This digital collection represents a portion of the work of architect Edwin A. Gibson, the first African-American architect registered in the state of Indiana. The collection contains papers related to his education at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Ind., and the University of Illinois, architectural drawings from his private architecture practice in Indianapolis, awards, and photographs of Gibson from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Edwin Gibson (1925-2011) was a man of many firsts–not only was he the first African-American architect registered in the state of Indiana, but he was also the first African-American architect to hold the position of Indiana's State Architect and the first African-American architect to have his own architectural firm in Indiana. Gibson overcame many obstacles to become successful and was generous in offering advice and helping younger architects achieve similar success.
His long career, which spanned from 1945 to 2002 included work in both the public and private sectors. He started at the venerable A. M. Strauss Associates, Inc., a Fort Wayne architecture firm, where he became a partner and treasurer in the firm. He later moved to Indianapolis to start his own firm. Some of the buildings he designed or renovated were located at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Evansville State Hospital, Central Elementary in Plainfield, Broad Ripple Library, renovations at Central Library in Indianapolis, IUPUI, IU Bloomington, including renovation of Ernie Pyle Hall, Hudnut Plaza and other HUD projects throughout Indiana.
When Gibson closed his private practice in 1987 to work exclusively for Methodist Hospital, most of the drawings in his office were discarded and those in this archival collection are the few examples of his work that remain. Shortly after Gibson's death in 2011, his family gave an additional donation of photographs and papers, including his Master of Science thesis, awards, and certificates. The family also donated Gibson's personal tape measure engraved with his initials, which can be viewed in the digital collection.
Drawings and Documents Archive