Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic
biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biographyplease
submit a rewritten biography in text form.
If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century
Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor
Virtual American Biographies
Over 30,000 personalities
with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life
welcomes editing and additions to the
biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor
or e-mail Virtualology here.
RICHARDSON, Henry Hobson, architect, born in Priestley's Point, St. James parish, Louisiana, 29 September, 1838; died in Brookline, Massachusetts, 28 April, 1886. His father, Henry D. Richardson, was a planter of American birth, but his earlier ancestors were Scotchmen, who had moved to England before the family came to this country. His mother was Catherine Caroline Priestley, a granddaughter of Dr. Joseph Priestley. He was at first intended for West Point and the army, but the death of his father changed his plans, and he was graduated at Harvard in 1859. His college career was not remarkable for proficiency or promise, but, after his graduation he went to Paris, where he began the study of architecture, and at once developed remarkable powers and capacity for work. The loss of his property during the civil war obliged him to serve m an architect's office for his support while he was pursuing his studies. In 1865 he returned to this country and became a partner of Charles D. Gambrill in the firm of Gambrill and Richardson. His earliest buildings were in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the railroad offices and the Agawam bank at once gave evidence of his power. The Church of the Unity in the same city is a Gothic building, and quite unlike the ecclesiastical structures of his later years. His strongest work began with the erection of Brattle street church in Boston in 1871. The next year he presented his plans for Trinity church, Boston (shown in the accompanying illustration), for which he was chosen to be the architect, and which occupied much of his thought and time till it was finished in 1877. It is after the manner of the churches of Auvergne in France, and gets its character from its great central tower, which, both within and without, is the feature of its architecture. Before he had done with Trinity, Mr. Richardson was already at work upon the Cheney buildings at Hartford, Connecticut, and not much later on the Memorial library at North Easton, the public library at Woburn and the state capitol at Albany, on which last building he was employed for many years, in connection with Leopold Eidlitz and Frederick Law Olmsted, to carry forward the work which had been begun by others. These buildings and others, which belong to the same period, show the full ripeness of his powers. They have the qualities that belong to all his future work-breadth and simplicity, the disposition to produce effect rather by the power of great mass and form than by elaboration of detail, the free use of conventional types and models, and a freshness and variety that spring from sympathetic feeling of the meaning and necessities of each new structure. A freely treated Romanesque preponderates in all his style, and was well suited to his own exuberant but solid and substantial nature. His influence began to be felt very soon and very widely. Without any effort or desire to create a school, he drew about him a large number of young men, on whom the impress that he made was very strong. After he came from New York to Brookline, in the neighborhood of Boston, about 1875, his house and working-rooms were thronged with students and alive with work. There he prepared his plans for Sever Hall and Austin Hall at Harvard; for libraries at Quincy, Malden, and Burlington; for railroad-stations along the Boston and Albany and other roads; for the cathedral at Albany, which, however, was not given to him to build; for the Albany city-hall ; for dwellings in Washington and Boston; for the two great buildings that he left unfinished at his death, the Board of trade in Cincinnati and the court-house in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania ; for great warehouses in Boston and Chicago ; and for other structures of many sorts throughout the land. The result of them all has been a strengthening, widening, and ennobling of the architecture of the country which must always mark an epoch in its history. Mr. Richardson was a man of fascinating intelligence and social power. He died in the midst of his work, although his last ten years were a long, brave, cheerful fight with feeble health and constant suffering, his life has been written, in an illustrated quarto, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer (Boston, 1888).
This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected,
associated with or authorized by the individual, family,
friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or
the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated
sites that are related to this subject will be hyper
linked below upon submission
and Evisum, Inc. review.
Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The
People. Click Here