APT Building Technology Heritage Library

The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is primarily a collection of architectural trade catalogs, house plan books, and technical building guides. Trade catalogs are an important primary source to document past design and construction practices. These materials can aid in the preservation and conservation of older structures as well as other research goals. The BTHL is hosted by the Internet Archive as a free public access site for documents in the public domain.




BTHL 10th Anniversary Cover

A special publication marking the tenth anniversary of the APT Building Technology Heritage Library was released in Oct 2020.  This special publication recognizes the many people, collection partners, funding partners, and staff who have made this project possible.  When the APT team started this project in 2010 they had an original goal of 10,000 documents, which was achieved in 2018.  The BTHL now has 70,000+ viewers a month a continues to grow in content and user.  Thanks to all who made this happen.

BTHL Tenth Anniversary Publication 2020


As a part of this project, APT also assembled a Guide to Architectural Trade Catalog Collections in other libraries and archives.

BTHL History
The BTHL concept originated with Dean Koga, then APT’s website editor, in 2006. Dean was interested in adding more technical content to the APT website and Mike Jackson volunteered materials from his collection of architectural trade catalogs. A few documents were initially placed on the APT website, but it was quickly recognized that there were better ways to make these materials available on the Internet. By 2008, APT had identified potential contributing partners such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture but needed substantial funding to purchase equipment and manage the digitization process. Thanks to an initial grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation of Chicago, funding was in place to launch the BTHL. Scanning technicians and equipment were set up at the CCA archives in Montréal in the summer of 2010. The third major partner in the operation was the Internet Archive, which agreed to host the BTHL online. On September 3, 2010, the first documents were added to the BTHL.

To learn more about the BTHL, watch this video. If you are interested in contributing items to the BTHL collection or providing financial support for the project, please contact BTHL Chair Mike Jackson.

Collection Partners
APT is grateful to the collection partners who have shared their documents for the BTHL. This project is a collaboration in the best sense of the word, bringing together archives from various institutional and private collections to make the BTHL a comprehensive source of period architectural documents.

Institutional Collections

Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Tulane University, Southeast Architectural Archive, New Orleans, LA
Angelo State University, West Texas Collection, San Angelo, TX
International Masonry Institute
Avery Library, Columbia University
United States Gypsum Company

Private Collections

Robert Vail Cole, AIA
David Dickson Collection
James Draeger, Madison, WI
Klise Manufacturing Company
Greg Koos Collection, Bloomington, IL
Mary Jablonski, Jablonski Building Conservation, New York, NY
Mike Jackson, FAIA, Springfield, IL
Prof. Mile Lewis (Australia)
Floyd Mansberger, Fever River Research, Springfield, IL
Heather Plaza-Manning, Chicago, IL
Alan O’Bright, St. Louis, MO

Funding Partners

The BTHL would not have happened without the financial support of various philanthropic organization, public institutions and private individuals. Most of our major funding partners supported the BTHL for several different collections, which has helped us keep up a steady growth since the start of the project.

Association for Preservation Technology International
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Historic Preservation Education Foundation
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Estate of Robert Vail Cole, AIA
Vera Moore Foundation (Australia)

Articles by Mike Jackson - Traditional Building

BTHL's bi-monthly Blog for Traditional Building Magazine

Miles Lewis Collection Final Report