The largest, most exhaustive and fully documented visual record of architecture of the Lowland Maya area in the world has been donated to the General Libraries Alexander Architectural Archive at the University of Texas at Austin. The George F. and Geraldine D. Andrews Papers, donated by Mrs. Geraldine D. Andrews, represent the life work of Prof. George F. Andrews (1918-2000) of the University of Oregon, and his wife, Gerrie.
“The Andrews Papers– along with the recently acquired library of Prof. Linda Schele donated by her husband David – makes UT Austin one of the major locations in the world for the study of Maya architecture and culture,” said Harold Billings, director of General Libraries.
In the late 1950s, Prof. Andrews and his wife visited the Yucatan for the first time. For the next 40 years they were to devote their professional lives to the study and documentation of Maya architecture. This extended investigation produced the Andrews Papers, a modest name for a remarkable collection that includes an architectural data bank covering 850 buildings at 240 archaeological sites in the lowland Maya area.
The collection consists of three main components: (1) approximately 3,500 pages of descriptive data covering both exterior and interior architectural, decorative, and construction features; (2) more than 2,500 architectural drawings (sketches, maps, plans, sections, elevations, details, and restored views); and (3) several thousand photographs showing the buildings in their present form, which ranges from partly destroyed to substantially excavated and partly restored.
As Prof. Andrews noted shortly before his death,
“. . . perhaps the most important aspect [of what he referred to as the Architectural Data Bank] . . . is that the data from every building or site considered has been put into the same standardized form, making comparisons of individual buildings, building complexes, specific sites or entire regions relatively simple. For example, features such as base moldings, medial moldings, and cornice moldings can be compared at both inter-site and intra-site scales since the data for all sites is recorded in the same format and drawings have been made at the same scale. . . . anyone interested in Maya architecture from any point of view would find the data bank of considerable value as a basic research resource for comparative architectural studies, investigations of architectural details and construction techniques, or in making areawide studies of stylistic attributes, building forms, or site-level patterns of settlement.”
Prof. Andrews directed his first field project at the site of Comalcalco, Tabasco, Mexico, with the support of the Ford Foundation. He and his wife also served as members of the Sayil, Xculoc, and Xkipch archeological projects.
Prof. Andrews retired from full-time teaching in 1980 and devoted the next 20 years to full-time research and study of the Maya. He was the author of numerous monographs including Maya Cities: Placemaking and Urbanization (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975) and a three-volume collection of his important essays and studies entitled Pyramids and Palaces, Monsters and Masks (Lancaster, CA: Labyrinthos, 1993-1999).
The Andrews Papers are currently being inventoried in the Alexander Architectural Archive. For more information please contact Beth Dodd, Curator, Alexander Architectural Archive, or Nancy Sparrow, Curatorial Assistant, at (512) 495-4621. For general information on the Alexander Architectural Archive consult: http://drupal.lib.utexas.edu/apl/aaa