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Henry Van Brunt

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Henry Van Brunt

Henry Van Brunt
Born September 5, 1832
Boston, Massachusetts
Died April 8, 1903
Milton, Massachusetts[1]
Nationality American
Buildings Memorial Hall (Harvard University)
Electricity Building, World's Columbian Exposition

Henry Van Brunt FAIA (September 5, 1832 – April 8, 1903) was a 19th-century American architect and architectural writer.

Life and work

Born in Boston in 1832, Van Brunt attended Richard Morris Hunt, in New York City.[2]

During the Civil War, Van Brunt served as Secretary to the Admiral of the North Atlantic Squadron, United States Navy.[3] He resigned on February 15, 1864.

In the 1860s Van Brunt and fellow Harvard graduate William Robert Ware established the architectural firm of Ware & Van Brunt. The firm produced designs for many buildings in the Boston area, including Harvard University's Memorial Hall, "said to be one of the greatest examples of Ruskinian Gothic architecture outside of England".[4]

In 1869, he married Alice S. Osborn; together they had 6 children. In 1874 Van Brunt published a translation of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's Discourses on architecture, and he remained a prolific writer through his career.

His partnership with Ware dissolved in 1881. The same year, Van Brunt and former employee Frank M. Howe established the firm of Van Brunt & Howe, and about six years after took the dramatic step of moving his office from Boston to Kansas City,[5][6] partly for multiple commissions for the Union Pacific Railroad for grand stations in western cities like Ogden, Utah (1889; burned down 1923), Denver, Colorado (1895; rebuilt 1912), and Omaha, Nebraska (1899; replaced 1931). Many Kansas City civic landmarks of the time were Van Brunt's designs. Stylistically, most of his later work is comfortably consistent with Richardsonian Romanesque; in at least one case, the Hoyt Library, he adapted and finished a rejected Richardson design.

In 1884 he was elected an officer of the American Institute of Architects.[7] In 1899 he became President of the AIA for a one-year term.

Van Brunt returned to Massachusetts around 1902, and died in Milton, Massachusetts in 1903. His head stone in Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, MA gives his date of death as April 7, 1903.

Ware & Van Brunt

Van Brunt & Howe


  • Translator of: Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. Discourses on architecture. Boston : J.R. Osgood, 1875.
  • On the Present Condition and Prospects of Architecture. Atlantic Monthly 57, no. 341 (March 1886).
  • Henry Hobson Richardson, Architect. Atlantic Monthly 58:349 (November 1886).
  • Architecture in the West, Atlantic Monthly 64:386 (December 1889).
  • Greek Lines and Other Architectural Essays. Houghton, Mifflin. 1893

Image gallery


  1. ^ Harvard Graduates' Magazine Association, 1903; p.601.
  2. ^ "MIT Libraries". 
  3. ^ Death list of a day. New York Times, April 9, 1903.
  4. ^ Traditional Building. "Palladio Awards". 
  5. ^ Marquis Who Was Who in America 1607-1984.
  6. ^ Society of Architectural Historians. Brief Biographies of American Architects Who Died Between 1897 and 1947.
  7. ^ Institute of American Architects. New York Times, Oct 24, 1884. p.5.
  8. ^ "City of Cambridge". 
  9. ^ The Yorktown memorial: the monument which is to be erected upon the battle-field. New York Times, Aug 11, 1881. p.5.
  10. ^ "U.S. National Park Service". 
  11. ^ "University of Michigan". 
  12. ^ "Library of Congress". 
  13. ^ Mary Melvin Petronella, Edward W. Gordon. Victorian Boston Today: Twelve Walking Tours. UPNE, 2004; p.73.
  14. ^ "Maine Memory". 
  15. ^ U.S. National Park Service. "National historic landmark designations". 
  16. ^ Official guide to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at the city of St. Louis, by Major J. Lowenstein, full text available on GoogleBooks

External links

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