January 3, 1882|
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
|Died||September 27, 1949
Libertyville, Illinois, USA
|Practice||Adler & Dangler, Adler & Work|
David Adler was born on January 3, 1882 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the only son to Isaac David Adler, a prosperous wholesale manufacturer of men's clothing, and Therese Hyman Adler. David Adler had one sister, Frances, who would go on to become a prominent interior designer. Adler attended Milwaukee public schools until age 16, when he left Wisconsin to enroll in the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Adler enrolled at Princeton University in 1900, studying art, architectural history and Greek. Here, Adler designed the Charter Club, an upperclassmen's eating club. After graduating in 1904, he travelled extensively, mostly studying and observing the architecture of Europe. He studied for three semesters at Technische Universität München in Germany. From 1906 to 1911, Adler studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. An avid bicyclist, Adler would travel to the countryside of France, Italy, and England to observe the great country manors and collect picture postcards.
After returning to the United States in 1911, he began working as an architect for Howard Van Doren Shaw in Chicago, Illinois. Shaw was considered the foremost architect of country houses in the Chicago area. After six months of study, he opened a new office with a friend from Paris, Henry Dangler, in Orchestra Hall. Together, the pair secured commissions for country estates for William E. Clow, Jr., Ralph Poole, Benjamin Niels, Morris E. Berney, David B. Jones, and Charles B. Pike. However, Adler had never received an architectural license, flunking the exam in 1917. Because of this, Dangler had to sign off on Adler's drawings because they legally had to be signed by a registered architect.
After Dangler died in 1917, Adler needed to partner with another architect with a structural background who could sign off on his projects. He pattered with Robert Work. In 1918, Adler purchased a 1864 farmhouse in Libertyville, Illinois and extensively remodeled it to for his estate. Aspiring architect Paul Schweikher, who would go on to have a significant residential practice of his own, studied under Adler for a year starting in 1923. In 1928, with thirty commissions to his name and support from fellow architects, the state examining board presented Adler with an honorary license. From this point forward, Adler operated his practice alone. The Roaring Twenties was Adler's most prosperous time, but he struggled during the subsequent Great Depression. An injury in 1935 during a fox hunt further slowed Adler. Over his career, Adler designed 45 country houses, 27 in the Chicago area.
He married Katherine Keith, an Illinois socialite and writer, in 1916. In 1925, he was named a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, a position that he held for the rest of his life. He became a widower in 1930 after his wife was killed in a car accident in Europe. Adler was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1941 and a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1945. Adler died of a heart attack in his sleep, aged 67, in Libertyville. He is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.
- David Adler Estate, 1700 N Milwaukee Ave. Libertyville, IL, NRHP-listed
- Mrs. Isaac D. Adler House, 1480 N. Milwaukee Ave. Libertyville, IL, NRHP-listed
- William McCormick Blair Estate, 982 Sheridan Rd. Lake Bluff, IL, NRHP-listed
- Castle Hill, E of Ipswich on Argilla Rd. Ipswich, MA, NRHP-listed
- Dewey House, Veterans Administration Medical Center North Chicago, IL, NRHP-listed
- Mrs. C. Morse Ely House, 111 Moffett Rd. Lake Bluff, IL, NRHP-listed
- Field Estate, Field Rd. and Camino Real Sarasota, FL, NRHP-listed
- One or more works in Green Bay Road Historic District, Roughly, area surrounding 10 S to 1596 N Green Bay Rd. and Ahwahnee Rd. Lake Forest, IL, NRHP-listed
- Mrs. Kersey Coates Reed House, 1315 N. Lake Rd. Lake Forest, IL, NRHP-listed
- Waverly, S of Middleburg on VA 626 Middleburg, VA, NRHP-listed
Archival materials are held by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago. The David Adler Collection includes photographs, research files and materials collected and produced by the museum's Department of Architecture for the 2001 exhibition "David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style." A publication was also produced for this exhibition.
- "David Adler". David Adler Center for Music and Arts.
- "Adler, David". Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD).
- Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. 2004. ISBN 1-57958-243-5.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- David Adler Collection, 1860-2003 (bulk 1925-2001), Art Institute of Chicago