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Liebenberg and Kaplan papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: N36

Scope and Content Note

Liebenberg and Kaplan were noted for designing more than 200 motion picture theatres in the Upper Midwest, many of the early ones featuring an Art Deco style. The firm also designed private residences, radio and television stations, commercial structures, hospitals, and synagogues, including Temple Israel in Minneapolis.

The voluminous records of Liebenberg and Kaplan contain original drawings for some 2,500 works, plus office files (correspondence, cost estimates, calculations, contracts) for about 5,000 jobs. The collection also includes photographs and specifications for many of the firm's theatres, in addition to color and monochrome perspective renderings of many of them.

Among the original drawings for theatres in the collection are those documenting the Hollywood (1935), Varsity (1938), Uptown (1939), Granada (later Suburban World) (1928), Campus (ca. 1940), Terrace (1955), all in Minneapolis; the Fargo in Fargo, North Dakota (1936); the Egyptian, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (1938); Maco, Virginia, Minnesota (1940); and Norshor, in Duluth (1940-41).

Residences represented by original plans include those for the Piper, Hochman, Hendel, Fredean, and Davenport families, all in Minneapolis, and several designs of model homes for the Thorpes Country Club development in Edina, Minnesota (1927-8).


  • 1919-1969


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division reading room. Researchers should make an appointment in advance.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright has been transferred to the archives.

Biographical Note

Jack Liebenberg was born in Milwaukee in 1893 and educated at the University of Minnesota, where he was in the first graduating class from the School of Architecture (1916). The following year, he was granted a Master of Science in Architecture from Harvard. After service in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he returned to Minneapolis and entered the firm of D.C. Bennett. In 1921, Liebenberg joined former classmate Seeman Kaplan in partnership and remained in the firm until his retirement in 1980. For several years up to 1971, the partnership also included Joel Glotter. Liebenberg died in Edina, Minnesota, on March 23, 1985.

Seeman Kaplan, a native of Minneapolis, graduated with honors in architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1918 and joined Liebenberg in 1921. Kaplan managed the engineering and business details of the company until his death in 1963.


630 Cubic Feet


Liebenberg and Kaplan records contain original drawings for 2500 projects and office files including correspondence, cost estimates, calculations, and contracts. The motion picture theater collection includes photographs, specifications, and color and monochrome perspective drawings. Original plans for residences include those built for the Piper, Hochman, Hendel, Fredean, and Davenport families in Minneapolis. There are also several designs of model homes for the Thorpe Country Club Development in Edina, MN.


The collection is arranged in seven series. All materials in each series are arranged alphabetically.

  1. Working Drawings
  2. Renderings
  3. Photographs
  4. Job Files
  5. Specifications
  6. General Office records
  7. Liebenberg, Kaplan and Smiley records
  8. Oversize boxes

Physical Location

High Bay, A-V Room


Donated by Jack Liebenberg in 1975.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Kathleen Beddow in 1981-82. Arrangement and description of the collection was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Liebenberg and Kaplan papers, 1919-1969
Kathleen Beddow
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area