Brochure of 1960s architecture by Bodrell Joer'dan Smith, shared in honor of Father's Day
In honor of Father’s Day, it is a pleasure to share a very special object of personal significance that was recently donated to the Stanford Libraries in digital form. The item is a small “promotional brochure for an architecture firm based in Los Angeles in the 1960s with a list of their projects including drawings, maps, and photographs both of buildings and architectural models,” as described by rare book cataloger Ann Myers. The architect—my father—was Bodrell Joer’dan Smith, and this pamphlet both promoted and celebrated the accomplishments of his early career. It is filled with ornate drawings of his buildings, often including tiny, fashionable figures in the foreground and artistic landscaping details. These flourishes show not only the possibilities of the buildings to be constructed, but also the artistry and craftsmanship of the drafting process and the architect's intentional incorporation of the aesthetics of the period.
In addition to illustrating the largely bygone architectural tradition of hand-rendering, the images bring to mind childhood memories of all the tools of the trade that I was not allowed to touch (until proving that I understood they were to be treated with the utmost respect.) In his office were motorized erasers, T-squares, stencils, scales, drafting brushes, triangles of various degrees, protractors, stamps, and an abundance of beautiful pantone pens. In the era of computer aided design, I wonder how many of these tools are still commonplace? Also included in the pamphlet is a photograph of a three-dimensional scale model of a proposed building, which would help clients visualize their actualized plans. Of course, as a child it represented trips to the hobby store with him to find the materials needed to create such elaborate pieces.
It is a strange thing to think of our parents before we were born; as people, individuals with creative visions, hopes, ambitions. My father’s architectural career helped influence my interest in art, art history, and a love of detail-oriented precise work, and it was an honor to be able to use these in my capacity as rare book and special collections digitization specialist to image his book. Our department works closely with donors on a regular basis, and being able to digitally memorialize something of my father’s legacy helped me to understand how they must feel.
It is my sincere hope that people enjoy browsing this peek at 1960s-era architecture, and I want to thank my colleagues Glynn Edwards, Daniel Hartwig, Ann Myers, and Michelle Paquette for allowing me to share it with the world. Special thanks to Micaela Go, who worked with me on the imaging and post-production.
View the full digital object here: