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Male, France/US, born 1874-05-04, died 1929-06-04

Associated with the firms network

Carrere and Hastings, Architects; Champney, Edouard Frere, Architect; Gould and Champney, Architects; Hornblower and Marshall, Architects; Masqueray, E.L., Architect; United States Government, Department of the Treasury, Office of the Supervising Architect, Taylor, James Knox


Professional History

Résumé

Champney became one of Seattle's most cosmpolitan and best-educated architects when he came to the city in 1907. A recent graduate of Harvard University and the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts, Champney had worked for a well-connected firm in Washington, DC, before his arrival. His wide experience in France, not only during his time at the École, but earlier in his life traveling with his artistic parents, would have exposed him to the manifold cultural resources of that country, its food, language, art, literature, and building traditions and methods, strongly distinguishing him from less well-traveled American architects. America at this time was striving to take its place among the world's political powers, to educate itself in European (especially French) cultural standards, and to convince others globally that it was rapidly becoming a seat of taste and economic might.

Champney developed a remarkable résumé in the design of exposition buildings, having worked on pavilions and other structures at the Pan-American Expostion (1900), Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exposition (1904), Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905), Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909) and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915). He may have been the only architectural designer to have worked in some capacity in all of these fairs.

Draftsman, Carrère and Hastings, Architects, New York, NY, c. 1900. In this office, Champney contributed as a draftsman to the design of buildings at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, held between May and September 1901.

Draftsman, E.L. Masqueray, Architect, Saint Louis, MO, c. 1901-1903. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company enticed Masqueray to leave New York to serve as the chief designer for its planned exhibition in Saint Louis, MO, to be staged in commemoration of the centennial of the Louisiana Purchae in 1904. Champney was one of four architects--Walter Karcher, George Nagle, Frank Swales and himself--that Masqueray had brought with him from New York. (See Carol S. Porter, Meeting Louis at the Fair: The Projects & Photographs of Louis Clemens Spiering, World's Fair Architect, [Saint Louis, MO: Virginia Publishing, 2004], p. 51.) For Masqueray, he participated in the design of the Cascades at the base of the Festival Hall, the nearby Terrace of States, and the large Transportation and Agriculture Pavilions.

Designer, Office of the Supervising Architect of the US Treasury, Washington, DC, c. 1901-1902. According to architectural historian Dennis Alan Andersen, "he worked as designer on the U.S. Government Pavilion [1903-4, destroyed) for the Office of the Supervising Architect at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon." (See (See Dennis Alan Andersen, "Édouard Frère Champney," in Shaping Seattle Architecture, [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994], pp. 133- 134.)

Designer, Office of the Supervising Architect of the US Treasury, James Knox Taylor, Washington, DC, c. 1903.

Designer, E.L. Masqueray, Architect, Minneapolis, MN, c. 1904-1907.

Draftsman, Hornblower and Marshall, Architects, Washington, DC, c. 1903-1907. Joseph Coerten Hornblower (1848-1908) and James Rush Marshall (1851-1927) formed their partnership in 1883, and received a number of important commssions during the firm's existence, including the national Museum (later known as the National Museum of Natural History, 1904-1911) and the Baltimore Custom House (1907). the pair designed two residences in Washington State for Louis Hill in Seattle (1912) and one for Samuel Hill in Goldendale, WA, (later the Maryhill Museum of Fine Arts, 1916). Hornblower died in 1908, but the firm continued under the same name until at least 1920. Champney worked in the office when the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History was being designed.

