The American Architect from the Colonial Era to the Present

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About the Book

The later Colonial era saw a need to replace the buildings hurriedly assembled by earlier colonists, but competent builders were difficult to find. Capable housewrights were usually well paid and many became respected and prosperous members of their communities, but craft apprenticeships and a gentlemanly taste were two of the primary requirements for becoming an architect. As the profession developed, architects in the Northeast initiated efforts to distinguish between their work and that of housewrights and builders.
This work is a history of the development of architecture as a profession in the United States. It is divided into four chronological sections. Section One covers the beginnings in Colonial times before 1800 when there were no identifiable professionals. Section Two examines architecture from 1800 to the Civil War, a period during which the first architects appeared. Section Three considers the profession from the time of the Civil War to World War I and the strengthening of the profession’s status. Section Four covers architecture since World War I up to the present. Each section discusses the training of architects, standards of practice, general management methods, information sources, minority participation, and other aspects of professional operation, with special attention given to the relationship between the profession’s development and the social history of the periods.

About the Author(s)

The late Cecil D. Elliott was a professor emeritus of architecture from North Dakota State University. He lived in Fargo, North Dakota.

Bibliographic Details

Cecil D. Elliott
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 199
Bibliographic Info: 54 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1391-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1
A Note to the Reader     3

BEFORE 1800: COLONIAL ORIGINS
A Compelling Need for Buildings     6
Carpenters, Builders, and Gentlemen     9
Apprenticeship and Education     14
Colonial Books and Libraries     15
Westward Colonization     20

1800 TO THE CIVIL WAR: FORMATION OF THE PROFESSION     21
The New Capital     22
Defining the Profession     24
The Government as a Client     26
Matters of Faith     27
Available Knowledge     29
Professional Libraries     36
Arrivals from Europe     38
The Southern Frontier     41
A Professional Community     42
Architects’ Fees     45
Documents and Contracts     48
State Capitols     51
Westward Movement     54

THE CIVIL WAR TO WORLD WAR I: STRENGTHENING THE PROFESSION    56
Immigration     57
Publications     58
Learning in Europe     62
Learning in the United States     70
The Government’s Own Architects     76
The AIA Revived and Challenged     78
Women Architects     81
Registration     82
Competitions     84
Unfortunate Political Involvements     90
Practices and Partnerships     93
Extending Practices     98
Drawings and Specifications     100
Staff     108
The First African-American Architects     118
Specialization     119
Battling the Government     125

WORLD WAR I TO THE PRESENT: ADAPTATION TO EXTREMES     129
World War I     129
The Small House Movement     132
Estates and Mansions     136
Women in Architecture     139
The American Beaux-Arts     140
Sketch Clubs     145
Government Relations     147
African-American Architects     150
Associated Architects     151
The Great Depression     153
World War II     157
Registration and Reciprocity     158
New Influences on Practice     161
Deprofessionalization     164
The Present     166

Notes     171
Bibliography     185
Index     191

Book Reviews & Awards

“meticulously researched…insightful…highly informative”—Public Library Quarterly; “interesting”—Catholic Library World.