Scope and arrangement
Sullivan's papers, ca. 1902-1933, consist of: correspondence (including letters from engineer William J. Wilgus whose papers are also at the New York Public Library); telegrams; reports; minutes; hearing transcripts; blueprints; maps; charts; notes; sketches; photographs; specifications; cost estimates; contracts; printed material; and many clippings. The bulk of this material dates from the 1920s and chiefly concerns Sullivan's many projects in New York City. Pre-1920s papers (excluding United States Nitrate Plant No.2 files) fill approximately one half linear foot, and there are only a few inches of material dating from the 1930s.
Specific New York City projects documented include (all dates are approximate): the West Side Improvement, 1909-1920s, including the plan to relocate the New York Central Railroad tracks which ran along Eleventh Avenue and a plan for an elevated highway on the West Side; sewers and New York Harbor pollution, 1912-1928; subways and bus routes, 1900s-1920s; New York/New Jersey port and harbor development, 1919-1920; a BronxManhattan tunnel at Spuyten Duyvil, 1920s (unrealized); various plans for avoiding or relieving traffic congestion in Manhattan, 1920s, including elevated roads and walkways, and a Thirty-eighth Street vehicular tunnel planned to originate at Twelfth Avenue, burrow under Manhattan, and emerge at Borden Avenue in Queens (the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, which fulfills a portion of this plan, was not completed until 1940); sites proposed in Manhattan and Brooklyn for a fruit and vegetable terminal market, late 1920s; construction of the Hudson River (George Washington) Bridge, 1926-1927; and Atlantic Avenue grade crossing elimination, 1930. Of note is John D. Rockefeller's original letter (June 5, 1930, with accompanying documents) to Mayor Walker offering the site for Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, along with some additional land on the Upper East Side, to the city.
Sullivan's work, 1926-1927, on the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina is also documented in these files, and some personal and miscellaneous material is included. Personal material consists of curriculum vitae, certificates and medals, some financial papers, material concerning Clemson College alumni activities, and papers documenting Sullivan's participation in New York City Democratic organizations, particularly the New York Engineer's Committee for Smith and Roosevelt, 1928, on whose board he served. A small amount of this material which was found unaccompanied by related documents is in a folder labeled "personal" in box 4, but the bulk of it is scattered throughout the files. Miscellaneous material, also in box 4, consists of a group of train timetables, BMT and IRT subway maps dating from the 1920s, travel brochures, invitations, various printed announcements, and a small group of notes and sketches found by themselves. Many more notes and sketches can be found scattered throughout the entire collection. Similarly, clippings and printed material concerning projects on which Sullivan worked, and a variety of other generally related topics, are found everywhere in the collection, but many large piles of these have been separated and are now in boxes 10-12.
There is approximately one linear foot of Board of Estimate and Apportionment records, 1926-1929, chiefly copies of requests from city departments and other bodies funded by the city, and related Board resolutions.
United States Nitrate Plant No.2 records, 1918-1921, consist of correspondence, reports, blueprints, tables, clippings, photographs, and lantern slides. These document the construction of the plant at Muscle Shoals, and the ensuing congressional investigation into allegations that money had been wasted on the work. Many of the photographs are rolled tightly and will not be available for use until they can be flattened. Among the usable photographs are a group of fourteen, undated, showing a visit of the Secretary of War to the plant.
There are photographs scattered throughout the collection, but box 9 contains some that were found by themselves. These include: 17 8x10 prints of New York City roadway bridges under construction (at Greenpoint Ave., Myrtle Ave., Bronx Park, 174th Street, East 238th Street, and Ludlow Ave.); some group and individual portraits, mostly unidentified, 1900s-1920s, but including the Tonkawa Democratic Club dinner dance, New York, 1928, and the May 9, 1908 reunion of the 22nd Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry; and a number of aerial photographs of New York. An outstanding, large (5.5 feet by 3.3 feet) aerial photograph made up of ten individual prints mounted on linen, undated, ca. late 1920s, centering on Manhattan and showing portions of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, is in box 13.
Arranged into six groups: chronological files, Board of Estimate files, U.S. Nitrate Plant No.2 files, Photographs, Clippings and printed material, and Oversized material.