James Betelle, Where Are You?

The Search for a Lost Architect

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An architect who agrees to design a building for an absurdly small fee has but little respect for his services—but then he probably knows what they are worth. — James O. Betelle

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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