Richard Upjohn

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Richard Upjohn
Richard Upjohn oil portrait circa 1870.png
Upjohn oil portrait circa 1870
Born(1802-01-22)22 January 1802
Died16 August 1878(1878-08-16) (aged 76)
BuildingsTrinity Church in New York City
The Edward King House in Newport, Rhode Island
St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo, New York

Richard Upjohn (22 January 1802 – 16 August 1878) was a British-born American 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 Michell Upjohn, (1828-1903), was also a well-known architect and served as a partner in his continued 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 the entrances to the Boston Common, the town's central park and his first church would be St. John's Episcopal Church in Bangor, Maine. He had relocated to New York City by 1839 where he worked on alterations to the famed Trinity Church on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. The alterations were later abandoned and he was commissioned to design a new church, completed in 1846, and still extant today. 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, fourth Architect of the Capitol. 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 the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, in New York City, also by the New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library, in the Manuscripts and Archives division, and by the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C..[2]

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


Upjohn is honored together with Ralph Adams Cram and John LaFarge with a feast day on the liturgical calendar in the current Holy Women, Holy Men (Celebrating the Saints) of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. on December 16.


Some of Upjohn's notable projects include:

Magnolia Manor MD.jpg


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. ^ "St. Saviours: The Historic Church that the NYC Government refused to save". LTV Squad. 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  7. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: GPP, 2008), p.27.
  8. ^ NRHP plaque: File:AllSaintsPlaque.jpg
  9. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: Global Professional Publishing, 2008), p.199.
  10. ^ Christ Church Parish Records
  11. ^ Susan and Michael Southworth, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition, (Guildford, Connecticut: Global Professional Publishing, 2008), p.265.
  12. ^ Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, "Green-Wood Cemetery". "Images of America" series, (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2008), p.11

External links[edit]