The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera

Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum

5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware  19735

Telephone: 302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883






Creator:         Graff, Frederick, 1774-1847                                                  

Title:               Papers

Dates:             1798-1829

Call No.:         Col. 358

Acc. No.:        76x138, 81x119

Quantity:        13 items

Location:        3 H 12






Frederick Graff was an engineer and architect.  Born August 27, 1774, in Philadelphia, he was the son of Maria Shinkle and Jacob Graff, Jr., and the third in a line of American builders, contractors, and engineers.  In 1797, Graff began his apprenticeship, working with Benjamin Latrobe, as a draftsman for the Philadelphia waterworks erected at Centre Square; in 1805 he became superintendent.   When this system no longer served the increasing needs of the city, Graff was instrumental in the transfer of the waterworks to the Fairmount location.  Graff contributed to its success for the remainder of his life, remaining chief engineer until his death in 1847.  The Philadelphia waterworks was the first steam powered waterworks in the United States.  It was noted for its efficient hydraulic system developed by Graff with practically no data on which to base his calculations.  Graff designed the waterworks' neo-classical buildings as well as its machinery.


Frederick Graff was married to Judith Swyer.  Their son, Frederick Graff, Jr. (1817‑1890; his first name is often spelled Frederic), was his father’s successor at the waterworks.  The son entered the waterworks office in 1842 and became superintendent after this father’s death in 1847.  He promoted the extension of the Fairmount park to help protect the water quality of the Schuylkill River.  Between 1856 and 1867, Frederic worked at the Port Richmond Iron Works, but then returned to the waterworks.  He improved the systems over the years and improved the Fairmount park lands as well.  He served several civic organizations before his death in 1890.  He was married to Elizabeth Mathieu (born 1840). 





Most of the collection pertains to Frederick Graff the father.  It consists of a sketchbook done by Graff in 1798; nine drawings of house plans; a letter to Thomas Hale, chairman of the Watering Committee; and photographs and newspaper clippings pertaining to the Fairmount Waterworks in Philadelphia.  The sketchbook includes rules for proportioning balustrades, sketches for wheeled vehicles, a garden plan, neo-classical buildings, gates, and interior and exterior architectural details.  Many of the drawings can be traced to William Pain.


The nine drawings provide examples of Graff's work as a draftsman.  Included are the front elevation for the three story building, ground plan, plan of the principal story, plan of the second story, first floor joist plan, second floor joist plan, attic joist plan and roof elevation, roof framing, and elevation of the roof truss.  The illustrations were done in 1806 and might have been drawn for the Branch Bank, Norfolk, Virginia.


The newspaper clippings, photographs, and letter document Graff's work at the Fairmount Waterworks.  The photographs were taken by his son, Frederic, Jr.  In the letter, Graff protests the proposal to build a railroad bridge over the Schuylkill River for fear that the pilings could cause flooding to the pumping machinery at the waterworks.





The papers are arranged by subject.





76x138: purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Richard N. Clattenburg.

81x119: purchased from Bickerstaff's, Arlington, Virginia.





The accession was originally accompanied by fourteen reports on the Philadelphia water supply published from 1799 to 1824 and bound together.  The volume was from Graff's library and contains his notes and annotations.  The item is in the Rare Book Collection with the call no. TD225.P54.


See also Graff family papers, Col. 388.






            Graff, Frederick, 1817-1890.



            Fairmount Water Works (Philadelphia, Pa.)

            Architectural drawing.

            Architecture - Study and teaching.

            Architectural drawing - Detailing.

            Framing (Building)

            Dwellings - Designs and plans.

            Waterworks - Pennsylvania - Philadelphia.

            Neoclassicism (Architecture)



            Photographic prints.


            Architectural drawings.








Location: 3 H 12



[note: there is no 76x138.4]




76x138.l          "Fred Graff's Book 1798." 


            Includes:  rules for proportioning balustrades (note those at Philadelphia water works), engineering sketches (in pencil), a garden plan (for Fairmount gardens, which were designed by him?), neo-classical buildings, gates, and interior and exterior architectural details.  Many of the drawings can be traced to William Pain.


            The engineering pencil sketches, which appear to post-date the architectural drawings, might not be by Graff.


                        Pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor.


            The book is dated the year after Graff had begun his apprenticeship as a draftsman with the Philadelphia waterworks.



76x138.3         A photograph (probably 1872-1874) and newspaper clippings (20th century) regarding the Fairmount Waterworks that Graff designed and engineered. 


                        The photograph is mounted on a page indicating that it was from the personal papers of Frederick Graff, Jr.  Also attached to the page is note that the last wooden pipe was laid in 1832, and this note was probably written in 1884.  And also attached to this page is the address of Leo McDermott who was in charge of the aquarium at the old waterworks, apparently circa 1960.



81x119.           Letter (four pages) from Frederick Graff to Thomas Hale, chairman of the Watering Committee, December 26, 1829.  The letter protests the proposal to build a railroad bridge over the Schuylkill River because Graff feared the pilings could cause flooding of the pumping machinery at the water works.



76x138.5         Photograph of Fairmount Waterworks.  On reverse: "taken by F. Graff, Jr."  The photo was probably taken sometime between 1872-1874, and was probably taken at the same time as 76x138.3.


                        [The date range, supplied by a researcher, is based on work that was done between 1872-1874; a bridge which appears in the background of one of the photos was taken down in 1874.]



76x138.2a       Front elevation of a three story (actually, a raised basement and two stories), five-bay house with pedimented advancing central pavilion, hipped roof, belt courses, flat arches over windows, and round arches at the doors.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid paper.  Dimensioned.


76x138.2b       Ground plan for house (.2a). 

                        Spaces include a passage, two kitchens, two wood or coal cellars, a stairway, two closets, and three unidentified spaces.  1806?.  Labeled No. l.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.  Dimensioned.


                        Penciled inscription is smeared and difficult to read; “Va.” and “1806” can be read.



76x138.2c        Plan of principal story for house (.2a). 

            Symmetrical with central passage flanked by rectangular rooms with fireplaces.  The passage gives onto an apsical entrance to a large rectangular room flanked by two rectangular and two square rooms.  The spatial organization recalls Adamesque devices.  Labeled No. 2.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.  Dimensioned.



76x138.2d       Plan of the second story for house (.2a). 

                        Divided into a series of sleeping and dressing chambers, none of which are labeled.  A stairway is lightly penciled in one area.  Labeled No. 3.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.  Dimensioned.



76x138.2e       First floor joist plan for house (.2a).  Labeled No. 4.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.



76x138.2f        Second floor joist plan for house (.2a).  Labeled No. 5.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.



76x138.2g       Attic joist plan and elevation of roof truss for house (.2a). 

            The king posts, rafters, braces, joists, plates, and beams are dimensioned.  Chimney flues are indicated.  Labeled No. 6.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.



76x138.2h       Plan of roof framing for house (.2a).  Labeled No. 7.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.




76x138.2i        Elevation of roof truss for house (.2a). 

            The main beam, principal rafter, jack rafter, king post, and braces are identified; also illustrated are hip rafter and bevel of hip.  Labeled No. 8.


                        Pen and ink and watercolor on laid brown paper.