066 and 2008-0123). Transferred from the Chapel Hill Museum, April and June 2008.

Processing information

Processed by Danica Cullinan, Claire Ruswick, and Emily Walters, 2010 March

Encoded by Danica Cullinan, Claire Ruswick, and Emily Walters, 2010 March

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

For more information contact us via mail, phone, or our web form.

Mailing address:
Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111

Phone: (919) 515-2273

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Webb Papers, MC 00102, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Use of these materials

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.