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Personal papers of Donald E. Hatch

Call Number: PP 272


This collection contains documentation regarding architectural works by Donald E. Hatch, mostly dating from his works in Caracas, Venezuela during the 1950s and San Francisco, California during the 1960s-1970s.


  • Creation: 1930s-1977 (bulk 1950s-1970s)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Donald E. Hatch (1918-1977)

Don Hatch earned his undergraduate degree in architectural engineering from the University of Kansas in 1930, gaining experience in the Glen H. Thomas office of Wichita. He continued his education in New York City at the New School for Social Research and at Columbia University. In 1932 he was one of 25 draftsmen selected in NYC to study housing conditions on the lower east side.

Hatch worked as a designer in the firm Hood and Fouilhoux in the early 1930s; Raymond Hood was the chief architect of the Rockefeller Center. In 1935, Hatch opened his own office in partnership with Landefeld, and immediately began receiving awards in architectural competitions, including first prize in General Electric's "Home Electric Competition." Thereafter Hatch designed several buildings for the 1939 New York World's Fair, including the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company's "House of Tomorrow" and the National Cash Register building. Hatch also designed several residences and estates in Bermuda.

Hatch served in the Marine Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel and serving in the Pacific. After the war, in 1948, Hatch moved to Caracas, Venezuela to serve as chief architect for the International Basic Economy Corporation, an organization that had been established by Nelson Rockefeller in 1947 to "upgrade" basic economic conditions in developing countries. Hatch opened his own architectural office in Caracas and designed several major commercial and public buildings, as well as private residences, including shopping and commercial centers in Venezuela and Peru for the International Basic Economy Corporation, buildings for the U.S. Rubber Company and National Cash Register Company, Mobil Oil Company's operations in Venezuela, and U.S. embassy buildings in both Port au Prince, Haiti and Caracas.

While working in Venezuela, Hatch opened the Galeria Don Hatch in Caracas, which served as an art center. The Galeria had exhibitions featuring a variety of art forms, including paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, and ceramics, with works by Venezuelan and foreign artists.

Hatch returned to the United States in 1959, moving to San Francisco, California and forming the partnership Hatch, White, Herman, and Steinau. Major works in this phase of Hatch's career included the Chico State College Union Building, the Administration Building for the University of California - Davis campus, and Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPA)'s offices in Union Square. Hatch continued to travel back and forth to Venezuela after moving to San Francisco.

Hatch had three children: Donald, Mary Helen, and Jennifer. He was married to Ruth (Kent) Hatch when he died in 1977 at the age of 59.

[Information retrieved from obituary written by Curtis Besinger available in the University of Kansas Archives' morgue file and from the New York Times obituary dated September 9, 1977.]


12.5 Linear Feet (13 boxes + 3 oversize boxes, 43 oversize folders, 6 sets of rolled drawings)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection contains records reflecting the architectural career of Donald Hatch. Records have been grouped into 5 series, including series for the Chico State College Union building program; the University of California - Davis Administration Building; Hatch's Caracas, Venezuela projects; office and administrative records from Hatch's Venezuela and U.S.-based offices; and records from projects Hatch undertook while operating in San Francisco, California.

Records related to the Chico State College Union Building make up a major portion of the collection, as do records from Hatch's operations in Venezuela. There is very little material from Hatch's early work while operating in New York City, or from his education at the University of Kansas. Oversize materials, including drawings, maps, display boards, and other items, are described with each series as appropriate.

Physical Location

PP 272

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Processing Information

This collection was minimally processed when it came to the University Archives. The collection was reprocessed by staff in the fall of 2020 to aid access to the collection. Some effort was made to group like materials more closely together, both physically and intellectually, but materials related to a particular project or topic may still be scattered across more than one box. Materials have also generally been described in more detail.

Guide to the Donald E. Hatch Collection
Personal papers of Donald E. Hatch
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2020, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Donald E. Hatch, University Archives, PP 272, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States