Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Lehigh Library Receives Grant for CTBUH Archives
Project Started: March 2014
Anticipated Project Completion: March 2016
Funding Sponsor:
Mellon Foundation
Principal Investigator:
Lehigh University
Read the Lehigh University Progress Report from June 2014
See the History of the CTBUH
BETHLEHEM, PA, USA – The Special Collections department of the Lehigh University Library has received a grant to catalog its portion of the archives of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which was founded at Lehigh and remained there from 1969 to 2006.

Lehigh University has been awarded a $93,700 grant under the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program, funded by the Mellon Foundation, to enhance scholarly access to books, records, and maps held by the Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections.  This two-year project, “Bridge and Building Forensics: Civil Engineering Archives at Lehigh University,” will process and create finding aids for six civil engineering archival collections, including the papers of John Fisher; Blair Birdsall; Willis Slater; and the CTBUH. In addition, a collection of postcards depicting American bridges and a series of photographs showing laboratory testing will be described.
The American Skyscraper poster is among the items that will be cataloged.
Lois Fischer Black, Lehigh University’s Curator of Special Collections, will serve as the project’s Principal Investigator and Ilhan Citak, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, will serve as Project Manager. Lehigh University’s proven leadership in innovative applications of library and educational technology will undergird a project that offers new opportunities for advanced students to become actively involved in the processing and use of primary documents. The project will highlight many historically significant collections held by Lehigh’s Special Collections, advancing its mission of serving as a primary resource center for collections in the history of technology.

Lehigh, home to the first engineering material testing lab on an American campus, holds the papers of individuals and organizations instrumental in building America’s infrastructure. Scholarly access to these materials is highly desirable to obtain an understanding of advances in technology, safety, and structural integrity. This project will also make accessible records of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) - known to the public for its compilation and ranking of the World's 100 Tallest Buildings, which documents the evolution of a new discipline intended to study and report "on all aspects of the planning, design, and construction of tall buildings."

Created in 2008, the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program supports the identification and cataloging of special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate. It is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington, D.C.  Award recipients create descriptive information for their hidden collections that will eventually be linked to and interoperable with all other projects funded by this grant program.

This year, grants were awarded to twenty-one other institutions including Amherst College, Columbia University, the Newberry Library, and Princeton University. The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the management of information for research, teaching, and learning. CLIR works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good.