Jump to content

Bertram Goodhue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue
Born(1869-04-28)April 28, 1869
DiedApril 23, 1924(1924-04-23) (aged 54)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materNew Haven Collegiate and Commercial Institute
Parent(s)Charles Wells Goodhue, Helen Grosvenor (Eldredge) Goodhue
PracticeRenwick, Aspinwall and Russell; and Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson
Goodhue by Lee Lawrie, holding the Rockefeller Chapel, Chicago, Illinois

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (April 28, 1869 – April 23, 1924) was an American architect celebrated for his work in Gothic Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival design. He also designed notable typefaces, including Cheltenham and Merrymount for the Merrymount Press. Later in life, Goodhue freed his architectural style with works like El Fureidis in Montecito, California, one of three estates he designed.

Early career


Goodhue was born in Pomfret, Connecticut, to Charles Wells Goodhue and his second wife, Helen Grosvenor (Eldredge) Goodhue. Due to financial constraints he was educated at home by his mother until, at age 11 years, he was sent to Russell's Collegiate and Commercial Institute. Finances prevented him from attending university. In lieu of formal training, in 1884 he moved to Manhattan, New York City, to apprentice at the architectural firm of Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell (one of its principals, James Renwick Jr., was the architect of Grace Church and St. Patrick's Cathedral, both in New York City). Goodhue's apprenticeship ended in 1891 when he won a design competition for St. Matthew's in Dallas.

Cram and Goodhue

Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago

After completing his apprenticeship, Goodhue moved to Boston Massachusetts, where he was befriended by a group of young, artistic intellectuals involved in the founding of the Society of Arts and Crafts – Boston in 1897. This circle included Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard University and Ernest Fenollosa of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It was also through this group that Goodhue met Ralph Adams Cram, who would be his business partner for almost 25 years. Cram and Goodhue were members of several societies, including the "Pewter Mugs" and the "Visionists". In 1892–1893 they published a quarterly art magazine called The Knight Errant. The multitalented Goodhue was also a student of book design and type design. In 1896, he created the Cheltenham typeface for use by a New York printer, Cheltenham Press. This typeface came to be used as the headline type for The New York Times.

Frieze above Goodhue's tomb, Church of the Intercession, New York City

In 1891, Cram and Goodhue formed the architectural firm of Cram, Wentworth, and Goodhue, renamed Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson in 1898. The firm was a leader in Neo-Gothic architecture, with significant commissions from ecclesiastical, academic, and institutional clients. The Gothic Revival Saint Thomas Church was designed by them and built in 1914 on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 1904, Goodhue built a townhouse at 106 East 74th Street, pushing the front to the building line and redesigning it in a mix of Gothic and Tudor styles.[1] In 1915, Goodhue accepted membership to what is known now as the American Academy of Arts and Letters.[2] In 1917, Goodhue was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1923.

Independent practice


Early projects


When Goodhue left to begin his own practice in 1914, Cram had already created his dreamed-of Gothic Revival commission at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and continued to work in the Gothic style mode for the rest of his career.

Goodhue departed into a series of radically different stylistic experiments over his independent career. His first was the Byzantine Revival style for St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church on New York City's Park Avenue, built on a new platform just above the Grand Central Terminal railyards.

Spanish Colonial Revival projects


In California, in 1915, Bertram Goodhue re-interpreted masterful Spanish Baroque and Spanish Colonial architecture complete with the latter's traditional Churrigueresque detailing into what became known as the Spanish Colonial Revival Style of architecture. This was for the significant commission of the El Prado Quadrangle's layout and buildings at the major 1915 Panama-California Exposition, located in San Diego's Balboa Park. He was the lead architect, taking over from Irving Gill, with Carleton Winslow Sr. and Lloyd Wright assisting. The Panama-California Exposition's style was seen by many and widely published, becoming extremely influential in California and the Southern and Southwestern United States. It led to California's assimilation of Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture as its dominant historical regional style, which continues to this day. The singular style for the rebuilding of Santa Barbara after its 1925 destruction by a major earthquake was drawn from the local Mission Revival and Goodhue's Panama-California Exposition Spanish Colonial Revival style trends.[3] Examples of influential private Californian commissions, both extant registered landmarks now, are his 1906 J. Waldron Gillespie Estate El Fureidis and 1915 Dater – Wright Ludington Estate Dias Felices — Val Verde in Montecito.[3][4][5] Goodhue and Gillespie had done a six-month research and acquisitions tour together through Egypt, Persia, and the Arabian Peninsula before collaborating on the classic Persian gardens layout and Roman and Spanish Colonial Revival residence at El Fureidis. Goodhue's Spanish Colonial Revival style work went on to dominate the Hawaiian architecture of public buildings and estate residences during the 1920s building boom in the Territory of Hawaii.[6]

El Fureidis Estate in Montecito, California.

Later projects

State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska

Later Goodhue's architectural creations became freed of architectural detail and more Romanesque in form, although he remained dedicated to the integration of sculpture, mosaic work, and color in his surface architectural details. Towards the end of his career, he arrived at a highly personal style, a synthesis of simplified form and a generalized archaic quality, and those innovations paved the way for others to transition to modern architectural idioms. This style is seen in his last major projects: the 1926 Mediterranean revival and Egyptian revival Los Angeles Public Library; the Nebraska State Capitol; and in his 1922 entry for the Chicago Tribune Tower competition.


Los Angeles Central Library

Goodhue died in 1924 in New York City. He was interred within a wall vault in the north (left-hand) transept of his Church of the Intercession, at his request in the building he considered his finest. Architectural sculptor Lee Lawrie created a Gothic styled tomb for him there, featuring Goodhue recumbent, crowned by a carved halo of some of his buildings. He received the AIA Gold Medal in 1925.



