George Grant Elmslie

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"George Elmslie" redirects here. For the Australian politician, see George Elmslie (Australian politician).
Harold C. Bradley House, Madison, WI, designed by Louis Sullivan and George Grant Elmslie, 1908–1910
William L. Steele, Purcell & Elmslie, Associated Architects, Woodbury County Courthouse (1916)
Interior of Woodbury County Courthouse

George Grant Elmslie (February 20, 1869 – April 23, 1952) was an American, though born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Prairie School architect whose work is mostly found in the Midwestern United States. He worked with Louis Sullivan and later with William Gray Purcell as a partner in the firm Purcell & Elmslie.

The architectural practice most widely known as Purcell & Elmslie consisted of three partnerships. The first, Purcell & Feick, was created at Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1907 between Purcell and his Cornell School of Architecture classmate, George Feick, Jr. George Elmslie and Purcell had been friends since 1903, when Purcell worked for a short while in the office of Louis Sullivan, and Elmslie was an informal influence in the work of Purcell & Feick. In 1909, Elmslie joined the office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the name of the firm changed to Purcell, Feick, & Elmslie in 1910. Feick left the partnership in 1912, and the name of the practice became Purcell & Elmslie until being dissolved in 1921.

Over the course of the partnership, Purcell & Elmslie became one of the most commissioned firms among the Prairie School architects, second only to Frank Lloyd Wright. Following the dissolution of his partnership with Purcell, Elmslie worked occasionally with various other architects, including Lawrence A. Fournier, William S. Hutton, Hermann V. von Holst, William Eugene Drummond, and William L. Steele, and produced a number of banks, train stations, commercial, and institutional buildings during the 1920s and 1930s.

A curious historical note: Elmslie claimed to have been born in 1871, and he carefully kept his true birth year a secret all his life except from a very few people. The apparent reason for this was due to his immigration status in 1885, when he joined his father John Elmslie in Chicago from his native Scotland. Had Elmslie divulged his true age, he would have been ineligible to enter the United States as a dependent family member.

Elmslie was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1947.

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