The Paul R. Williams Project began in early 2006 as an initiative of the Memphis chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in honor of the 150th anniversary of the AIA. The Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) was invited to collaborate and, with an active advisory committee of AIA members in and beyond Memphis, AMUM took on the task of developing and administering the project.  

Why would the AIA Memphis 150 Committee and AMUM focus on Paul R. Williams, an architect who was born in Los Angeles and whose career, though national and international, was largely realized in Southern California?

Memphis has an historical interest in Paul R. Williams. His parents, Chester Stanley Williams, Sr. and Lila A. Wright Williams were from Memphis, where Chester Williams worked at the famous Peabody Hotel, and where Paul’s brother, Chester, Jr., was born before the family moved to Los Angeles in 1893.   Decades later in 1960, Paul R. Williams contributed his design for the original building of Memphis’ renowned St. Jude Research Hospital for Children, which was the realized dream of his friend Danny Thomas.

The Paul R. Williams Project is dedicated to expanding public knowledge about this American architect, whose extraordinary accomplishment was achieved against a background of pervasive racism in a particularly exclusionary profession.  

AIA Memphis presented the Paul R. Williams project to the national organization, which sanctioned it as part of the AIA150 celebration in 2007 and 2008. This website is a product of the original project. 

The project encourages scholarship at all levels by providing a variety of on-line resources. These resources are available through most academic and public libraries or on the internet. A bibliographic monograph with short annotations and descriptions is available to download as a PDF. This monograph of approximately 1200 entries has been edited from a larger, more complete bibliography that is also available on the project website.  

The complete bibliography has 2200+ citations. This resource includes specific references to Paul R. Williams found in books, newspapers, scholarly, architectural and popular publications and ones that relate to the architectural and social contexts of his life and career. Citations are verified for accuracy. 

Please feel free to use any of the bibliographies according to the Creative Commons license and guidelines. The Creative Commons license allows the user to download a document and share it with others unchanged as long as the user credits Deborah W. Brackstone, Katherine Broome and the Paul Revere Williams Project at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.

The resources also include information about publicly accessible archives containing materials relating to Paul R. Williams.

See research Resources.