Sturgis, Russell, 1836-1909

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American architect Russell Sturgis (1836-1909) was a leading figure in the development of architectural criticism at the turn of the 20th century. During his formative years in New York, Sturgis gained an appreciation for architectural history and modern design. An advocate of the American Pre-Raphaelites, Sturgis sought much inspiration in the written works of English architect and critic John Ruskin. Upon his return to New York after extensive travel abroad, Sturgis opened his own architectural practice in 1863. In addition to his success as an architect, Sturgis authored countless articles and books on various architectural subjects. After 1858, Sturgis earnestly began to collect choice photographs and drawings of various architectural gems. Sturgis' collection of photographs is particularly rich in both its collective thoroughness and diversity of images represented.

From the description of Collection, 1853-1903. (Washington University in St. Louis). WorldCat record id: 173220526

Epithet: of Baring Brothers, merchants, of London

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000571.0x0002f6

Architect, art historian.

Sturgis began his career as an architect in New York in 1863. By 1885 he gave up architecture for art history and art criticism.

From the description of Russell Sturgis architectural drawings and papers, 1847-1932. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 505720009

Russell Sturgis (1836-1909), architect, art historian and writer, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from the Free Academy (later the College of the City of New York) in 1856, he studied with architect Leopold Eidlitz and received further architectural education in Munich, Germany. He returned to New York City in 1863 to begin his career as an architect and resided there until his death.

Sturgis' architectural style has been described as “New-Grec” and “Victorian Gothic.” Among his best-known buildings are the Farnam, Durfee, and Lawrence dormitories and the Battell Chapel at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; the Flower Hospital in New York City; and the Mechanics' and Farmers' Bank in Albany, New York.

His legacy remains, however, more closely tied to his role as an art and architectural historian, writer, and lecturer. In fact, Sturgis virtually abandoned the practice of architecture for these other activities after the early 1880s. He served as president of the Architectural League of New York from 1889 to 1893 and of the Fine Arts Federation from 1895 to 1897. His writings were extensive and, in addition to writing for various magazines and journals, Sturgis was the author of European architecture: a historical study (1896); Annotated Bibliography of fine art: painting, sculpture, architecture, arts of decoration and illustration (1897) for the American Library Association; the multi-volume Dictionary of Architecture and Building (1901-1902); How to judge architecture; a popular guide to the appreciation of buildings (1903); and was co-translator of Wilhelm Luebke's Outlines of the History of Art (1904). His manuscript for The History of Architecture (1906-1915) was only partially complete at this time of Sturgis' death in 1909. Sturgis lectured widely for various audiences, including Columbia College, Barnard College, the Metropolitan Museum, the Peabody Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the College of the City of New York, among many others.

Finally, Sturgis played a significant role in the founding and development of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Avery Library was founded on June 23, 1890, by Samuel Putnam and Mary Ogden Avery in memory of their son, Henry Ogden Avery, who had studied earlier with Sturgis. In forming the library, the Averys stipulated that there were to be three people responsible for the development of the collection-the librarian of Columbia College, the professor of the Architectural Department, and Russell Sturgis. It appears that the other two members of this committee usually deferred to Sturgis and he was later remembered as “the second most important factor in the formation of the [Avery] library.”

From the guide to the Russell Sturgis architectural drawings and papers, 1847-1932, (Columbia University. Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings & Archives, )

