Sketch of Hotel Nutibara

The Home Front: Columbia, a Country on the Uptake

Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1941

"I've been talking with Paul Williams, the Negro architect, and he told me about Colombia, a country which is on the uptake ... Mr. Williams actually has BEEN there ... the new thing about Colombia is that it is building a big city hotel, office buildings, clubs, homes ... all along the most advanced style ... A commission was sent to the States to study the hotel architecture ... When the commission reached Los Angeles, it was so enchanted ... it decided right then and there ... that this was the spirit it wanted. Mr. Williams got the job ... The selection of Mr. Williams to do the job was a nice compliment to Los Angeles."

The image of Hotel Nutibara is a rendering by R. Lockwood for Williams' office to present to the Colombian clients. This photograph is from The Huntington Library Maynard L. Parker archives.

Williams in Home Show

"California Architecture" is the theme of the 1941 Los Angeles Home Show. Air, sunlight and space are important elements used to define this developing style. Photographs, sketches and models by architects Richard Neutra, R. M. Schindler, Cliff May, John Lautner, Lloyd Wright and Paul Williams are among those whose work best illustrate "California Architecture." (Los Angeles Times, Jan 19, 1941)

Lincoln University Honor

"Paul Williams, celebrated Los Angeles, Calif. architect, ... received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science at Lincoln University, Mo., June 10, 1941." (The Crisis, July 1941)

U.S. battleships damaged

War! Oahu Bombed by Japanese Planes

The Honolulu Star-Bullentin 1st Extra, December 7, 1941

In the first indication of an attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Cmdr. Logan Ramsey sends this message to all U.S. Navy Ships: "Air raid on Pearl Harbor [stop] This is no drill."

President Roosevelt signing the Declaration of war against Japan

War Must Be Fought On Two World Fronts

New York Times, December 14, 1941

"The most extensive and most devasting war in history began a new and fiercer chapter last week. Many smaller nations followed Japan and the United States into the swift-moving War of the Continents and by the week-end some 34 countries or dominions were at war, with only a handful of neutrals still clinging to a precarious non-belligerency."

Tile Is Sumptuous in Swimming Pools

Architect and Engineer, April, 1941

"Nothing is more beautiful than tiles, either plain or in designs seen through water. Clear green and blue colors make the water particularly attractive. Above is the corner of a pool at the home of Jay Paley at Beverly Hills, California of which Paul Williams is architect." 

Desk detail from House Beautiful

Elizabeth Gordon is editor of House Beautiful

Gracious living magazines are important influences on the 20th century American middle-class consumer. These publications help readers define and live the good life. They are consulted by those who have arrived and can afford an architect and decorator as well as those who only aspire to that life. Powerful editors determine the tone for each magazine and set aesthetic agendas. 

Though the circulation for House Beautiful (1896) is not the highest, editor Elizabeth Gordon is one of the most important advocates for an American life-style. Serving as editor from 1941-1964, Gordon's philosophy on anything and everything pertaining to the home is an important influence on consumer choice. Gordon guides her readers in evaluating, selecting and tastefully displaying the material elements of style according to percepts in monthy editorials. She encourages readers to embrace order and beauty to ensure the ideal family environment. Gordon believes living the ideal life means "not making mistakes in taste, not serving tasteless food, not blundering socially ... being open to new possibilities of choice." (Albert Roland. The Antioch Review Autumn, 1961)

Elizabeth Gordon uses photographic essays to illustrate her aesthetic philosophy. She selects American photographers, interior designers and architects to promote her vision to build "a compelling visual bridge between the forgotten past and the imagined future." (Jennifer A. Watts. Maynard L. Parker, 2012) In this image Gordon features a 1941 desk detail by the magazine's in-house decorator Dorothy Lambertson. In House Beautiful Gordon frequently features Paul Revere Willliams' homes designed for movie stars and wealthy clients as her trend setters.