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Male, US, born 1867-08-15, died 1961-12-14

Associated with the firm network

Palmer, Hornbostel and Jones, Architects

Professional History


Hornbostel traveled a great deal throughout his life, entering design competitions and consulting with other architectural firms. He worked in loose affiliations with other architects including John Mead Howells (1868-1959), Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867-1944), George E. Wood (born c. 1862), George C. Palmer (1861-1934), Sullivan W. Jones (1878-1955), and Eric Fischer Wood (1889-1962). Early in his career, he supplemented his income as a renderer consulting with New York architectural firms to produce presentation drawings for important commissions. Hornbostel had remarkable drafting skills, putting his availability as a presentation drawing consultant, in high demand. His clients included the crème de la crème of the profession, McKim Mead and White, Carrère and Hastings and others.

It was his good fortune to live in an industrial America that was growing rich, and, using this prosperity, it could reshape and enlarge both its utilitarian infrastructure and cultural institutions. Hornbostel made significant contributions to American city hall design, designing buildings in Pittsburgh, Wilimington, DE, Hartford, CT, and Oakland, CA, as well as bridge design in New York City. Perhaps his most notable contribution was in university design. He teamed with Howells and Stokes to take second place in the important campus planning competition backed by Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919) for the University of California, Berkeley (1898-1899). He won, with Wililam Palmer, the planning competition for the new Carnegie Technical Schools campus in Pittsburgh (1904-1905) and, his firm, Hornbostel, Palmer and Jones, gained the commission to design 13 buildings at Emory University in Atlanta, GA (1914-1919). (Thank you to Catherine Westergaard for her information on Emory University, 08/11/2016.)

Hornbostel made a significant architectural impact on various cities, perhaps most deeply in Pittsburgh. His work at the Carnegie Technical Schools, (renamed the Carnegie Institute of Technology [1912] and, after its merger with the Mellon Institute, Carnegie Mellon University [1967]), was literally and metaphorically foundational. The Carnegie Mellon University Architectural Archives said of his importance to the city: "Henry Hornbostel began work in Pittsburgh in 1904 when he won the Carnegie Technical Schools Competition for design of the campus that is now Carnegie Mellon University. As the founder of the Carnegie Tech Department of Architecture and as architect for numerous prominent buildings such as the Temple Rodef Shalom (1904), the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall (1907) and the City-County Building (1915-1917, with Edward B. Lee), Hornbostel played an important role in shaping Pittsburgh's architectural image in the first decades of the 20th century." (See Carnegie Mellon University Architectural Archives, "Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961) Collection," accessed 08/11/2016.) His Beaux-Arts-honed skills elevated Pittsburgh's architectural profile, giving a rough-hewn industrial city a number of highly sophisticated cultural buildings equal to those in New York or other "cultivated" places in the US or Europe.

Summer intern, Wood and Palmer, Architects, New York, NY, 1890-1893; Partner, Raymond and Hornbostel, Architects, New York, NY, c. 1897; Partner, Wood, Palmer and Hornbostel, c. 1897-1905; (He partnered with his former bosses.) Partner, Palmer and Hornbostel, Architects, Pittsburgh, PA, c. 1905-1910; Partner, Palmer, Hornbostel and Jones, Architects, New York, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA, c. 1910-1919; Major, American Expeditionary Force (AEF), France, 1917-1919. Hornbostel's involvement with Hornbostel, Palmer and Jones waned while he served in the Army, and probably led to his withdrawal from it following the World War I. The firm had an extensive commission at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, from 1914-1919, one of the firm's last major commissions.

Partner, Hornbostel and [Eric Fischer] Wood, Pittsburgh, PA, 1920s; Director of Aviation, Allegheny County, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, 1936; Director of Parks, Allegheny County, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, 1936-1939.


