William Ralph Emerson

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William Ralph Emerson (March 11, 1833 – November 23, 1917) was an American architect. He partnered with Carl Fehmer in Emerson and Fehmer.

The Hotel Claremont, built in 1890–1892, Claremont, New Hampshire

A cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Willian was born in Alton, Illinois, and trained in the office of Jonathan Preston (1801–1888), an architect–builder in Berlin. He formed an architectural partnership with Preston (1857–1861), practiced alone for two years, then partnered with Carl Fehmer (1864–1873). On September 15, 1873 he married Sylvia Hathaway Watson.

He is best known for his Shingle Style houses and inns, many of them in Bar Harbor, Maine. He worked with fellow Boston designer Frederick Law Olmsted on the creation of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., designing several of the zoo's first buildings.[1]

Emerson was a friend to the Boston painter William Morris Hunt, who painted a portrait of Emerson's son Ralph, shown at an exhibition of Hunt's work at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1880.[2]

Emerson died in Milton, Massachusetts.

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Heather Ewing, 'The Architecture of the National Zoological Park,' in New Worlds, New Animals: From Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
  2. ^ Portrait of Master Ralph Emerson, Exhibition of the Works of William Morris Hunt, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Dec. 20, 1879-Jan. 31, 1880, Seventh Edition, Alfred Mudge & Son, Boston, 1880
  • The Architecture of William Ralph Emerson, catalog by Cynthia Zaitzevsky with photography by Myron Miller, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass. 1969.

External links[edit]

Media related to William Ralph Emerson (American architect) at Wikimedia Commons