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  • Property Wall Construction, 1/1/1920. Construction Photograph. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives is home to almost 100 photograph, manuscript and architectural drawing and blueprint collections documenting the life of James Deering and the design and construction of the Vizcaya Estate, including the Main House, gardens, Village and south property before it was sold. The collections provide insight into the challenges associated with building an Italianate villa with all the modern conveniences of the early 20th century in a subtropical climate during the Gilded Age and World War I.

In our manuscript collections, correspondents include James Deering, Paul Chalfin, F. Burrall Hoffman, Diego Suarez, Phineas Paist, William Jennings Bryan, Elsie de Wolfe, Carl Fisher, Ralph Munroe and John Singer Sargent. Photograph collections include images by Mattie Edwards Hewitt, Alice Wood, F. Geisler, Richard Trowbridge, and Richard B. Hoit. Four thousand architectural drawings and blueprints cover every aspect of Vizcaya from elevations of the Main House to soap dishes and everything in between, most of which are available electronically to on-site researchers.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives is open to researchers by advance appointment only. Two time slots are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 1 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. A researcher application form must be filled out for every research project undertaken. Please send requests for appointments and application forms to archives@vizcaya.org.

We offer remote reference, which is research facilitated by museum staff via email. Remote reference is capped at 30 minutes per inquiry and the default turnaround time for an initial response is two weeks. There is no fee for this service. Send requests to archives@vizcaya.org.

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