Instructor, Columbia University, School of Architecture, New York, NY, 1897-1900; Hornbostel instructed advanced, fourth-year students in design. Lecturer, Columbia University, School of Architecture, New York, NY, 1900-1903; Maître, Atelier Hornbostel, New York, NY, 1906-1914; Founding Professor/Head, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, Pittsburgh, PA, 1905-1917; Patron, Department of Architecture, Pittsburgh, PA, 1908-1937;

Professional Activities

Hornbostel was one of the founding member of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, an organization best known for sponsoring a highly-publicized, yearly design competition for architects. With his friend and patron, Lloyd Warren, he assisted in the foundation of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York, NY, 1916;

Professional Awards

Honorary M.A., Columbia University, New York, NY, 1910; Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1926;


B.Architecture, Columbia University, School of Architecture, New York, NY, 1887-1891; Diplome, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1894-1897. Hornbostel studied in the studio of Paul-René-Léon Ginain (b. 1825), an academician who won the Ecole's Prix de Rome in 1852. Previously, the New York architect, John Carrère (1858-1911), of the prestigious firm of Carrère and Hastings, had studied with Ginain. At Columbia, Hornbostel graduated as one of his class's best students, an expert in perspective drawing. He also excelled at the Ecole, where he gained the reputation as the "premier Americain," the most talented American student.

Carnegie Mellon University possesses the Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961) Collection; it described the collection: "The Hornbostel Collection consists of hundreds of renderings, drawings, blueprints, photostats, photographs and specifications. These items document more than fifty Hornbostel projects. Many of the items in the collection were originally given to the Department of Architecture by Hornbostel's estate. All major Hornbostel buildings at Carnegie Mellon are represented by sets of ink-on-linen working drawings. More personal records include a partial autobiography, and a sketchbook and diary from Hornbostel's 1893 European tour prior to his enrollment at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris." (See "Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961) Collection,"Accessed 04/11/2012.)



Hornbostel, an energetic, gregarious and fun-loving personality, lived in New York, NY, for most of the period 1867-1894 and 1897-1905; he spent 1894-1897 in Paris, France, studying there, and traveling on the continent. At the invitation of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), he transferred his main operations to Pittsburgh, PA, where he established the new architecture department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, founded in 1905. Hornbostel also operated the dominant architectural firm in the city. Although he worked a great deal in Pittsburgh, PA, between 1905-1920, Hornbostel retained his permanent residence in New York, living during the 1910s at 311 West 77th Street. He shuttled frequently between the two cities, juggling teaching, running his firm and consulting. During World War I, he served as an officer for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), from 1917-1919 in Europe; he apparently worked with poisonous gas supplies used in battle. Following the war, he and his wife, Martha, moved their residence to Pittsburgh, PA. In 1924, after his sons were out of the house, he and Martha moved into quarters into extensive Schenley Apartments (1922-1924), a building complex that he designed with his partner Eric Fischer Wood and the Boston firm of Rutan and Russell. He stayed busy through the 1920s, but the Depression wrecked his architectural firm, and he was forced to take public service work with the Parks Department of Allegheny County. He retired at age 72 and moved to a large farm in Harwinton, CT, in 1939, where he designed only occasionally. He and his second wife, Mabelle, moved to Melbourne Beach, FL, in 1952, where he lived for the next nine years until his death. Henry lived only two months longer than Mabelle.


Henry Hornbostel married Martha Armitage (d. 1931) in 1899 in NY. Following Martha's death, he married Mabelle Weston (d. 10/1961) in 1932. She taught at the Peabody High School, Pittsburgh, PA, when they met.


He and Martha Armitage had two sons: Lloyd (b. 08/01/1900- d. 09/1964) and Caleb (b. 09/23/1905-d. 1991). Caleb became an architect and the author of several architectural textbooks including Architectural Detailing, (written with Elmer A. Bennett), (New York: Reinhold, 1952), Construction Materials : Types, Uses, and Applications, (New York: Wiley, 1978) and Materials and Methods for Contemporary Construction (with William J Hornung), (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982).

Biographical Notes

Hornbostel was known by the nicknames "Horny" or "Major," the latter for his World War I rank in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). While a student at the Ecole in the mid-1890s, he took a tour through Italy accompanied by the composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Hornbostel voted Democratic consistently throughout his life.

Associated Locations

  • Melbourne Beach, FL (Architect's Death)
    Melbourne Beach, FL

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  • Brooklyn, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Brooklyn, NY

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PCAD id: 2088