Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes

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I.N. Phelps Stokes standing behind his wife Edith née Minturn, (painting by John Singer Sargent, 1897)

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867–1944) was an American architect. He was the eldest son of multimillionaire Anson Phelps Stokes, and graduated from Harvard in 1891. He designed St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University and several urban housing projects in New York City.[1] Sanger Hill, a New York State country house in the English manner, represents his private housing work.

229 Madison Avenue, birthplace of Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes.

He married Edith Minturn in 1895.[2] A friend sponsored their famous portrait in oil, by John Singer Sargent, as a wedding gift.[3][4] Edith also served as the artist's model for a well-known sculpture, Statue of the Republic by Daniel Chester French,[5] and a portrait by Cecilia Beaux.[6][7] She was President of the New York Kindergarten Association and of the Municipal Art Commission.[8] She was the aunt of Edie Sedgewick, who was named after her.[9]

I.N. Phelps Stokes founded an architectural firm, Howells & Stokes, with a partner, John Mead Howells, in 1897.

Mr. Stokes was active in housing reform. He was a co-author of the Tenement House Law of 1901, and designer of the University Settlement House.

In 1910, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes dismantled a large timber framed house, formerly the Queens Head, located next to what is now the A140 Ipswich to Norwich route in Thwaite, Suffolk, UK. He transported it in 688 crates from Tilbury Docks to the USA, where it was re-constructed using the timbers of a wrecked English ship, on a hill overlooking Long Island Sound near Greenwich, Connecticut. It was renamed High Low House (one of its former names whilst standing in Thwaite).[10]

Stokes may be best remembered for an exhaustive and authoritative six volume work entitled The Iconography of Manhattan Island, published between 1915 and 1928.[11] He later became a political ally and then a friend of New York Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia. During the New Deal, as head of the Art Commission, Stokes oversaw the WPA mural program for the City of New York, which sponsored murals at locations including the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Harlem Hospital, and New York Public Library.[1]


  1. ^ a b Morrone, Francis (Autumn 1997). "The Ghost of Monsieur Stokes". City Journal. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "MARRIAGE OF MISS EDITH MINTURN.; Wedded to I.N. Phelps Stokes at Her Mother's Summer Home.". New York Times. August 22, 1895. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ "John Singer Sargent 1856–1925. Mr and Mrs IN Phelps Stokes 1897, Oil on canvas". Studios and portraits - Queensland Art Gallery - Gallery of Modern Art. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes, 1897, by John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925). Oil on canvas.". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ Bey, Lee (February 16, 2010). "The Gilded Lady of Jackson Park by Lee Bey". WBEZ 91.5. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ Tapp, P. Gaye (June 7, 2010). "Gilded Minturn as the century turned". Little Augury. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ Reason, Akela (August 2, 2007). "Video lecture on 1898 portrait of Edith Minturn Stokes]". Forum Network, PBS/NPR. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "MRS. I. N. P. STOKES DIES AT HER HOME; Former President of New York Kindergarten Association Was Daughter of R. B. Minturn". New York Times. June 13, 1937. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Kendra (April 22, 2009). "Remembering Edie Sedgwick". Blogcritics. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Nova, Susan (March 16, 2011). "1928 waterfront Tudor in Indian Harbor, built, and rebuilt by Phelps Stokes". Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ "I.N. Phelps Stokes His Print Collection and the Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909". Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Zimmerman, Jean. Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-101447-7.