James Betelle, Where Are You?

The Search for a Lost Architect

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To be good architecture, the design of the exterior of the building should express the character and purpose for which the interior of the building is used, as “truthful expression” is just as desirable in architecture as it is in all other things in life. — James O. Betelle, The American School Board Journal, April, 1919

Betelle Retires

September 12th, 2006 · No Comments · Biographical

In a hand-written letter to the American Institute of Architects, Betelle announced his (very deserved, in my opinion) retirement. It’s not specified what the bill he requests is for (probably his dues), nor, unfortunately, did my photocopy show his new office address. The letter was dated received by the AIA December 21st, 1939. Courtesy of the American Institute of Architects Archives.

Dear Mr. Kemper:-

Holiday Greeting to you! You have probably heard that I have closed up Shop – in other words, Retired after 30 years successful practice. I decided I owed myself some years of leisure and as I could afford to take it, here I am “out of a job” & no place to go–but so far I rather like it.

Please send me my bill to my temporary office address given below–will give permanent address soon as I am definitely settled.

Best wishes to you + the Inst.

Sincerely yours


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