New Acquisitions in the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library: Adding to the Papers of Orin M. Bullock, Jr.

The University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives at Hornbake Library received a recent transfer from the Architecture Library of materials related to Orin M. Bullock, Jr.  Bullock, born in 1905 in California, graduated from the Harvard University School of Architecture in 1927.  From there, Bullock went on to have a career in architectural restoration that spanned sixty years.  He was one of the original team members on the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, participated in the restoration of the William Paca house and garden in Annapolis, and taught classes in the School of Architecture at the University of Maryland for many years.  An expert in his field of restoration technology, Bullock literally wrote the book on architectural restoration, The Restoration Manual, first published in 1966.


Image of Orin M. Bullock, Jr., c. 1981, Orin Bullock, Jr., papers, Special Collections and University Archives, UMD

A large portion of the new materials are blueprints of various projects which Bullock worked on throughout his career.  The earliest include hand-drawn paintings of buildings of Harvard from Bullock’s graduate school days in the 1920s.  As these items are particularly fragile because of their age, they have been selected, with a few others, by the libraries’ preservation department to be sent to a vendor for repair.

small apartment house

Architectural Plans for a Small Apartment House with Two Artists’ Studios, c. 1926, Orin Bullock Jr. papers, Special Collections and University Archives, UMD

Bullock’s first major restoration project was working on the structures at Colonial Williamsburg during the 1930s, as can be seen in one of the blueprints for a house that Bullock helped restore, the Benjamin Waller House.  Benjamin Waller was a prominent lawyer in colonial Virginia, where he later became a judge.  After Waller’s death in 1786, the house continued to be lived in by his grandson and his wife, the daughter of President John Tyler.  But, by the 1930s, the house needed Bullock’s careful restorative efforts.

The rest of the blueprints focus on Bullock’s work in the 1960s and 1970s.  Many of the buildings depicted are located nearby in Annapolis, where Bullock played a large part in ensuring the restoration of Historic Annapolis.  The most famous of these buildings is the William Paca House and Garden.  William Paca was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the third governor of Maryland.  His house was in danger of being torn down and replaced with a high-raise.  Bullock worked on restoring the Spring House and garden portion of the house, which had been covered with asphalt.  Using archaeological research, he was able to restore the garden and Spring House to their original scheme.  Other buildings in Annapolis that we now have blueprints for include Middleton’s Tavern, the Slicer-Shiplap House, 43 Pinkney Street, and 77-79 Main Street.

While blueprints are the largest part of this acquisition, also included are a number of Bullock’s journals.  Unfortunately, the majority of these newly-acquired journals had been long ago damaged by water and mold.  Consequently, they have also been sent by our preservation department to be cleaned.  The journals contain Bullock’s work notes, including information about individuals he met in the course of his professional work, cost analyses of projects, and even some hand-drawn sketches related to some projects.  Dating from 1940 to 1960, these journals are an excellent source of information about Bullock’s work life.

This acquisition also features Bullock’s architectural tools.  The most exciting of these is his collection of cameras.  The earliest is a 1932 motion picture camera.  It comes with its own case, but unfortunately no homemade films were discovered.  There are also four other cameras in the collection, all dating to the 1950s and 1960s.  In addition, there is also a projector that comes in its own box.  Besides these, Bullock also left a number of office tools like contour gages, stamps, three sided rulers, measuring triangles, and the various parts of a woodworker’s plane.  There was also included Bullock’s woodblock printing set, along with some woodblocks that he appeared to have used to print unique Christmas cards.

While the various accessions remain unprocessed, inventories allow researchers in the Maryland Room to access both these new materials and other materials from the life and work of Orin Bullock, Jr. (

Harrison Gage is a first year MLIS student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. She works in the State of Maryland and Historical Collections at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives.

“Benjamin Waller,” Colonial Williamsburg, History, Online Resources. Retrieved from
Rasmussen, Fred. (1994, December 11). “Orin M. Bullock Jr., 88, pioneer in restoration”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from
Townsend, Emily. (1986). Life Work of Orin M. Bullock, Jr.: Sixty Years of Historic Preservation. School of Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.


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