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

“A Simple But Impressive Ceremony”

October 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Biographical

James Betelle’s death is one of the more curious aspects of his story.  He died in Italy, ending up in an unmarked pauper’s grave, while in Delaware, a stone with his name on it sits quietly in an old cemetery. How did he come to be buried (as it were), in two places? I’ve already […]

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The Point of Pencils

June 20th, 2009 · No Comments · Biographical, Miscellaneous

The output of new works from Guilbert & Betelle plummeted in the 1930s, as the Depression caused a suspension of school infrastructure programs. The firm layed off most of the staff, which numbered over 200 just a few years earlier. Reduced to minor, low profile jobs—building service upgrades, interior renovations—James Betelle had little need to […]

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Marie Betelle Sleeps with the Fishes

September 5th, 2006 · No Comments · Diary

This morning I went down to the Surrogate Court Building in New York to find information on Marie Betelle. According to her obituary, she died living in NYC, so I was hoping to both find a copy of her will and perhaps see what her building looked like (my first walk around that area revealed […]

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Luck Be a Lady Betelle

August 27th, 2006 · No Comments · Diary

As satisfying as it is to find an elusive publication, photograph or news item I had been looking for, even more thrilling is finding material I wasn’t looking for. I had a lot of this recently. Last week I came into posession a stack of letter between Betelle and Pierre S. duPont regarding the schools […]

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“A Great Architect”

August 13th, 2006 · No Comments · Articles, Biographical

This article appeared in the October, 1929 issue of Fortune Story magazine. Fortune Story was a 15¢ pulp magazine filled with these kinds of up-lifting, moralistic tales aimed at impressionable younger readers. The only new information it garnered was G&B’s first office being “in an attic room over an art store”, but the writing is […]

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