Talbot Hamlin

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Talbot Hamlin
Talbot Hamlin (cropped).jpg
BornJune 16, 1889
DiedOctober 7, 1956(1956-10-07) (aged 67)
Alma materHorace Mann School, Amherst College, School of Architecture at Columbia University[2]
EmployerMcGill and Hamlin
Known forarchitect, architectural historian
Parent(s)Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin (1855-1926),[1] Minnie Florence Marston Hamlin (1859-?)[2]

Talbot Faulkner Hamlin (June 16, 1889 – October 7, 1956) was an American architect, architectural historian, writer and educator.

Early years[edit]

Born in New York City, Hamlin was the fourth child of Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin (1855-1926), a professor of architecture at Columbia University. He attended Amherst College, where he received his BA degree in 1910. He then enrolled at Columbia University, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1914. This was the beginning of a 46-year relationship with the university.[1]


Architectural projects early in his career include Wayland Academy, Hangzhou, China, 1919; Peking University, Peking, China, 1919-1922; and Ginling College, Nanking, China, 1919-1925.[1] The Ginling College campus was to play an important role during the Rape of Nanking in 1937.[3]

Hamlin was hired as a draftsman in the New York architectural firm of Murphy and Dana. He became a partner of the firm in 1920. In 1921, both Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1879-1933) and J. Duncan Forsythe departed, so with the addition of Henry J. McGill ( - 1953), the firm became Murphy, McGill and Hamlin.[4] That combination lasted until 1924, when Henry Killam Murphy (1877-1954) withdrew and the firm became known as McGill and Hamlin. This partnership with Henry J. McGill ended in 1930, and Hamlin began his own solo practice, which lasted until the Depression, when commissions became scarce.[2]

In 1934, he relinquished his professional practice and accepted the full-time position of Avery Librarian for the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.[1]

Hamlin was also an active member of the Society of Architectural Historians.[2]

Published works include[edit]

  • The Enjoyment Of Architecture (1916)
  • The American Spirit in Architecture (1926)
  • Some European Architectural Libraries (1939)
  • Architecture through the Ages (1940)
  • Greek Revival Architecture in America (1944)
  • Architecture: An Art for all Men (1947)
  • Forms and Functions of Twentieth Century Architecture (1952)
  • Benjamin Henry Latrobe, (1955)
won the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
  • We took to cruising; from Maine to Florida afloat (1962)

Hamlin received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his book on the American architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, (Oxford Univ. Press)[5] He also received the 1955 Alice Davis Hitchcock Award for the book.[6]

Political activity[edit]

Hamlin's political activities were noted in a report, "Prepared and released by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, United States House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. April 19, 1949.
The committee included California congressman Richard Nixon.[7]

"Talbot Hamlin was a sponsor of the Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace which ran from March 25–27, 1949 in New York City. It was arranged by a Communist Party USA front organization known as the National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions. The conference was a follow-up to a similar gathering, the strongly anti-America, pro-Soviet World Congress of Intellectuals in Defense of Peace which was held in Poland, August 25–28, 1948.

At another point in the HUAC report Hamlin is noted in a section that reads:

"Letter protesting ban on entrance of Oscar Niemeyer, 1948 (total 3): Thomas H. Creighton, Talbot Hamlin, Jacob Moscowitz"[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Talbot F. Hamlin (1889-1956)". Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Talbot Faulkner Hamlin papers and architectural records, 1880-1959 (bulk 1916-1955)". Columbia University. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ Chang, Iris, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, Basic Books, A Subsidiary of Perseus Books, L.L.C., 1997 pp. 130-139
  4. ^ Manufacturers' Catalogs and Business Announcements. The Architectural Forum, Volume 34. Billboard Publications. 1921. p. 440. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  5. ^ "1956 Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award Recipients" (PDF). Society of Architectural Historians. 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Review of the Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace" (PDF). National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions / House Committee on Un-American Activities, United States House of Representatives. April 19, 1949. Retrieved March 10, 2018.

External links[edit]