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John Lee papers

Call Number: RH MS 1428


This collection contains drawings and designs done by John Lee during his time as a practicing architect, materials that relate to his time teaching at the University of Kansas, and his involvement in building restoration around downtown Lawrence, Kansas, particularly his involvment in the restoration of the Union Pacific Depot. This collection also includes materials from his bicycling hobby and influence in a cycling club on KU's campus.


  • Creation: 1989 - 1996


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 John Lee

Born in 1945 and originally from St. Louis, Missouri, John Lee attended Washinton University, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Kansas to study architecture. At the University of Kansas, Lee became very involved in the cycling community on campus and around Lawrence, taking on leadership roles, designing logos, and organizing races.

John Lee became a Lawrence, Kansas resident in 1970, opening his own architectural practice called John Lee and Associates, which from 1978-1993 was called Patterson, Theis, and Lee Architectural Firm. As a practicing architect in Lawrence, Lee worked on several high profile community projects, including the Union Pacific Depot and the Prairie Park Nature Center, as well as numerous residential housing projects.

In the early 1980s, Lee became an instructor in the School of Architecture at the University of Kansas and taught there until his death in 1997.

Lee was recognized by the Kansas Preservation Alliance in 1992 for his firm's design of the Free State Brewery in Lawrence, the first licensed brewery to open in Kansas after the repeal of prohibition. He also collaborated with local historian Katie Armitage and the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art to produce a second edition of 19th Century Homes in Lawrence, Kansas in 1991.


17 Linear Feet (17 boxes + 1 oversize box, 102 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection focuses on Lee's architectural career, consisting of architectural drawings and sketches, project plans, proposals, incoming and outgoing correspondence, specifications, contracts and financial recordkeeping, and other records related to construction, renovation, rehabilitation, and other architectural projects in which Lee was involved.

While many of these projects took place in Lawrence, Kansas--including in downtown Lawrence, with the University of Kansas, and for the restoration of the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence--Lee also worked elsewhere in the region, particularly in northeastern Kansas and western Missouri. Lee worked on both commercial and residential projects. An extensive collection of architectural drawings related to many of these projects is located at RH AD 11; additional oversize materials have been physically separated and are located at RH MS R425.

There is also some materially generally related to Lee's career, not to specific projects, as well as some materials from his teaching duties at the University of Kansas. Additionally the collection includes some materials related to Lee's personal life, including correspondence and particularly records related to his cycling hobby.

Spencer Research Library processing staff have kept the collection in much the original order in which it came but have intellectually organized through this finding aid materials related to each other, such as grouping commercial architectural projects together versus residential projects or University of Kansas-related materials.

Physical Location

RH MS 1428

Physical Location

RH AD 11

Physical Location

RH MS R425

Physical Location

RH MF 195

Guide to the John Lee Collection
John Lee papers
Finding aid prepared by rmk, 2017. Finding aid encoded by rmk, 2017. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
John Lee papers, RH MS 1428, 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