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949. Papers, 1872-1949 Houghton Library
referencedIn Letters to William James from various correspondents and photograph album, 1865-1929. Houghton Library
referencedIn Parkman family papers, 1793-1896 Houghton Library
creatorOf Sturgis, Russell, 1836-1909. Miscellaneous papers. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908. Papers, ca.1845-1908 Houghton Library
referencedIn Heard family. Heard family business records, 1754-1898 (inclusive) [microform]. Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
creatorOf Church, William Conant, 1836-1917. William Conant Church letters, 1866-1878. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Sturgis, Mary Greene (Hubbard), 1806-1837. Mary Sturgis correspondence, 1836. Clams, Inc
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Palfrey family papers, 1713-1915 Houghton Library
creatorOf La Farge, John, 1835-1910. John La Farge and La Farge family papers, 1850-1972. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Correspondence, 1829-1874 Houghton Library
creatorOf Russell Sturgis architectural drawings and papers, 1847-1932 Columbia University. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives.
referencedIn Wendell family papers, 1620-1921 Houghton Library
referencedIn Baldwin, William Henry. Papers, 1852-1909. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Papers, 1830-1876. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sturgis, Russell, 1836-1909. Russell Sturgis architectural drawings and papers, 1847-1932. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908. Papers, ca.1845-1908 Houghton Library
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Weir, John Ferguson, 1841-1926. John Ferguson Weir papers, 1838-1957 (inclusive), 1861-1928 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Prescott, William Hickling, 1796-1859. William Hickling Prescott letters, 1855-1857. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn La Farge family. La Farge family papers, 1850-1990 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. 1785-2005.
referencedIn Garrison family papers, 1801-1948 (inclusive), 1840-1907 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911. Correspondence, 1843-1911 Houghton Library
referencedIn Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969. Papers, 1867-2005. Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn Parkman family papers, 1793-1896 Houghton Library
creatorOf Shaw, Lemuel, 1781-1861. Correspondence, 1823-1856. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Phillips Brooks and Brooks family papers, 1750-1917. Houghton Library
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "Stanley" to "Taylor". Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary Floyd Tallmadge Chapter (Litchfield, Conn.). Records from the Mary Floyd Tallmadge Chapter of the Connecticut D.A.R., 1905-1909. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Letters from Wendell Phillips Garrison, 1865-1906. Houghton Library
referencedIn Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923. Papers, 1762-1927 (bulk 1872-1921) Houghton Library
referencedIn Elisha Kent Kane Papers, Bulk, 1843-1857, 1810-1953 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Letters sent to Cornelius Conway Felton from various correspondents, 1849-1860. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sturgis, Russell, 1836-1909. Collection, 1853-1903. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn La Farge family. La Farge family papers, 1850-1990 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn La Farge family papers, 1850-1990 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Isaacs, Marion Scranton. Talk given by Marion Scranton Isaacs at the Lackawanna Historical Soc. Meeting 9-22-71 at #4 Ridge Row typescript / Marion Scranton Isaacs. Albright Memorial Library, Scranton Public Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Architectural League of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Architectural League of New York. corporateBody
correspondedWith Baldwin, William Henry, 1826-1909 person
associatedWith Beacon Syndicate. corporateBody
associatedWith Beacon Syndicate. corporateBody
associatedWith Benrimo, Tom, 1887-1958. person
correspondedWith Boggs, Charles S. person
associatedWith Brooklyn Art Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Brooklyn Art Association. corporateBody
correspondedWith Brooks, Phillips, 1835-1893 person
associatedWith Century Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Chambrun, Jacques. person
associatedWith Church, William Conant, 1836-1917. person
associatedWith Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary Floyd Tallmadge Chapter (Litchfield, Conn.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith England, George Allan, 1877-1936. person
associatedWith Felton, Cornelius Conway, 1807-1862 person
associatedWith Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969. person
associatedWith Gardiner, William Howard, 1797-1882 person
correspondedWith Garrison family. family
associatedWith Garrison, Wendell Phillips, 1840-1907 person
associatedWith Gibbons, Herbert Adams, 1880-1934. person
associatedWith Hay, John, 1838-1905. person
associatedWith Heard family. family
associatedWith Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911 person
associatedWith Isaacs, Marion Scranton. person
correspondedWith James, William, 1842-1910 person
associatedWith Kane, Elisha Kent, 1820-1857 person
associatedWith La Farge family family
associatedWith La Farge family. family
associatedWith La Farge family. family
associatedWith La Farge, John, 1835-1910. person
associatedWith Mechanics and Farmers Bank (Albany, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908 person
associatedWith Olcott, Dudley. person
associatedWith Olcott, Dudley. person
correspondedWith Palfrey family. family
associatedWith Parkman family. family
associatedWith Phillips, Frances L. person
associatedWith Phillips, Frances L. person
associatedWith Prescott, William Hickling, 1796-1859. person
associatedWith Shaw, Lemuel, 1781-1861. person
associatedWith Sturgis, Lyman. person
associatedWith Sturgis, Lyman. person
associatedWith Sturgis, Mary Greene (Hubbard), 1806-1837. person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Ware, William R. (William Robert), 1832-1915. person
associatedWith Weir, John Ferguson, 1841-1926. person
correspondedWith Wendell family. family
associatedWith Winwar, Frances, 1900-1985. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--Albany
United States
Europe
Subject
Architecture
Commercial buildings--New York (State)--Albany
Banks and banking--New York (State)--Albany
Commercial buildings
Bank buildings
Architecture--Pictorial works
Photoprints
Art--Study and teaching
Bank buildings--New York (State)--Albany
Architecture--Designs and plans
Architects
Art historians
Architecture--Europe--Pictorial works
Art--History
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans
Banks and banking
Architectural Drawings
Occupation
Architect
Art historians
Teachers
Function

Person

Birth 1836-10-16

Death 1909-02-11

Americans

English,

French,

German

Information

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Ark ID: w6x354n9

SNAC ID: 57822253