George Sleigh, Architect at the 91st Floor of the World Trade Center
On the morning of September 11, 2001, George Sleigh emerged from his office on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center in New York City unaware that American Airlines Flight 11 had just struck his building.
He took a chance and entered the stairwell, descending many floors below the impact zone. From there he gained an unparalleled perspective of the tragedy that would unfold over years to come.
Early Life and Education
George Sleigh, born in Gateshead, developed an appreciation for music from an early age. At Stuyvesant High School in New York City, he played the double bass and became involved with their jazz band.
He developed a passion for big band music, particularly the styles of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. It had always been his ambition to lead his own band one day.
Sleigh and 11 co-workers were on the 91st floor of the north tower when a plane struck. With only about 40 minutes to escape before it collapsed, Sleigh and his colleagues managed to flee safely from their building.
On September 11th, 2001, George Sleigh was working in an office on the 91st floor of New York City’s World Trade Center when he heard the crash of a plane. He quickly left his desk and headed for the stairwell for safety.
He and eleven of his colleagues managed to escape without injury, having only minutes to flee the building and make their way down to ground level.
Sleigh was a prominent figure in the professional world as well as the feminist movement. He served as co-founder of Soho 20 Gallery, an all-women artist-run gallery, and was an artist-in-residence (AIR).
Material related to women artist organizations and cooperatives that Sleigh was affiliated with in New York City includes correspondence, schedules, minutes, notes, publications, audio recordings, ephemera. Additionally, Sleigh kept discrete files for women artists’ announcements.
Achievements and Honors
On 9/11, North-East naval architect George Sleigh bravely crawled out of his office building and into the rubble of the World Trade Center. Thankfully, a team of emergency workers saved him from the rubble.
He received numerous honors for his contributions to art. For instance, he was one of the first artists in England to use stained glass technique in their pieces and also pioneered using computers in creative endeavors.
George Sleigh was a deeply principled and dedicated family man who took great pride in his large extended family, friends, and community. A skilled carpenter by trade, active member of his local church, elected city councilman and mayor by popular vote, George served on several committees throughout his lifetime.
His strong moral principles and quick wit served him well throughout his career as a carpenter, wood-engraver, fireman, business owner, and artist. Above all else he was an devoted father and proud grandfather who always put his family first no matter what came his way.
These papers cover a wide range of topics, such as art-related matters; painting the nude and feminist art; writings about Alloway; research files related to Alloway; and material about Sleigh’s personal art collection. Additionally, this series contains photographs documenting Sleigh’s life, family background, and artworks.
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