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Stock plan books collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: N101

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes stock plan books published by the Aladdin Company, American Builder, Carr-Cullen, Curtis Service Bureau, Detroit Steel Products Company, Gordon-Van Tine Company, E.F. Hodgson, M.L. Keith, Indiana Limestone Quarrymen's Association, Portland Cement Co., Radford Architectural Co., Sears-Roebuck, Standard Homes Co., Weyerhaeuser and the White Pine Bureau, as well as several local Twin Cities architects. This collection of books has been cataloged in the University Libraries MNCAT system and is searchable online.


  • 1890-1960


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division reading room. Advance notice is requested.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of materials in this collection. Copies can be requested if the condition of the originals warrants it.

Historical Note

Stock plan books may be defined as compendia of plans for residences and other types of structures which are produced specifically for publication and sale by architects, contractors, developers, lumber and building supplies dealers and manufacturers, and others. Also called "pattern books," such publications may date back to American colonial times.

Plan books were produced to fill a clear need in American building; the necessity to provide inexpensive and clearly understandable plans for buildings that could be erected by amateur carpenters, if necessary, at less expense than architects and professional contractors would charge and yet result in structures that looked every bit as professional, tasteful, and stylish as those that had been custom designed. These books skyrocketed in popularity in the 19th century and even more so in the 20th, especially in the 1920s and 1930s when the demand for economical housing grew enormously and created a huge market for stock plans. The result is that in most cities in the United States today, the bulk of working-class and middle-class neighborhoods consist of housing built from such plans.


20 Cubic Feet


Collection contains over 400 stock plan books assembled by the Northwest Architectural Archives for research and reference purposes.


The collection is organized alphabetically by author/publisher.

Physical Location


Additional Finding Aid

An unpublished finding aid with detailed contents is available in the Manuscripts Division.


This collection was assembled by the Northwest Architectural Archives for reference and research purposes.

Stock Plan Books collection
Archives Staff
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