Arthur Ernst Koelle Papers Now Available

“Das Volkerschlacht Denkmal in Leipzig,” June 2, 1926. A Sketch by Arthur Koelle from the Washington University Libraries Arthur Ernest Koelle Papers, Series Two Folder 2.

Thanks to the generosity of his daughters Susan Koelle Bell and Anne Koelle McCann, Washington University Libraries have recently acquired the papers of Arthur Ernst Koelle.

Arthur Koelle was a St. Louis native, born in the city on June 27, 1901. In 1923, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Architecture and completed his Masters of Architecture a year later. After graduating, he served as partner in the architecture firm of Rathmann, Koelle and Carroll, which designed many office buildings throughout St. Louis. He was also the president of St. Louis chapter of the American Institute of Architects from 1949-1950.

The Arthur Ernst Koelle Papers primarily consists of correspondence between Koelle and his family during his travels through France, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Scotland in 1925-1926. Also included are two architectural sketchbooks, oversized sketches, and photographs Koelle created or took during his travels. The two beautiful sketches of German architecture included in this post were drawn by Koelle when he was in Europe.

A sketch of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig, Germany, June 1, 1926. From the Washington University Libraries Arthur Ernest Koelle Papers, Series Two, Folder 3.

Another interesting component of the papers are a small number of photographs of the St. Louis Veiled Prophet Ball dais during the 1950s-1960s. The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Ball was an annual St. Louis event put on every December by members of a secret society of cultural elites. It was often vilified by labor unions and other working class institutions.The celebration had a history of banning African Americans and Jews from participating, and in the late 60s it became a site of Civil Rights protests.

The finding aid for the Arthur Koelle collection with a list of its full contents can be found here.

About the author

Rose is a PhD candidate in English and American Literature at Washington University in St Louis. Her focus is on 20th and 21st century American literature and disability studies.