Architectural Archives

  • Kirsopp House, Radnor (1930-31)

  • "Fortune Rock," Clara Fargo Thomas House (1937-39)

Mellor, Meigs, and Howe Collection (117)

The Mellor, Meigs & Howe Collection comprises architectural records related to the practices of Mellor, Meigs & Howe and its predecessor and successor firms.  The bulk of the collection documents architectural projects of the following firms: Mellor, Meigs & Howe; Mellor & Meigs; Howe and Lescaze; and George Howe, Architect. It also contains materials related to projects of the firms William Lescaze, Architect and Louis E. McAllister, Architect.  The collection also contains a small amount of personal material related to Walter Mellor and George Howe.

Biographical / Historical Sketch

Mellor & Meigs was established in Philadelphia in 1906 by Walter Mellor and Arthur Ingersoll Meigs, and specialized in residential architecture.  In 1916, they were joined by George Howe, who had been trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and brought an interest in larger scale institutional and commercial projects.  After 12 years of partnership and increasing tension, Howe left his partners in 1928.  The firm resumed the name Mellor & Meigs and continued with a primary emphasis on residential work.  Howe took with him the commission for the landmark office tower for the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society and in 1929 formed a partnership with the Swiss architect, William Lescaze.  The difference between Howe's 1926 design for the P.S.F.S Building and his 1931 design (built) dramatically illustrates the stylistic shift that came with his departure from Mellor, Meigs & Howe and his interest in the International Style.  Lescaze and Howe separated as early as 1932 and established independent firms in 1935.  Louis E. McAllister had worked for Mellor, Meigs & Howe between 1923 and 1928 and continued to work for George Howe from 1928 until 1942.  After he established his own firm, he collaborated with Howe on several projects.

Scope & Content Note

The Mellor, Meigs & Howe Collection comprises architectural records related to the practices of Mellor, Meigs & Howe and its predecessor and successor firms.  The bulk of the collection documents architectural projects of the following firms:  Mellor, Meigs & Howe (1916-1928); Mellor & Meigs (1906-1916 and1928-1940); Howe and Lescaze (1929-1935); and George Howe, Architect (1935-1940).  It also contains materials related to projects of the firms William Lescaze, Architect (1935-1945) and Louis E. McAllister, Architect.  It contains a small amount of personal material related to Walter Mellor and George Howe. 

The collection is rich in the domestic work of Mellor, Meigs & Howe and of Mellor & Meigs.  Several projects include fine presentation drawings, for example the residence of William Curtis Bok in Villanova, Pennsylvania and the Estate of Edward C. Congdon in Duluth, Minnesota.  There is a presentation drawing for Walter Mellor's own house in West Mount Airy, Philadelphia, as well as for two other houses in the same block (McManus and Magill).  Mellor's farm in Massachussetts is also represented. 

Notable among George Howe's designs is an early presentation drawing (ca. 1926) for the P.S.F.S. Building, prepared while he was still a partner in Mellor, Meigs & Howe.  For his final 1931 design, the collection contains 68 Howe and Lescaze construction prints, but no original drawings.

The delineators of many drawings in the collection are identified in the title block by name rather than by initials only.  It is possible to identify drawings by three architects who later established independent practices in Philadelphia: John Thomas Grisdale, (1904-1985), Charles William Pollitt, (1894-1974) and Edward Henry Wigham, (ca. 1891-1951).  Four projects include shop drawings for iron work by Samuel Yellin.
 

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