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William F. Cody Architecture Archives

Researching Modernist architect William F. Cody in Kennedy Library's Special Collections and Archives

The William F. Cody Papers at Cal Poly

Special Collections and Archives houses the personal and professional papers of Palm Springs architect William F. Cody.

Combined, the materials fill over 92 boxes, 69 flat files, and 29 tubes.

Types of materials include:

  • drawings of built and unrealized projects
  • correspondence with clients and colleagues
  • publicity files
  • photographs
  • examples of Cody’s student work

Searching the collections

Special Collections and Archives holds two collections of Cody’s work that when combined document Cody’s significant career. Many projects have materials in both collections, so it is recommended to search across both collections to find all relevant documents.

The two collections having "finding aids" or guides that are searchable through the Online Archive of California. You can search them separately at the following links:

William F. Cody Papers (MS 007)
William F. Cody Papers 2 (MS 163)

The collections were organized by archivists. Records related to projects are divided by type of record and format: publicity and public relations, presentation drawings, architectural drawings, project records (correspondence, project specifications, etc.), and photographs. Not all projects have all types of records.

Projects are identified with the following information, when known:

  • Client Name
  • project type
  • job #
  • Country Club (if applicable)
  • city, state
  • year of project (approximate)

FF stands for flat file, which indicates oversized drawings stored in folders. TUBE indicates oversized drawings (5 ft. or longer) rolled on tubes.

A flat file folder may contain between 1 to 15 items. A box folder may contain between 1 to 30 items. A tube can contain 1 to 2 items.

Digitized materials

We are digitizing materials from the collections on a regular basis.

You can browse what we've digitized here.

You can search within each collection:

You can search a specific client or project name, location, or keyword.


If you want to search both collections at the same time, here is a custom advanced search that will allow you to search both. 


You can check to see if a specific folder or item has been digitized by searching the image identifier number (a unique number for each item digitigized). The formatting of image identifiers is: MS#-SeriesLetter-SubseriesNumber-Box#-Folder#-imagenumber. To find images from one folder, for example:

007-3-e-20-01-* (adding an asterisk searches everything that includes that first string).


There are also digitized photos of Cody projects by Julius Shulman at the Getty. See below for how to search these photos.

Books and articles on William F. Cody

Other Archives

Other archives and museums also hold archives that relate to Cody's collections here at Cal Poly. 

The Getty's Julius Shulman Photography Archives have digital access to many of the projects Shulman photographed for Cody. You can search for these photos here on the Getty's Digital Collections on Primo.

The Palm Springs Historical Society has photos and other records of the Cody family. Learn more at their website.

The Palm Springs Art Museum has a Cody collection. See a list here:

Setting up an appointment

Set up an appointment to research the collections. 

  • Look at the Cody Papers finding aids and identify Boxes or Flat File Folders you would like to look at. You will give this list of materials to the archives and they will pull the material before your visit. 
  • When requesting materials, it is important to track the collection title or manuscript number (MS 007 or MS 163) to differentiate between them. For example, there is a Box 1 in MS 007 AND MS 163.
  • Email or call Special Collections to set up an appointment and request these materials. We are open M-F, 9am-4pm.
    • 805-756-2305

During your research appointment you will:

  • Complete a researcher registration form (first visit only)
  • Leave all your belongings in the cubbies. You may have in the reading room pencils, cameras, laptops, phones, or ipads. Staff will provide you with paper.
  • Look at one folder at a time. Keep materials in folder in order. 
  • Use care when handling materials. Ask staff for help with fragile or folded materials.
  • Oversized drawings will require assistance from staff
  • If you take photos, make sure to record the location of the item