Building Victorian Boston: The Architecture of Gridley J.F. Bryant

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2007 - Architecture - 224 pages
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Much of Boston's rich heritage of Victorian buildings dates from the mid-nineteenth century when Gridley James Fox Bryant (1816-1899) dominated the profession of architecture in the city. At that time, Boston was undergoing a transformation from a quaint post-colonial town to a rapidly expanding Victorian metropolis. Bryant led this transformation, providing an important link between the earlier architecture of Charles Bulfinch and Alexander Parris and the later work of such practitioners as H. H. Richardson and Peabody & Stearns.

In Building Victorian Boston, Roger Reed focuses on representative projects by Bryant, presenting them in a chronological narrative that both illuminates the trajectory of his career and creates a portrait of the profession of architecture during a defining period of New England history. Bryant designed more major buildings in Boston from 1840 to 1880 than any other architect. He also undertook commissions throughout New
England, especially in towns linked to Boston by newly constructed railroad lines. In many ways, his practice presaged aspects of modern architectural firms. His ability to work with a variety of designers, his expertise in construction management, and his exceptional talent for self-promotion all contributed to his success. Although by the time of his death his work was no longer fashionable, newspaper accounts noted the passing of the "Famed Bostonian" and "Great Builder" whose career had had such a dramatic impact on the face of the city.

For this volume, Reed has tracked down hundreds of Bryant's drawings as well as specifications, letters, newspaper articles, published renderings, and historical photographs. These materials are amply represented in this book, the definitive study of a quintessential Victorian architect.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Mastering His Profession
32
Architecture and Reform
51
Transforming Boston
76
From Down East to San Francisco Bay
95
Bryant and Gilman
115
Bryant and Rogers
140
An Architect of the Nineteenth Century
160
Copyright

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Page 218 - The Hotel Pelham: A New Building Type for America," American Art Journal 15 (Autumn 1983): 58-73.

About the author (2007)

Roger Reed is a preservation planner in Brookline, Massachusetts. While working as an architectural historian for the Maine Historic Planning Commission, he wrote two books, A Delight to All Who Know It: The Architecture of William R. Emerson of Maine and Summerings on the Thoroughfare: The Architecture of North Haven.

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