Richardson, H. H.

Richardson, H. H. (Henry Hobson)

(1838–86) architect; born in Priestley Plantation, La. He graduated from Harvard (1859) and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He returned to open his practice in New York in 1866, in an early partnership (1867–78) with Charles Dexter Gambrill, designing chiefly churches. His design for Trinity Church, Boston (1872–77), won him national recognition. Practicing independently after 1878 in Brookline, Mass., he designed a number of small suburban libraries and railroad stations, Harvard residence halls, commercial buildings, and private houses, and collaborated on the New York State Capitol, Albany (1876–86). His final works were the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail, Pittsburgh (1883–88), and the Marshall Field Wholesale Store, Chicago (1885–87), completed by assistants after Richardson's death. Richardson's designs progressively refined Romanesque forms into a style termed "Richardsonian," inspiring the American Romanesque revival. He was widely influential also through his sensitive handling of materials, his mastery of interior decoration, and his introduction of the Queen Anne style to America, as in the William Watts Sherman House, Newport, R.I. (1874–76). He trained a generation of architects including John Galen Howard, Charles McKim, George Shepley, and Stanford White. Some scholars rate him the greatest architect of his age.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.