Samuel Bernhard Zisman (1908-1970)


Zisman, Samuel Bernhard

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 06/13/1908 – d. 03/25/1970
Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1950-decease

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Samuel Bernard Zisman (1908-1970) was born in Boston on June 13, 1908 to Russian Jewish emigrant parents. He attended Boston University in the 1920s and earned a B.S. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930. From 1930-1935 he was Assistant Professor of Architecture at MIT and spent one summer traveling in Europe. In 1935 he became Professor of Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and continued there until the advent of World War II in 1941. At that time he began service to the United States, first as a member of the National Resources Planning Board in Washington, D.C., and also with the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency. From 1943-1945 he was Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, instructing troops in camouflage techniques in California and in Colorado.
From 1945-1947 he was director of the Bavarian District of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. He returned to the United States in 1947 and became director of the Citizens Council on City Planning in Philadelphia for the next two years. In 1949 he established private practice in San Antonio, Texas as a planning consultant and architect. That same year his previous experience in post-war Europe was called upon when he became a visiting expert on city planning for the Department of Defense, studying city rebuilding in Germany with the German-born planner, Hans Blumenfeld. From 1950-1952 that expertise was applied on the domestic front as consultant to the U.S. Urban Redevelopment agency. His practice involved projects throughout the United States and also abroad, in Germany, Guam, Kenya, Colombia, and Mexico.
Zisman established professional relationships with Texas architects, planners, and landscape architects, most notably O'Neil Ford, Brooks Martin, and Stewart King. He was the author of four books and many articles and reports, and with Wanda Ford, wife of O'Neil Ford, was an activist in the pioneer preservation movement in San Antonio. Though never married, he adopted the three children of his brother, James, after they were orphaned. Samuel Zisman died in San Antonio on March 25, 1970 at the age of 61.

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Samuel B. Zisman Papers, 1937-1970
The Samuel B. Zisman papers consist of photographs, professional logs, correspondence, and postcards that reveal the career of this architect, planner, and author. Correspondence is primarily letters to Zisman from fellow Texas architect O'Neil Ford; other letters are from Wanda Ford, Arch B. Swank, and a woman named Mary Ann.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives