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Toombs, Amisano, and Wells Visual Materials

Identifier: DV006

  • Staff Only


The Toombs, Amisano, and Wells Visual Materials collection contains architectural drawings, sketches, renderings, slides, photos, and negatives related to the firm's various projects mostly located in the South, Mid-Atlantic, and East Coast.


  • ca. 1940-2002

Physical Description

(45 boxes, 9 oversized boxes, 10 flat file drawers, and 13 rolled sets)

Restrictions: Access

None. Restrictions may be imposed on access or use of materials that could compromise security or operations

Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


25.0 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The Toombs, Amisano, and Wells Visual Materials collection contains architectural drawings, sketches, renderings, slides, photos, and negatives related to the firm's various projects ca. 1940-2002. The earlier materials come from Henry Toombs or James Wells. Materials include conceptual projects or ideas submitted for design proposals as well as built projects. The materials were collected by Joseph Amisano so, in addition to projects designed by the firm of Toombs, Amisano, and Wells, many of the materials were generated individually by Amisano, including sketches, ideas, and studies, and a few personal photos.

The firm did work mostly across the South, Mid-Atlantic, and along the East Coast up into New York and Vermont, however there are a few international locations. When known, the project location is noted in parentheses. Toombs, Amisano, and Wells provided a wide range of design work from rural medical clinics and single family residences to community planning/redevelopment and large-scale commercial buildings.

This collection was processed only to the folder level. An attempt was made to identify the types of formats (slides, paper, architectural drawings, etc.) and the kinds of information documented (photographs, photos of building models, plans, renderings, etc.) for each folder.

The original order of the material was mostly well-organized, with slides and standard sized photographs in alphabetical order. Most of the architectural drawings were organized by set and identified. Oversized photographs, presentation boards, and other items were not organized. Additionally, there were sets of miscellaneous slides in trays and sleeves; these appeared to be items pulled for lectures, presentations, etc. that had not been refiled.

Biography of Toombs, Amisano, and Wells Visual Materials

Formed in about 1955, the Atlanta architectural firm of Toombs, Amisano, and Wells created numerous Atlanta landmarks of the 1960s through the 1980s, including the original Lenox Square shopping mall, Woodruff Memorial Arts Center, Peachtree Center MARTA station, Fernbank Science Center, and many other buildings. The architects were also responsible for a number of important buildings in other locations in the Southeast, such as science and laboratory buildings at the University of Georgia, the Omni International in Miami, and Norfolk Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia.

The founding member of the firm, Henry Johnston Toombs, was born in Cuthbert, Georgia on January 3, 1896. Toombs attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served in World War I before beginning a career in architecture. After receiving a B.S. (1921) and M.A. (1923) in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked briefly for the New York architectural firm of McKin, Mead, and White. In about 1926, he began independent work for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who eventually hired him to design and build the complex of buildings that was to become the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Toombs opened offices in Warm Springs and Atlanta in 1937. The partnership of Toombs and Creighton formed in 1946 and dissolved three years later. In 1949, Toombs formed Toombs and Company, which was soon to become Toombs and Wells. Joseph Amisano became a partner in the firm in 1955. Toombs died in 1967.

James Edwin Wells, who was born in Zebulon, Georgia, on September 23, 1908, was a 1930 graduate in Architecture at the Georgia School of Technology. In 1937, he joined Toombs' firm and continued to work there, except for a brief period during World War II, until his retirement in 1974.

Joseph Amisano was born January 10, 1917 in the Bronx, NY to parents Ernesto Amisano and Mariucia Ferraris Amisano. Amisano studied at the Pratt Institute, where he received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Architecture in 1940 and 1941, respectively. After graduating he worked in the Manhattan firms of Sanders and Breck, and Harrison, Abramowitz and Fouilhoux. In 1942 he also had the opportunity to take part in the airport development program of Pan American Airways, which took him to Panama and Brazil, where he first encountered the built work of Oscar Niemeyer. As a winner of the prestigious Rome Prize in 1950, Amisano spent two years studying architecture and traveling throughout Europe. In 1954, he joined the partnership of Toombs and Wells in Atlanta; he became a partner in the firm in the following year. The Lenox Square Shopping Center created by the firm, with its original open-air arcade, immediately became a major Atlanta landmark on its completion in 1959. The firm went on to design such notable buildings as the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia (1962), the Fernbank Science Center (1963-1965), the John Knox Church (1964-1965), the Federal Reserve Bank (early 1960s), the Peachtree Summit Building (1975-1978), Peachtree Center MARTA Station (1975-1982), Woodruff Library-Atlanta University Center (early 1980s), and the Second Church of Christ, Scientist (1984-1986). Amisano was married to Rosellen Amisano for 42 years. He died on April 12, 2008 after a long illness.


This collection is organized into categories that form 17 series. Project names are alphabetical within each series. Some projects may be listed under multiple names such as the original generic project name and the official name. Additionally, there may be some cross-over between series (such as projects listed in Housing and Community Development and Planning).

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available on request in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


Accession number: 2010.062.

Separated Materials note

The manuscript materials have been separated and are processed as DM006.

Physical Description

(45 boxes, 9 oversized boxes, 10 flat file drawers, and 13 rolled sets)

Processing Information

Mandi D. Johnson processed these visual materials in June 2015.

Inventory of Toombs, Amisano, and Wells Visual Materials DV006 DV006
Finding aid prepared by Mandi D. Johnson
Copyright June 2015.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Rlg Best Practice Guidelines For Encoded Archival Description And Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA