Category Archives: Professional Papers

Early Tafel Residences

Tafel was an apprentice at Taliesin from 1932 to 1941, after which he began his own architectural practice. There is evidence of a few of Tafel’s early residential projects from the early 1950s in the archive which survive in the slides, photographs, and in some files and drawings. In his early career Tafel’s office was in his home at 14 East 11th Street. In the 60s and 70s he moved his office to 74 5th Avenue, until later relocating to his home again. It is possible that Tafel’s drawings for his early residences were discarded or lost during a move.

The following is a sample of photographs of early Tafel residences. In some cases I have provided more information found on websites.

Haut Residence (1949), 305 Shore Road, Greenwich, Connecticut

Haut Residence:
Photographer: Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc.

Mudge Residence (1950), Bedford Village, New York

Mudge Residence: Edgar Tafel Archive
Photographer: Lionel Freedman

Mrs. Harold Stark Residence (1949), Weaver Street and Dante Road, Larchmont, New York

Stark Residence:
Photographer: Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc.

Jacob L. Alpern Residence (1950), 8 Overlook Road, Scarsdale, New York

Click here for a 1950 newspaper article containing Tafel’s drawings for the Alpern Residence.

Alpern Residence: Edgar Tafel Archive
Photographer: Lionel Freedman

The Alpern Residence later belonged to Lawrence Ottinger, and appears in this picture to have been renovated.
Alpern / Ottinger Residence:
Photographer: unknown

Frederick Greenberg Residence (1951), Sawmill Hill Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut

Greenberg Residence:
Photographer: Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc.


More Sources:


The Louis H. and Marie Hamilton Residence (1949) in Racine, Wisconsin, was designed by Tafel and named a historic place by Preservation Racine.

The Library of Congress also contains some Edgar Tafel project images.

Unintentional Preservation

Alongside documenting the activities of its creator, a fonds (a collection of records that originate from the same creator or source) will unintentionally preserve artifacts from another time. This is fascinating because an artifact can also provide a history of the particular period of time in which it was made and used. Today’s post reveals how the Tafel archive documents a piece of the history of the New York City subway.

In this case, I found a New York City subway token – fascinating to me because as I am not a native New Yorker, I have never seen one. Every city’s subway system is different however, some still even using tokens to this day. And having lived in a few different urban cities and being able to compare their subway systems, opinionated conversations about which subway system is the most efficient intrigue and amuse me.

The token is glued to a card made by Tafel’s employees on the occasion when Tafel became a Fellow of the AIA in 1986. Perhaps in the context of Tafel’s elevation to being a Fellow including the token in the card was to evoke the line: ‘that and a subway token will get you downtown’?

This particular type of subway token was in use from 1980-86 (see others here). Subway tokens in New York went out of commission in 2003. An interesting piece of subway memorabilia in the archive!