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G. Frederick Coles

Coles, G. Frederick, 1875-

George Frederick Coles was born in 1875 in England. He worked as a decorative stonecutter. Coles began employment at Dumbarton Oaks under Robert and Mildred Bliss as early as 1938. Working in a shop on the property, he created in-house stonework according to the specifications and drawings provided by Beatrix Farrand and her office. Coles was also skilled with inscriptions, as he cut text for the Urn Terrace tablet, the Green Garden tablet, and William Gray’s memorial, among many other projects. Because Coles lived in Washington, D.C. and had offices on the property, he performed minor repairs and provided upkeep.

Sometime after World War II, Coles and his wife moved to New York City. He continued to work for Dumbarton Oaks under the direction of Ruth Havey. From his shop set up in the Cool House, Coles provided finials, consoles, tablets, and urns according to Havey’s drawings. Not much is known about Frederick Coles’ other work, but former Dumbarton Oaks Superintendent Don Smith identifies Coles as a stonecutter who worked on the inscription at the Lincoln Memorial. Other projects attributed to Coles include a frieze of sixteen panels on the Potomac Electric Power Company building (1926) at 10th and E Streets, N.W.



1940 United States Census (Population Schedule), Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; p. 10B, Line 47, G. Frederick Coles household; digital images, (, accessed August 5, 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 566.

Garden Archives Correspondence.

Smith, Don. Interview by Philip Page. Transcript. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., July-September 1992.