Henry Van Brunt

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Henry Van Brunt
Henry Van Brunt.jpeg
BornSeptember 5, 1832
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedApril 8, 1903(1903-04-08) (aged 70)
Milton, Massachusetts[1]
BuildingsMemorial Hall (Harvard University)
Electricity Building, World's Columbian Exposition
Signature of Henry Van Brunt.png

Henry Van Brunt FAIA (September 5, 1832 – April 8, 1903) was a 19th-century American architect and architectural writer.

Life and work[edit]

Van Brunt was born in Boston in 1832 to Gershom Jacques Van Brunt and Elizabeth Price Bradlee.[2] Van Brunt attended Boston Latin School, and graduated from Harvard College in 1854. From 1854 to 1857, he apprenticed with architect George Snell, then worked with Richard Morris Hunt, in New York City.[3]

During the Civil War, Van Brunt served as Secretary to the Admiral of the North Atlantic Squadron, United States Navy.[4] He resigned on February 15, 1864.

In the 1860s Van Brunt and fellow Harvard graduate William Robert Ware established the architectural firm of Ware & Van Brunt. The firm produced designs for many buildings in the Boston area, including Harvard University's Memorial Hall, "said to be one of the greatest examples of Ruskinian Gothic architecture outside of England".[5]

In 1869, he married Alice S. Osborn; together they had 6 children. In 1874 Van Brunt published a translation of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's Discourses on architecture, and he remained a prolific writer through his career.

His partnership with Ware dissolved in 1881. The same year, Van Brunt and former employee Frank M. Howe established the firm of Van Brunt & Howe, and about six years after took the dramatic step of moving his office from Boston to Kansas City,[6][7] partly for multiple commissions for the Union Pacific Railroad for grand stations in western cities like Ogden, Utah (1889; burned down 1923), Denver, Colorado (1895; rebuilt 1912), Cheyenne, Wyoming and Omaha, Nebraska (1899; replaced 1931). Many Kansas City civic landmarks of the time were Van Brunt's designs. Stylistically, most of his later work is comfortably consistent with Richardsonian Romanesque; in at least one case, the Hoyt Library, he adapted and finished a rejected Richardson design.

In 1884 he was elected an officer of the American Institute of Architects.[8] In 1899 he became president of the AIA for a one-year term.

Van Brunt returned to Massachusetts around 1902, and died in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1903.[4] His headstone in Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, gives his date of death as April 7, 1903.

Ware & Van Brunt[edit]

Van Brunt & Howe[edit]


  • Translator of: Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. Discourses on architecture. Boston : J.R. Osgood, 1875.
  • On the Present Condition and Prospects of Architecture. Atlantic Monthly 57, no. 341 (March 1886).
  • Henry Hobson Richardson, Architect. Atlantic Monthly 58:349 (November 1886).
  • Architecture in the West, Atlantic Monthly 64:386 (December 1889).
  • Greek Lines and Other Architectural Essays. Houghton, Mifflin. 1893

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Harvard Graduates' Magazine Association, 1903; p.601.
  2. ^ "Henry Van Brunt". Back Bay Houses. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "MIT Libraries" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Death list of a day". The New York Times. Boston. April 9, 1903. p. 9. Retrieved January 10, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Traditional Building. "Palladio Awards".
  6. ^ Marquis Who Was Who in America 1607-1984.
  7. ^ Society of Architectural Historians. Brief Biographies of American Architects Who Died Between 1897 and 1947.
  8. ^ Institute of American Architects. The New York Times, October 24, 1884. p.5.
  9. ^ "City of Cambridge". Archived from the original on December 2, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Yorktown memorial: the monument which is to be erected upon the battle-field". The New York Times. Baltimore. August 11, 1881. p. 5. Retrieved January 10, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "U.S. National Park Service".
  12. ^ "University of Michigan". Archived from the original on November 23, 2009.
  13. ^ "Library of Congress" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Mary Melvin Petronella, Edward W. Gordon. Victorian Boston Today: Twelve Walking Tours. UPNE, 2004; p.73.
  15. ^ "Maine Memory".
  16. ^ U.S. National Park Service. "National historic landmark designations".
  17. ^ a b c Potter, Janet Greenstein (1996). Great American Railroad Stations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 326, 517, 534. ISBN 978-0471143895.
  18. ^ "Arlington Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument". Massachusetts Civil War Monuments Project. March 25, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Official guide to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at the city of St. Louis, by Major J. Lowenstein, full text available on GoogleBooks

External links[edit]