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Male, US, born 1858-11-30, died 1936-04-01

Associated with the firms network

Coolidge and Shattuck, Architects; Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch Abbott, Architects; Richardson, H.H., Architect; Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (SBRA); Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, Architects

Professional History


Draftsman, Henry Hobson Richardson, Architect, Fall 1882-04/1886.

Partner, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, Architects, Boston, MA, 1886-1914; Coolidge had a major hand in the design of Stanford University's Campus in the 1880s. Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge opened a Chicago branch office in 1907, of which Charles Hodgdon (1886-1953) served as Manager; this office became a separate firm known as "Coolidge and Hodgdon," Chicago, Il, 1914-1930. (After Coolidge retired from this partnership, the Chicago firm became known as Charles Hodgdon and Son, Architects, Chicago, IL, 1930-1945.)

Partner, Coolidge and [George C.] Shattuck, Boston, MA, 1914-07/1924.

Partner, Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1924-1936. Coolidge's greatest commission was that for Stanford University's Quadrangle; his New York Times obituary began: "Charles Allerton Coolidge, prominent Boston architect and Harvard graduate, who designed the buildings of Stanford University and other important works throughout the United States...." (See "Charles Coolidge, Architect, Is Dead," New York Times, 04/02/1936, p. 25.) His firms designed a great many other notable university/institutional buildings, including the Sprague Music Building at Yale University, New Haven, CT; Harper Memorial Library, Gymnasium, Commons and Assembly Hall at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Art Institute, Chicago, IL; the Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL; John Nicholas Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, RI; and Rockefeller Institute, New York, NY.

Professional Awards

Honorary Doctor of Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1908.


B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1881; B.S., Arch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, 1883.

Coolidge was an original editorial board member of the Harvard University humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon, founded in 1876.



Born in Boston, MA, Coolidge continued to lived there for most of his life. He was born 11/30/1858 (not 12/1859 as has been widely reported) at 74 Chestnut Street and he continued to reside here past 1880; in 1900, he lived with almost all of his extended family--including sisters-in-law--at 114 Commonwealth Avenue in what must have been an enormous urban residence. By 1910, at least, he and his family lived in their own dwelling at 82 Marlborough Street. Charles Coolidge lived a well-to-do existence, as in each house he lived, there were multiple servants, ranging from 2-4. Coolidge traveled a great deal for work, and he spent extended periods at Stanford, CA, during the building of Stanford University in the 1880s. Most of his other building projects were located from Chicago, IL, on east. Coolidge collapsed while eating dinner with his daughter, Mary, and her family, suffering "a paralytic stroke, which soon proved fatal." He died in Locust Valley, Long Island, NY. (See "Charles Coolidge, Architect, Is Dead," New York Times, 04/02/1936, p. 25.)


His parents were David Hill Coolidge, Sr., (1833-1907), a Boston lawyer, and Isabella Shurtleff Coolidge (born 1835), who managed the household. David and Isabella had four children: Charles, Isabella (born 12/1861), David H., Jr., (born 12/1864) and Frederick Shurtleff Coolidge, M.D., (12/1865-05/16/1915).


Charles Coolidge married Julia Shepley (09/1856-1935) of Saint Louis, MO, in 1889; she died in Boston, MA, in 1935, about 8 months before Charles. Julia was the elder sister of his partner, George Foster Shepley, Sr., (1861-1903).


Coolidge had four children, three daughters and a son: Mary, born 06/1892, who later became Mrs. Gordon S. Rentschler; Gordon Rentschler served as President and Chairman of the Board of the National City Bank of New York; Isabella, born 09/1893, (who became Mrs. Isabel Cunningham of Cambridge, MA), and Julia Shepley (born 01/1896) (who became Mrs. Frederick Deane of Boston, MA); Charles A. Coolidge, Jr., (born 10/1894), lawyer, of Boston, MA.

Biographical Notes

Member/President, Society of the Cincinnati, Massachusetts Chapter, Boston, MA.

Chevalier, Legion of Honor; Member, United States Commission of Fine Arts, Washington, DC.

Member, Somerset Club, Boston, MA.

Member, Harvard Club of Boston, MA.

Member, Harvard Club of New York, NY.

Member, Harvard University, Board of Overseers, Cambridge, MA.

Member, the Century Club, New York, NY.

Associated Locations

  • Locust Valley, NY (Architect's Death)
    Locust Valley, NY

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  • Boston, MA (Architect's Birth)
    Boston, MA

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PCAD id: 718