University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

William Hersey and John Kyrk collection,


Collection Summary

Creator Hersey, William P., 1940-1989, and Kyrk, John, 1938-
Title William Hersey and John Kyrk collection
Dates 1970s-1980s
Abstract William P. (Bill) Hersey and John Kyrk worked together as architectural illustrators from the early 1970s until Hersey's death in 1989. Based in California, the two traveled across the United States, often in a Volkswagen bus they operated as a mobile studio, producing contracted renderings for architects, firms, and developers. In addition to over 700 of those drawings, the collection includes other visual material like travel sketches and botanical illustrations, fliers, rubbings, and wood engravings as well as manuscript ephemera such as diary snippets, printed parables, and poetry, all evidence of a rich and varied professional and artistic partnership that endured for nearly two decades.
Identification HK 2015004
Quantity 0.4 linear feet of manuscript material, 783 sheets of architectural illustrations and sketches
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of William Hersey and John Kyrk

William P. (Bill) Hersey was a writer, teacher, photographer, and illustrator who earned wide professional acclaim in the 1970s and 1980s working, in partnership with John Kyrk, as a renderer for William Turnbull, Jr., Robert A. M. Stern, Charles W. Moore, and the Urban Innovations Group, among other architects, firms, and developers in the United States. Hersey, born in Boston in 1940, received undergraduate and master's degrees in architecture from Princeton University (1963) and Yale University (1967), where he studied under Moore, while Kyrk, born in the Catskills of New York in 1938, pursued architecture at Syracuse University as an undergraduate and received a master's in biology from Harvard University (1967), afterwards working as a botanical illustrator.

Hersey and Kyrk met in Massachusetts in 1965, and by the early 1970s both had moved to California. There they began a nearly two-decade artistic and professional collaboration rooted in shared passions for traditional crafts, science, and the natural world. As contracted freelancers, the two journeyed coast to coast across the United States making architectural illustrations, often traveling in a Volkswagen bus transformed into a mobile studio with a cooking stove and printing press. In a diary entry, Hersey explained, "I convert the architectural notions and designs of my clients into perspective drawings which are used to explain the design to the public, to other clients, bankers, etc." In 1989, Hersey suffered a fatal heart attack while working on a drawing. Since then, John Kyrk, who lives in San Francisco and is also a pianist, dancer, and printmaker, has produced and published a series of computer animations of cell biology.

Scope and Content of the collection

The William Hersey and John Kyrk collection documents their joint professional work as renderers during the 1970s and 1980s for architects, firms, and developers around the United States. Included are over 700 sheets of perspective sketches, design studies, and presentation drawings done in ink, pencil, or watercolor on trace paper, mylar, or other media. A box of manuscript and typescript material contains some business-related correspondence though it primarily comprises diary snippets, poetry, illustrated musical scores, calendars, lettering, engravings, orinthological and botanical illustrations, exhibit announcements and fliers, and other unrelated artistic output from both Hersey and Kyrk.


Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives’ reference staff for further information.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasions of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person).

The Alexander Architectural Archives operate in accordance with applicable federal or state laws and regulations, providing unrestricted access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

The Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas Libraries, and The University of Texas at Austin, assume no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyright or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that results from a researcher’s use of collections.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless The University of Texas at Austin, and their officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries. Please alert staff if anything inappropriate is found during research.

Copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to the University of Texas. Researchers assume full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Additionally, the public use of material must be cited. See citation information below.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings:


Hersey, William P., 1940-1989
Kyrk, John, 1938-
Moore, Charles Willard, 1925-1993
Stern, Robert A. M.
Turnbull, William, Jr., 1935-1997


August Perez & Associates
Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, and Whitaker
Moore, Ruble, Yudell, Architects & Planners
Princeton University. School of Architecture
University of California, Los Angeles. School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Urban Innovations Group
Yale University. School of Architecture


Architectural drawing
Architectural manifestos
Architectural practice
Architectural rendering
Artistic collaboration

Document types:

Allegorical drawings
Architectural drawings
Botanical illustrations
Contract drawings
Contract negotiations
Design drawings
Graphic design drawings
Greeting cards
Ink drawings
Letterpress works
Measured drawings
Musical notation
Ornithological illustrations
Pastels (Visual works)
Promotional materials
Relief prints
Scientific illustrations
Travel sketches
Visiting cards
Wood engravings

Related Material

The Charles W. Moore Archives: Project records, 1965-1992, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin


A folder of Bill Hersey correspondence is in the William Turnbull, Jr./MLTW Collection, 1959-1997, at the Environmental Design Archives at the University of California, Berkeley


Administrative Information


William Hersey and John Kyrk collection, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Drawings processed by: Nathan Sheppard, spring 2015, and Anthony Vannette, spring and summer 2016

Papers processed by: Tim Kindseth, summer 2016

Processing is not completed. Please see Archives' staff for more information.

References to works by or about William Hersey and John Kyrk

Bloomer, Kent C., and Charles W. Moore. Body, Memory, and Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.

Johnson, Eugene J., ed. Charles Moore: Buildings and Projects, 1949-1986. New York: Rizzoli, 1986.

Kyrk, John. "Drawings for Architects." Accessed September 1, 2016.

"Memorial: William Prescott Hersey '63," Princeton Alumni Weekly. Accessed September 1, 2016.'63

Phelps, Barton. "Bill Hersey (1940-1989)." L.A. Architect (June 1989): 4.

Raven, Peter H., and Helena Curtis. Biology of Plants. New York: Worth Publishers, 1970.

Sheppard, Nathan. "'To Design = To Draw = To Make Architecture'," Battle Hall Highlights (blog), The University of Texas at Austin Architecture and Planning Library, April 17, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2016.

Vannette, Anthony. "Tracking the Hersey and Kyrk VW Bus," Battle Hall Highlights (blog), The University of Texas at Austin Architecture and Planning Library, August 5, 2016. Accessed September 1, 2016.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Processing is not completed. Please see Archives' staff for more information.

Series A: Drawings, 1972-1988, undated

Series Abstract
This series comprises more than 700 sheets of perspective sketches, design studies, and presentation drawings done in ink, pencil, or watercolor on trace paper, mylar, or other media for a variety of clients, mostly within the United States. An electronic spreadsheet index created by the Alexander Architectural Archives in 2016 is available in two formats as an access tool to assist staff and patrons who wish to locate drawings of buildings and other projects and sites. Click to download either an Excel or PDF version of the inventory. Please contact Archives' staff if you have additional questions.

Series B: Papers, 1970s-1980s
(0.4 linear feet)

Series Abstract
An inventory of the box of manuscript and typescript material within the William Hersey and John Kyrk collection has not been completed. Please contact Archives' staff for more information.