McKim, Charles Follen

McKim, Charles Follen,

1847–1909, American architect, b. Chester co., Pa., studied (1867–70) at the École des Beaux-Arts. He was one of the founders of the firm of McKim, Mead, and Bigelow, which in 1879 became McKim, Mead, and White (see William Rutherford MeadMead, William Rutherford,
1846–1928, American architect, b. Brattleboro, Vt. He entered the office of Russell Sturgis in New York City. In 1872 he began to practice architecture with C. F.
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 and Stanford WhiteWhite, Stanford,
1853–1906, American architect, b. New York City; son of Richard Grant White. In 1872 he entered the office of Gambrill and Richardson in Boston, at the time when H. H. Richardson was at the peak of his fame.
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). A vast number of important commissions came into the firm's offices, in which McKim's spirit and taste were the controlling forces. Following a policy of adhering to classical architecture and its Renaissance derivatives, the partners erected a long series of buildings with a restrained classical sobriety that turned the tide away from the vagaries of the prevailing romanticism. Early examples of the style were the old Madison Square Garden (1891, now demolished), New York City, and the Boston Public Library (1888–95).

McKim was influential in the development of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, for which he built the Agricultural Palace. He designed a fine series of clubhouses in New York City, of which the Harvard Club and the University Club are two; a number of buildings for Columbia Univ., including Low Memorial Library; the Pennsylvania RR station (1904–10, now demolished); the Pierpont Morgan Library; and numerous fine commercial and residential works. His restorations include the work on Thomas Jefferson's buildings at the Univ. of Virginia and on the White House at Washington, D.C.

McKim was associated with D. H. BurnhamBurnham, Daniel Hudson
, 1846–1912, American architect and city planner b. Henderson, N.Y. He was trained in architects' offices in Chicago. In that city he established (1873) a partnership with John W.
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, Augustus Saint-GaudensSaint-Gaudens, Augustus
, 1848–1907, American sculptor, b. Dublin, Ireland. His family immigrated to New York when he was an infant. An apprentice in cameo cutting at 13, he gained mastery over low-relief sculpture.
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, and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (see under Olmsted, Frederick LawOlmsted, Frederick Law,
1822–1903, American landscape architect and writer, b. Hartford, Conn. Although his Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England
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), on the Senate Park Commission, which drew up plans for the development of Washington and the District of Columbia. He was first president of the American Academy in Rome, to the founding of which he had devoted many years of zealous effort.


See M. Broderick, Triumvirate: McKim, Mead &White (2011).

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McKim, Charles Follen

(1847–1909) architect; born at Isabella Furnace, Pa. He studied at Harvard and the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. The addition of Stanford White to his partnership with William Rutherford Mead launched McKim, Mead and White (1879), designers of more than 1,000 public, commercial, and residential buildings. McKim was an elegant classical designer; his work includes the Boston Public Library (1887–95) and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (1902–07).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.