"The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (Series 4)" by Benjamin Henry           Latrobe

The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (Series 4) Volume 3 4-3, 1811-1820 Benjamin Henry Latrobe, John C. Van Horne, Lee W. Formwalt

The Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe Series
Publication date:
27 Apr 1988
Yale University Press
520 pages: 235 x 156mm
78 b-w illus.

This is the last of three volumes of selected correspondence and miscellaneous papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), America’s first professional architect and engineer.  Covering the final decade of Latrobe’s life, it includes about 375 documents, comprised of letters (mostly from Latrobe), government reports, pamphlets, and newspaper articles.
The years from 1811 to 1820 included both setbacks and triumphs for Latrobe.  On the one hand we learn about the ill-fated New Orleans Waterworks project, during which his son Henry died of yellow fever; bitter disputes with Robert Fulton over Latrobe’s service as agent of the Ohio Steam Boat Company; and acrimonious relations with the commissioners who oversaw Latrobe’s rebuilding of the U.S. Capital after the War of 1812.  On the other hand, there were such successful projects as the Baltimore Cathedral and St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., and a gratifying collaboration with Thomas Jefferson on plans for the University of Virginia.  Latrobe thrived artistically if not financially in America, and he was instrumental in bringing a sense of grandeur to American architecture.  This volume of Latrobe’s papers, like the others, is a tribute to the lasting influence he exerted on the culture of the young republic.

"The Latrobe collection is a documentary treasure that is unique in its variety and richness. Without question the single most important source for the study of the arts, technology, and industrial culture of early nineteenth-century America."?Charles F. Hobson, Virginia Magazine

"An impressive work. . . . This material will invite historians not well versed in the mechanical aspects of Latrobe?s work to pursue his correspondence for the rich insight into early national culture that it affords. . . . Carter and his editorial staff have well served both their subject and American history, giving us back, as it were, a figure of great charm, a wry and pungent wit, and an engrossing and original intelligence."?Chandos Michael Brown, William and Mary Quarterly

"There is a good selection of what deserves to be called great literature. Many documents are examples of Latrobe?s lucid writing style and are enjoyable to read. Many reveal an astonishing ability to generate enthusiasm and to argue persuasively even when he was wrong. Some of his best writings are his reports to Congress about work on the Capitol. . . . This is Latrobe at his best."?Gene Waddell, JSAH (Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians)

"Readers gain a sense of the man and his attitude toward his profession, insights from the letters of his contemporaries who chose politics for their stage."?Kenneth R. Bowling, Journal of Southern History

"Latrobe has been blessed with a magnificent, exhaustive multi-volumed treatment, delightfully illustrated, copiously annotated, and intelligently indexed."?Donald J. Ratcliffe, History