Over the course of his career, Goodhue relied on frequent collaborations with several significant artists and artisans. These included architectural sculptor Lee Lawrie, and mosaicist and muralist Hildreth Meiere. Their work is central to the aesthetic power and social messages implicit in Goodhue's best work. Lee Lawrie worked with Cram and Goodhue on: the Chapel at West Point, the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Bartholomew's, and the reredos at the Church of St. Thomas. Lawrie worked after 1914 with Goodhue's independent practice on: the Los Angeles Public Library, the Nebraska State Capitol, the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C., and the Christ Church Cranbrook completed after Goodhue's death at the Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Edward Ardolino was a frequent collaborating sculptor.

After Goodhue's unexpected death in 1924, many of his designs and projects were brought to completion by architect Carleton Winslow Sr. in California, the successor firm of Mayers Murray & Phillip in New York, and other former associates. Goodhue's offices had employed, before they established their own independent practices and reputations, designers and architects such as Raymond Hood, Carleton Winslow Sr., Clarence Stein, and Wallace Harrison. Thematic consultant Hartley Burr Alexander, Lee Lawrie, and Hildreth Meiere reassembled in the 1930s for the Rockefeller Center project collaboration with Raymond Hood.



In a dissertation on American regional architecture in California and Hawaii, Goodhue is credited with creating a distinctive interpretation of Spanish Colonial architecture into the Spanish Colonial Revival Style as a dominant Californian regional vernacular.[6] He also directly influenced the dominance of the Spanish Colonial Revival style in major public and private architecture of 1920s Hawaii.[6]

Along with Paul Cret and others, Goodhue is sometimes credited with being part of popularizing the art deco style in America, as in his design for the Nebraska State Capitol building, by which some may retroactively classify him as an early American Modernist. However, his dedication to the integration of art and architecture was contrary to the spirit of Modernism design, and at least partly accounts for the academic and critical neglect of his work.[citation needed]

A significant archive of Goodhue's correspondence, architectural drawings, and professional papers is held by the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University in New York City.

James Perry Wilson, an architect and painter responsible for many of the Natural History dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History, was employed by Bertram Goodhue Associates before transitioning to museum work.[7]


Saint Mark's Episcopal Church
Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Yale College Wolf's Head Senior Society's "New Hall', designed c. 1924
Saint Thomas Church, New York City, New York


  1. ^ Said to be similar to Louisville, Kentucky's Church of Our Merciful Saviour, possibly also designed by Goodhue.[13]
  1. ^ Gray, Christopher (January 22, 2006). "A Renowned Architect's Home of His Own". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  2. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Letters – Deceased Members". Artsandletters.org. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  3. ^ a b McCall, Wayne; Andree, Herb; Young, Noel; Halloran, Patricia (1980). Santa Barbara Architecture: From Spanish Colonial to Modern. Santa Barbara: Capra Press.
  4. ^ Aran, Berge (2005). Austin Val Verde, a Montecito Masterpiece. Santa Barbara: Austin Val Verde Foundation.
  5. ^ Herold, Ann (June 2, 2005). "A glorious sight unseen". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ a b c Penkiunas 1990
  7. ^ "Biographical Data on James Perry Wilson", AMNH Archives
  8. ^ Southworth, Susan; Southworth, Michael (2008). AIA Guide to Boston (Third ed.). Guildford, Connecticut: GPP. p. 29.
  9. ^ "Our History". St. James' Episcopal Church.
  10. ^ Scott 1974, p. 98
  11. ^ Scott 1974, p. 129
  12. ^ "Trinity Episcopal Church Asheville". Trinity Episcopal.
  13. ^ Hedgepeth, Marty (September 24, 1980). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Church of Our Merciful Saviour". National Park Service. Retrieved March 1, 2018. With photo.
  14. ^ Scott 1974, p. 99
  15. ^ Scott 1974, p. 131
  16. ^ Nowicki, Susan A. (1998). Montclair, New Jersey: The Development of a Suburban Town and Its Architecture (Thesis). OCLC 233535656.
  17. ^ "A Tour of Our Campus". Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  18. ^ "Public Memorials and Monuments". City of Pasadena. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  19. ^ Rick Thomas (January 16, 2019). "Pasadena's Historic Memorial Flagpole". South Pasadenan.
  20. ^ Cheever, Mary (1990). The Changing Landscape: A History of Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough. West Kennebunk, Maine: Phoenix Publishing. pp. 102, 104. ISBN 0-914659-49-9. OCLC 22274920.
Works cited
  • Penkiunas, Daina Julia (1990). American Regional Architecture in Hawaii: Honolulu, 1915–1935 (Ph.D. dissertation). University of Virginia.
  • Scott, James Allen (1974). Duluth's Legacy: Volume 1: Architecture. photography and graphic design by John R. Ulven Jr.; ill. by Robert T. Calton. City of Duluth through the Office of the Dept. of Research & Planning. OCLC 950568058.
Further reading
  • Oliver, Richard. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1983 for the Architectural History Foundation. xii + 297 pp.; 146 illustrations, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-262-15024-8
  • Whitaker, Charles Harris, ed. With text by Hartley Burr Alexander, Ralph Adams Cram, George Ellery Hale, Lee Lawrie, and C. Howard Walker. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue: Architect and Master of Many Arts. New York: Press of the American Institute of Architects, Inc., 1925. (Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1976. ISBN 0-306-70826-4.)
  • Wyllie, Romy. Bertram Goodhue: His Life and Residential Architecture. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-393-73219-1