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Charles Follen McKim


Charles Follen McKim (August 24, 1847September 14, 1909) was one of the most prominent American Beaux-Arts architects of the late nineteenth century. He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, August 24, 1847. Along with Stanford White, he provided the architectural expertise as a member of the partnership McKim, Mead, and White. He was named after Charles Follen, noted abolitionist and Unitarian minister.

McKim studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris before joining the office of Henry Hobson Richardson in 1870. McKim formed his own firm in partnership with William Rutherford Mead, joined in 1877 by fellow Richardson protegé Stanford White. For ten years, the firm was primarily known for their open-plan informal summer houses. McKim became best known, however, as an exponent of Beaux-Arts architecture in styles that exemplified the American Renaissance, exemplified by the Boston Public Library (1887), and several works in New York City: the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University (1893), the University Club of New York (1899), the Pierpont Morgan Library (1903), New York Penn Station (1904–10), and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio (1919).

McKim received numerous awards during his lifetime, including the Medaille d'Or at the 1900 Paris Exposition, a gold medal from Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1877, and received the AIA's gold medal, posthumously, in 1909.

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