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Lawrence Grant White

Lawrence Grant White (1887–1956)

Lawrence Grant White, son of the architect Stanford White, was born on September 26, 1887. He received the AB degree cum laude from Harvard University in 1908 and a diploma from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1913. Between 1915 and 1917, he was associated with the architect Frederic Rhinelander King. In 1919, he became a member of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White Architects, 101 Park Avenue, New York. White was a social acquaintance of Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss and had married Laura Astor Chanler, the daughter of the Blisses’ and Edith Wharton’s good friend Margaret "Daisy" Chanler. White first came to Dumbarton Oaks on February 28, 1921, to be interviewed by Robert Bliss as a prospective architect for renovations and additions. But because Bliss had retained the architect Frederick H. Brooke, who was still in his employ, White felt that it would be unethical to do work for Bliss at the time. After Brooke left the project in 1923, White was engaged. The first mention of this comes in correspondence of April 16, 1923, from Mildred Bliss to Beatrix Jones Farrand: "Robert is telephoning to Larry White to ask him to come down today or tomorrow to look at the lay of the uncurable lad, with view to drawing up plans for the far buildings . . . [which] can’t be begun until next mid-winter . . . . [I]t will be such a pleasure to have the contact with Larry White that I hope his firm can undertake it." In correspondence on August 18, 1924, with his colleague William Mitchell Kendall on the occasion of Mildred Bliss’s anticipated visit to the offices of McKim, Mead & White, he wrote of his patroness: "Her husband is only Minister to Sweden, but she is every inch an ambassadress, if not an empress!" [McKim, Mead & White Archives, New-York Historical Society, call no. 396.] Lawrence White designed the buildings of the Service Group at Dumbarton Oaks as well as the Music Room and the East Bay of the living room (now Founders Room). He was president of the National Academy of Design. He died on September 7, 1956.


James N. Carder, "The Architectural History of Dumbarton Oaks and the Contribution of Armand Albert Rateau," in A Home of the Humanities: The Collecting and Patronage of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, ed. James N. Carder (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2010), 92–115.

 

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