Skip to main content

Louis Lott Architecture Negatives (SC-381)

Identifier: SC-381

Content Description

The collection consists of approximately 632 film negatives depicting houses, buildings, churches, historic sites, and architectural details in the United States and Europe. These have been arranged geographically to the best of the archivist's ability to determine. Most dates are taken from the original developing envelopes.

Series I, United States, is subdivided into Subseries I-A: Dayton (or Likely Dayton) and Subseries I-B: Other. The Dayton subseries includes downtown and river scenes, as well as many houses, few of which are identified. At least a few "Schantz houses" (Schantz Park in Oakwood) are included. The Dayton subseries dates probably between 1911 (when Lott returned to Dayton from studying in Paris) until 1921. Subseries I-B: Other contains scenes from a few additional identifiable locations in the United States, including St. Louis and Kansas City; Henry Clay's Ashland estate in Lexington, Kentucky; the Kanawha valley in West Virginia; and California, with dated items ranging from 1917-1921 and others probably from 1915 to 1921.

Series II: Europe, is subdivided according to country, including Greece, Italy (and within that by region: Campania and Sicily), Germany, and England. None of these photos are dated, but they are estimated to be from perhaps as early as the 1909-1911 period when Lott studied in Paris and perhaps as late as 1921 (the latest date found elsewhere in the collection). This series in particular is notable for its images of historical structures and architecture, particularly Greek and Roman styles. Many of the locations were taken from handwritten notations on the original envelopes (many of which are retained in the collection); however, none of the envelopes for the England subseries were labeled, though all were in London-area photo developer envelopes.

Series III: Unidentified consists of similar scenes as the previous two series (houses, churches, and other buildings) but with no way to identify the location. It is likely that many are from Europe, and some may be from the United States (perhaps even Dayton), as well. Some had numeric codes written on the envelopes and nothing else, and these codes have been retained in the description. Items in this series are also assumed to date between as early as 1909 and as late as 1921.

Original enclosures with added information, such as developer envelopes, were also retained in the collection, filed alongside the relevant set of negatives.


  • Creation: circa 1909-1921


Conditions Governing Access

The collection has been digitized. Researchers must use the digital images in lieu of the negatives.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Louis John Paul Lott was born July 9, 1872, in Dayton, Ohio, to George and Louisa (Roth) Lott. He studied architecture in Cologne, Germany; Munich Polytechnicum; and Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris. He practiced architecture in Dayton, 1901-1904; New York City, 1904-1909; studied in Paris, 1909-1911; and returned to Dayton in 1911. In addition to his architecture career, he served on the Dayton City Planning Board (1914-1921), taught at the Dayton Art Institute, and was a member of the American Institute of Architects, Nomad Club, Torch Club, Civic Music League, Engineers Club of Dayton, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. He is perhaps best remembered as the "master architect" of Schantz Park neighborhood in Oakwood, where he designed no less than 16 homes. Lott never married. He resided at 208 Salem Avenue, and his office was in downtown Dayton.

Louis Lott died November 5, 1934, at his home in Dayton, following a brief illness of hypostatic pneumonia. Funeral arrangements were handled by Boyer's and the funeral itself was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church. To give some insight as to his standing in the community, here is the list of pall bearers, as reported in the Dayton Herald (Nov 7, 1934, page 28): Siegfried R. Weng and R. G. Corwin (of the Dayton Art Institute); Ellason R. Smith and Harry I. Schenck (architects); Adam Schantz, George B. Smith, William G. Frizell, Louis J. Baller, J. A. Reid, Arthur Seiferman, E. M. Thacker, J. R. Woodhull, W. S. McConnaughey, G. J. Capliski, and M. M. Goldberg. Lott was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

Another article printed in the Dayton Daily News (Nov. 6, 1934, p. 10) read as follows: "Louis Lott was one of Dayton's most pungent personalities. His energetic figure, his bearded face and his emphatic voice were familiar to a community which had many reasons to regard him as its friend. He was artist and architect to his finger tips and then he was much more. He was a lover of his city and its environment, and to it he gave a devoation limited only by his strength. His mind ran constantly to plans for the beautification and better ordering of his city. He spent heavily of his time in considering plans for a community center. In the recurring times when efforts arose to deprive the city of its priceless treasure, the old courthouse, he was always active in the defense. One of the most interesting of plans for treating the courthouse corner, an office building enveloping the old temple as it stands, was of his imagining. He was the true artist. Music, painting, architecture, and literature appealed to him much alike. He had with his friendly spirit a provacative mind and nothing of interest and value to his community was foreign to him. By his death Dayton loses a rare personality, a most loyal friend."


0.66 linear feet (632 film negatives)

Language of Materials




Greek, Ancient (to 1453)




The collection consists of approximately 632 film negatives depicting houses, buildings, churches, historic sites, and architectural details in the United States and Europe.


The collection is arranged in three series, geographically:

  1. Series I: United States
  2. Series II: Europe
  3. Series III: Unidentified

Custodial History

Louis Lott was an instructor at the Dayton Art Institute for many years, and upon his death in 1934, Mr. Lott's entire architectural library (including these negatives) was transferred to the Dayton Art Institute Library. Only the 632 film negatives in this collection were donated to Wright State University Libraries from the Lott Architectural collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Louis Lott Architecture Negatives were donated to Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives by the Dayton Art Institute in April 2022.

Existence and Location of Copies

SELECTIONS AVAILABLE for ONLINE VIEWING: including all of the Dayton area photos (Series I-A) and selected European travel photos (Series II). View these images online in CORE Scholar, Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository:

Existence and Location of Copies

All negatives in this collection have been digitized and saved as high resolution (1000 ppi) TIF image files. (A selection are available for self-service viewing online.)

Related Materials

MS-643: Hirsch-Smith Architectural Collection includes a small number of items created by Louis Lott.

MS-45: Five Rivers MetroParks Records includes original (1930) architectural drawings by Louis Lott for the Leland Center.

Louis Lott's Architectural Library was retained by the Dayton Art Institute.

Condition Description

Most if not all of the negatives are likely cellulose nitrate, though most appear to be in relatively good condition.

Processing Information

Each set of negatives was removed from its original envelope and placed in a new archival 5.5" x 7.5" envelope (with the set being maintained together). If the pre-existing envelope was an original developing envelope, this was also retained, placed inside a smaller acid-free paper enclosure and that enclosure inserted into the same 5.5" x 7.5" envelope with the negatives (the piece of acid-free paper serving as a barrier between the film and the acidic developer envelope.) Any original enclosure with added information was also treated in this way, even if it was not the developing envelope. Original enclosures with no additional information beyond the name of the city/location were not retained in the collection.

Guide to the Louis Lott Architecture Negatives (SC-381)
Lisa Rickey
2022 July 28
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA