Richard Upjohn

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Richard Upjohn
Trinity Church New York Birdseye.jpg
A bird's-eye view of Trinity Church in 1912.
Born (1802-01-22)22 January 1802
Shaftesbury, England
Died 16 August 1878(1878-08-16) (aged 76)
Putnam County, New York
Buildings Trinity Church in New York City
Edward King House in Newport
St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo
Kingscote in Newport, Rhode Island, completed in 1839.
The Edward King House in Newport, Rhode Island, completed in 1847.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Albany, New York, completed in 1859.
All Saint's Memorial Church in Navesink, New Jersey, completed in 1864.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, completed in 1875.
St. Agnes-by-the-Lake in Algoma, completed in 1879.

Richard Upjohn (22 January 1802 – 16 August 1878) was an English-born architect who emigrated to the United States and became most famous for his Gothic Revival churches. He was partially responsible for launching the movement to such popularity in the United States. Upjohn also did extensive work in and helped to popularize the Italianate style. He was a founder and the first president of the American Institute of Architects. His son, Richard Mitchell Upjohn was also a well-known architect and served as a partner in his architectural firm in New York.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Richard Upjohn was born in Shaftesbury, England, where he was apprenticed to a builder and cabinet-maker. He eventually became a master-mechanic. He and his family emigrated to the United States in 1829. They initially settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts and then moved on to Boston in 1833, where he worked in architectural design.[2] He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1836.[3] His first major project was for entrances to Boston Common and his first church would be St. John's Episcopal Church in Bangor, Maine. He had relocated to New York by 1839 where he worked on alterations to Trinity Church. The alterations were later abandoned and he was commissioned to design a new church, completed in 1846. He published his extremely influential book, Upjohn's rural architecture: Designs, working drawings and specifications for a wooden church, and other rural structures, in 1852. The designs in this publication were widely used across the country by builders, with many examples remaining.[1]

Upjohn, along with 13 other architects, co-founded the American Institute of Architects on February 23, 1857. He served as president of that organization from 1857 to 1876, being succeeded by Thomas Ustick Walter. He went on the design many buildings in a variety of styles. He died at his home in Garrison, New York in 1878. Architectural drawings and papers by Upjohn and other family members are held by the Drawings and Archives Department of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Manuscripts and Archives division, and by the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.[2]

He died on 16 August 1878 in Putnam County, New York of "softening of the brain".[4]


Upjohn is honored together with Ralph Adams Cram and John LaFarge with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on December 16.


Some of Upjohn's notable projects include:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Doumato, Lamia. Richard Upjohn, Richard Michell Upjohn, and the Gothic Revival in America. Monticello, Ill: Vance Bibliographies, 1984. ISBN 0-89028-128-9
  2. ^ a b c Upjohn, Everard M. Richard Upjohn, Architect and Churchman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1939.
  3. ^ Murray, Christopher John (2004). Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760-1850, Volume 2. New York & London: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 1175. ISBN 1-57958-422-5. 
  4. ^ "Richard Upjohn, Architect" (PDF). New York Times. 16 August 1878. Retrieved 2008-07-17. "Richard Upjohn, one of the oldest and most prominent church architects of this country, died on Friday, in the seventy-seventh year of his ago. ..." 
  5. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: Global Professional Publishing, 2008), p.41.
  6. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: GPP, 2008), p.27.
  7. ^ NRHP plaque: File:AllSaintsPlaque.jpg
  8. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: Global Professional Publishing, 2008), p.199.
  9. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: Global Professional Publishing, 2008), p.265.
  10. ^ Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, Green-Wood Cemetery. Images of America series. (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008), p.11

External links[edit]