Collection ID: 5654955

Collection context


Tatlow, Richard H., III and Abbott, Merkt and Company
89 linear feet of papers and 422 tube box
English .
Preferred citation:

Abbott, Merkt and Company records, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.


Scope and Content:

This collection primarily contains architectural drawings, photographs, business records and reference materials related to the projects and designs of architectural and engineering firm Abbott, Merkt and Company. A subsidiary portion of the collection includes drawings, photographs and papers related to the life and career of Richard H. Tatlow, III, president of Abbott Merkt, as well as the firms and agencies for which he also worked.

Biographical / Historical:

Abbott, Merkt and Company

Founded in 1923 in New York City by Hunley Abbott and Oswald L. Merkt as an engineering and construction service for industrial plants. The firm was expanded to include architectural services in 1929 and Abbott, Merkt and Company grew to become one of the leading architecture and engineering firms on the East Coast after World War II, acquiring major commissions for commercial and industrial and commercial buildings and civil infrastructure in the United States and internationally. Richard H. Tatlow, III was president from 1945 to 1985, later joined on the Board of Directors by J. Stanley Nants Jr. and Richard H. Tatlow, IV. Among Abbott Merkt's most prominent commissions were major terminal and support facilities for Pan American World Airways at John F. Kennedy Airport and for American Airlines at Newark International Airport; department stores and merchandise warehouses across the country for such clients as Macy's, Saks and Company, Hecht's, Bambergers, B. Altman, and J.C. Penny and Company; major bulk materials handling facilities for United Parcel Service and the United States Post Office; schools and commercial centers in France, Mexico, The Netherlands, Syria and Saudi Arabia; and for parking structures across the East Coast. Abbott, Merkt, beginning, in 1951, was also partnered with the New York architectural firm Kahn & Jacobs, later bought by the St. Louis-based architecture firm HOK, on variety of airport-related projects. Ceasing operations in 1985, Abbott Merkt Architects, Inc. was acquired in 1987 by a subsidiary of the Los Angeles-based architecture and engineering firm Daniel Mann Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM).

Richard H. Tatlow, III (1906-1993)

Tatlow was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1906 and received his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado in 1927 and his master's degree in engineering in 1933. In 1927, Tatlow was hired by the United States Bureau of Public Roads to assist in designing bridges and roads throughout the United States. Joining the Kansas City, Missouri, engineering firm of Harrington and Cortelyou in 1929, Tatlow was named partner with John Lyle Harrington in 1935. In 1940, Tatlow was commission to the United States War Department as a Lieutenant Colonel, serving on the department's Construction Advisory Board. He was eventually named Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for the supervision of new facilities and the implementation o statistical quality control. In 1945, Tatlow joined Abbott Merkt & Company as president and member of the Board of Directors, eventually becoming chairman of the board. Throughout his career, Tatlow authored numerous articles and reports on a variety of engineering and management topics, including merchandise distribution, bridge engineering, shopping center design, and transportation planning. He was an active member of the Construction Industry Advisory Council of the United States Chamber of Commerce; the Engineering Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences; and the National Academy of Engineering. Tatlow was also president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1968. Tatlow retired from Abbott, Merkt and Company in 1985, and died in Scarsdale, New York, in 1993.

Acquisition information:
Source of acquisition--This collection was a gift from Richard H. Tatlow, IV. Date of acquisition--1999.
Processing information:

This collection was processed by Iciar Lucena, under the direction of Annemarie van Roessel, Mellon Archivist, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives, in 2005-2006.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Indexed Terms

Airport buildings -- New Jersey
Airport buildings -- New York (State) -- New York
Architecture -- United States -- Designs and plans
Shopping centers -- United States
Stores, Retail -- United States
Parking garages -- United States
Warehouses -- United States
Architects -- United States
Architecture -- New York (State) -- New York
Carbon typescript papers
Holograph papers
Printing paper
Photographic prints
Film negatives
Photographic transparencies
Architectural reprographic prints
Mixed media works
Kahn & Jacobs
Morganelli, Heumann & Rudd
Oliver/Breyer Design Associates
Harrington & Cortelyou
Raymond Loewy Associates
Copeland, Novak & Israel
United States. Bureau of Public Roads
United States. Public Works Administration
United States. War Department
Abbott, Merkt and Company
Abraham & Straus
B. Altman & Co
B. Gertz, Inc
Bamberger's (Firm)
Bloomingdale's (Firm)
G. Fox & Co.
Gimbel Brothers
Hecht Company
John Wanamaker (Firm)
Lord & Taylor
Macy's (Firm)
Saks & Company (New York, N.Y.)
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Sinclair and Valentine Company
Strawbridge & Clothier
Woodward & Lothrop
Newark International Airport
United Parcel Service
Western Union Telegraph Company
United States Postal Service
John F. Kennedy International Airport
Pan American World Airways, Inc
Garden State Plaza (Paramus, N.J.)
Monmouth Shopping Center (Eatontown, N.J.)
Willowbrook Shopping Center (Wayne, N.J.)
Landmark Shopping Center (Alexandria, Va.)
Amiaga, Gil
Stoller, Ezra
Schwartzman, Daniel
Garland, Roger
Ashley, Edward Everett, 1906-
Robertson, Edwin L
Le Maire, Eleanor



This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email


Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose. For additional guidance on restrictions and permissions see Columbia University Libraries Publication and Digital Reproduction Policy and Procedures. (


Abbott, Merkt and Company records, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

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