Vertner Woodson Tandy

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Vertner Woodson Tandy
Villa Lewaro circa 1986.jpg
Villa Lewaro circa 1986
Born May 17, 1885
Died November 7, 1949
Nationality USA
Known for First registered African-American architect in New York State; Co-founder of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University

Vertner Woodson Tandy (May 17, 1885 – November 7, 1949) was an American architect and was one of the seven founders (commonly referred to as The Seven Jewels) of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906. He was first the African American to be a registered architect in New York State. He was the first treasurer of the Alpha chapter and the designer of the fraternity pin.[1] The Fraternity became incorporated under his auspices.


He initially attended Tuskegee Institute studying architectural drawing.[2] In 1907 he graduated from Cornell University[3] with a degree in architecture and he later became the State of New York’s first registered black architect, with offices on Broadway in New York City.

Tandy's most famous commission was probably Villa Lewaro, the mansion of Harlem millionairess Madam C.J. Walker, in Irvington on Hudson, New York. Among his other extant work are the Ivey Delph Apartments, and St. Philip's Episcopal Church at 204 West 134th Street in Harlem, through his architectural firm of Tandy & Foster. The Ivey Delph Apartments, designed in 1948, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[4]

Tandy also holds the distinction of being the first African-American to pass the military commissioning examination and was commissioned First Lieutenant in the 15th Infantry of the New York State National Guard.

Vertner W. Tandy died in 1949, at age 64 of pneumonia.


  1. ^ Parks, Gregory (2012-01-01). Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813134579. 
  2. ^ Weiss, Ellen (2012-01-01). Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee: An African American Architect Designs for Booker T. Washington. NewSouth Books. ISBN 9781588382481. 
  3. ^ Woods, Mary N. (1999-07-20). From Craft to Profession: The Practice of Architecture in Nineteenth-century America. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520921405. 
  4. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

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