Richards, T. W. (Thomas Webb), 1836-1911

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Taken from a label used in a University Exhibition (found in the T.W.R. Collection control file): "T.W. Richards was the son of Benjamin Moore Richards, a Welsh-born tailor living in the rear of a Lombard Street townhouse. Neither Thomas nor his brother, William Trost Richards, enjoyed formal education beyond the year 1846, but both apparently demonstrated early artistic genius. William Trost was later to become a well-known marine artist, while Thomas apprenticed with Samuel Sloan, one of Philadelphias leading architects in the mid-nineteenth century. In Sloans office Thomas obtained excellent training while attending courses and participating in exhibitions at the Franklin Institute. By 1854, Thomas believed he could establish his own practice and left Sloan and Philadelphia for opportunities in Ohio. "The advantages, however, were not abundant enough to keep Thomas in Columbus; he returned home and was listed in the Philadelphia city directory of 1856 as an architect, sharing his brothers studio at 816 Walnut Street. The financial crash of 1857 left him unlisted. Little is known of his career between 1857 and 1860; presumably he was working in Philadelphia and successful enough to win an appointment as an Associate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. By 1861 he had two architectural projects, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and the National Bank of Commerce in Baltimore, and in 1862 he had become associated with William Murdock in Baltimore. The Civil War created a demand for hospitals while decreasing the demand for other types of buildings, and in 1863 he moved to New York to render hospital drawings for Calvert Vaux. "Frustrated by the lack of opportunity, Richards almost turned to a career in photography. In 1868 John Sartain recommended Richards for the first teaching position in Drawing at the University of Pennsylvania, and thus began Richards long association with the University. He competed successfully for the position of Architect for what became College Hall, constructed in 1871-1872. Instrumental in developing the architecture program at the University, Richards was appointed Professor of Drawing and Architecture in 1874, and he remained on the faculty until 1890. In addition to his pedagogical contributions to the University, Richards also served as the architect of Logan Hall (1874) and the Robert Hare Laboratory of Chemistry (1877)." See also for a biography of Thomas Webb Richards.

From the description of Collection, 1819-1919. (University of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 145429392

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Richards, Horace Clark, 1868-1945. Collection, 1871-1944. University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
creatorOf Richards, T. W. (Thomas Webb), 1836-1911. Collection, 1819-1919. University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Haviland, John, 1792-1852. person
associatedWith Northminster Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Richards, Horace Clark, 1868-1945. person
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Architects--19th century--Biography


Birth 1836

Death 1911



Ark ID: w6m63wjj

SNAC ID: 62811377