Architectural drawings from what was the School of Engineering at then New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, 1937-1940, will be on display April 15 through Oct. 15 at the Archives and Special Collections Department, Milton Gallery, fourth floor of Branson Library. Martha Shipman Andrews, university archivist and associate professor, curated the exhibit; the digital reproductions were done by Elizabeth Villa from the library Reprographics Department.
In 1936 the School of Engineering, headed at that time by Dean Hugh M. Milton, introduced an art and architecture curriculum and hired a talented Cornell and Yale-trained architect, George Scott Gleason, as its instructor. Courses included Elements of Architectural Design, History of Renaissance and Modern Architecture, Architectural Freehand and Historic Ornament.
The New Mexico State University Archives has in its collections nearly 60 examples of student assignments from these courses, many of which are now on display. The works show a sophisticated understanding of the Art Deco style prevalent during the 1930s and a confident grasp of draftsmanship, in addition to being quite beautiful in design. The exhibit includes photographs of some of the student artist-draftsmen, some of whom went on to engineering careers after tours of duty during World War II. Two of the students, Paul Redford and Thomas Marion Palmer, died during the war and are remembered in NMSU’s Memorial Tower.