The Kirtland Kelsey Cutter papers span 4 linear feet and date from 1927 to 1998. The collection is composed of black-and-white
photographs of Southern Californian residences that Cutter designed, newspaper clippings and ephemera on Cutter that date
from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Cutter’s handbook on architectural practice dated 1928, architectural drawings (primarily
presentation drawings) as well as architectural reprographic copies.
Kirtland Kelsey Cutter was born in East Rockport, Ohio on August 20, 1860. At age 17, Cutter attended Brooks Military Academy.
After military school, Cutter enrolled in the Art Students’ League of New York, intent on being an illustrator. Following
art school, Kirtland Cutter traveled to Europe and studied art in Dresden and Florence. In 1886, Cutter moved back to the
United States to Spokane Washington, where he made the decision to practice architecture rather than pursue a career in art.
Cutter recruited John C. Poetz, a young draftsman who had just moved to Spokane from Los Angeles, to be his partner. After
fire destroyed most of downtown Spokane in 1889, Kirtland Cutter and his partner John C. Poetz helped to rebuild the city.
Notable buildings from this period include: First National Bank, Rookery Building, White House Store, Sherwood Building, and
Spokane Club. Work begun to pick up for Cutter after he had finished rebuilding downtown Spokane, and he began receiving residential
commissions in Seattle, Tacoma and Santa Barbara. In 1923, Cutter sold his practice to his longtime assistant Henry Bertelsen
and moved to California, where he set up a new firm in Long Beach. From 1923 through 1929 Cutter was in a partnership with
architect Jess Jones. In California, Cutter designed residences in Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills, and San Marino.
Kirtland Kelsey Cutter died September 26, 1939 at the age of 79 in Long Beach.