Stanford White pp 269-271 | Cite as

White was Fortunate in his Clients

  • Charles C. Baldwin


In his Garrulities of an Octogenarian Editor, Henry Holt recounts his experiences with the firm of McKim, Mead and White—whom he credits with the renaissance in American architecture—digressing only long enough to remark that as a young man, casting about for a profession, he had considered architecture, but his mother-in-law objected so violently that he was forced to give up the idea. “Why,” she said, “you might as well become a carpenter!” And indeed, Mr. Holt agrees, in those days, she was right. Architects were clerks, assembling plans and carrying out the client’s orders. They had no standing, social or professional. He writes:

But later, as an established editor, I went to McKim, then an established architect, to commission his firm to draw me a modest country house. I had made the plans in the rough, as I always do. McKim was full of the kindest interest, and made me a free-hand perspective with which I was delighted, and for which I at once asked him to make plans. When they came, they bore no relation to what had gone before. I wrote to McKim, saying that I hoped he had not lost the preceding sketches, and begging him to work them up. He was very amiable, and said that the new scheme would save me money. I told him that I was entirely ready to spend the money required for the house we had already decided upon; and he cheerfully agreed to make up and send me the plans for it. When they came, they had little more relation to what had gone before than the first set. When I pointed this out, McKim exclaimed: “Oh, I see that you are one of those bothersome clients who know what they want. Well, you shall have it.”


Personal Interest Valuable Lesson Small Return Country House Established Architect 
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© Charles C. Baldwin 1931

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  • Charles C. Baldwin

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