This web site was featured in the New Jersey Star-Ledger on Friday, January 4th. The column, Jersey Blogs, was a Q&A with staff writer Kelly Heyboer conducted in early December.
Any exposure for this arcane subject is welcome, and the article certainly gained a nice bit of readership. If you’ve discovered this site from reading the article, glad to have you here. Poke around, ask questions.
The whole interview can be read at Heyboer’s blog.
In my entry regarding the Franklin Murphy house, I ruminated that it was the only known residential structure designed by Guilbert & Betelle. As it turns out, I was wrong.
I’ve recently had the privilege of corresponding with members of the Guilbert family, who have shown a keen interest in my research. Given the circumstances of Ernest’s early death, they didn’t really know much about him, so I was happy to share what little I had discovered.
Fortunately, discovery is a two-way street: the Guilberts had a number of items dating back to Ernest’s day, and were gracious enough to send them to me for study.
It was inevitable I would begin writing externally about this web site’s titular subject. To that end, I’ve had a small article published in Matters, a community magazine based in Maplewood, New Jersey. Titled New Jersey Gothic: James Betelle and the Schools of South Orange and Maplewood, it appears, appropriately enough, in the August “Back to School” edition.
The article is a brief overview of Betelle’s career and the schools he designed for the towns. There’s no information that isn’t already at this website, but I think it’s a good introduction to the subject.
If James Betelle was a mystery when this project began, than Ernest F. Guilbert, his partner, was a mystery wrapped in an enigma encased in a block of lucite. There was–and is–very little information regarding this architect who clearly had a strong influence on Betelle.
Today the mystery is lessened. I found his obituary in the Newark Evening News of Friday, December 1, 1916, the same day of his death. It provides as good a biography of Guilbert as we’re likely to get.
Happy accidents are rare in the musty world of research, so I do all I can to make them happen. To that end, if I’ve gotten hold of a paper or journal with a specific article I need, I don’t leave it at that. I will comb the entire volume, and even flanking issues, in the unlikely hopes of stumbling upon some thing good.
In the issue of Pencil Points I wrote about previously, I did just that; after reading the sought-after article, I flipped through the rest of the magazine. My eye, attuned to catching James Betelle’s likeness and name in print, saw this photo immediately. It’s attached to an article on the “A. W. Brown Traveling Scholarship Competition for 1931,” to which Betelle served on the jury of five architects.