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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Down Wilmington Way

May 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Architecture, Biographical, Diary

In March, 2008, I took a three-day excursion to James Betelle’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. My plan was to visit a few research libraries, see significant locations, and, well, just get a sense of where Betelle came from. What follows is a recreation of the trip presented in the dramatic diary format. Thursday, March 13. […]

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Hallowed Ground

September 3rd, 2007 · 1 Comment · Biographical, Diary

I finally visited Ernest Guilbert’s gravesite. I had made an attempt a while ago, but the office was closed. Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ, is over 150 acres, so I wasn’t about to look the hard way. I went directly to the office, a charming little Mansard Victorian building near the main gate. The clerk […]

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Unfinished Stones

April 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments · Biographical, Diary

After a 4-6 week wait, I finally received a copy of James Betelle’s will from the New Jersey State Archives (along with some court documents, which I will discuss at a later date). I had already seen a few pages from a 1930 version, acquired from the American Institute of Architect’s archives. Written when Betelle […]

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Lux Aeterna Luceat Eis

December 10th, 2006 · 2 Comments · Biographical, Diary

James Betelle died in Florence, Italy on June 3rd, 1954. This I have known since my earliest research into the man, and indeed many obituaries, biographies and articles point this out. What I have noticed is that one reference is merely copying an earlier one; often turns of phrase in one article can clearly be […]

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