At least some competing contemporary architects in New York did not look admiringly on Hornblower and Marshall's output. In the book Paris on the Potomac, authors Field, et al., noted that some East Coast academic architects looked down at the design expertise of Hornblower and Marshall c. 1905. The firm mixed in too many trendy Art Nouveau-influenced motifs for Beaux-Arts purists such as Charles Follen McKim. "When Hornblower and Marshall submitted a proposal for the Smithsonian's National Museum (Natural History Museum) with a central motif imitating that of Petit Palais, Charles McKim and construction supervisor Bernard Green were up in arms." (Field, et al., Paris on the Potomac, p. 27) They noted that McKim denigrated the firm's principals, saying that they relied on the design skills of a lowly subordinate, Édouard Frère Champney: "McKim confided to [Augustus] Saint-Gaudens: 'There is no doubt that Hornblower and Marshall should never have had charge of this important work. They have neither the experience or the initiative, and have depended wholly on the experience of a French draughtsman just out of school for their facade.' McKim was referring to Édouard Frère Champney, who was actually American." (See Cynthia R Field, Isabelle Gournay, Thomas P Somma, Paris on the Potomac: the French Influence on the Architecture and Art of Washington, D.C., [Athens, OH: Published for the United States Capitol Historical Society by Ohio University Press, 2007], p. 27., quoting Cynthia R. Field and Jeffrey T. Tilman, "Creating a Model for the National Mall: The Design of the National Museum of Natural History," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, March 2004, p. 52-73.) It is possible that Champney went to Hornblower and Marshall because he was given more design responsibility than that offered by other firms.

Draftsman, Howard and Galloway, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1908-1909. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1908, p. 326.)In Howard and Galloway's Seattle office, Champney worked on design work for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) of 1909. Working for Howard and Galloway, Champney would have come to know John Galen Howard (1864-1931), the consummate American Beaux-Arts architect, whose extensive network of business and personal connections, elegant architectural output and status as director of the University of California's new school of architecture, made him a key professional reference in West Coast architectural circles.

Partner, Champney and Remey, Architects, Portland, OR, 1910.

Partner, [Augustus Warren] Gould and Champney, Architects, Seattle, WA, c. 1910-1912. According to the Harvard Directory, 1910, (p. 119), mail for Champney was to be sent to the American Bank Builidng in Seattle.

Principal, Édouard Frère Champney, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1912. In 1912, Champney had an office in Room #236 of the Henry Building in Seattle.

Chief of Design, Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), San Francisco, CA, 1912-1915. According to the Western Architectof 11/1912: "E. Frere Champney, Seattle architect, with offices at 236 Henry building, has telegraphed to the directors of the Panama-Pacific exposition his acceptance of terms by which he becomes chief of design for the buildings of the big 1915 world's fair at San Francisco. Mr. Champney held a similar position for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition. He will have general charge of the architectural department of the fair and will design the buildings erected by the exposition company." (See "Seattle Architect Will Design Fair Buildings," Western Architect, 11/1912, vol. 18. no. 11, p. VI.)

In 09/1918, at the age of 44, Champney maintained his office in Room #537 of the Henry Building in Seattle's Downtown Metropolitan Tract. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Registration State: Washington; Registration County: King; Roll: 1991893; Draft Board: 06, accessed 02/03/2020.) Many of the leading businesses of Seattle, including most of its timber companies, maintained offices in the White-Henry-Stewart complex of office buildings in the 1910s and 1920s.

Principal, Édouard Frère Champney, Architect, Berkeley, CA, 1926-1929.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington Chapter, 1910-1911.

Member, Seattle Architectural Club, Seattle, WA, 1910.

Archives

Archival materials on the Champney Family, primarily on the work and lives of James Wells and Elizabeth Williams Champney, are held in the "Champney Papers, (1866-2002)," Manuscript Collection S 759.13 C453c, Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, MA.

Education

College

A.B.., Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1892-1896.

Dipl., École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1898-1899. He worked in the atelier of Victor Laloux (1850-1937), whose studio attracted many American students.

College Awards

He won a second prize in a competition within the Laloux atelier. (See Dennis Alan Andersen, "Édouard Frère Champney," in Shaping Seattle Architecture, Second Edition, [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014], p. 163.)

Personal

Relocation

Born in Écouen, France, Édouard Frère Champney spent his formative months in that country, but lived for most of his childhood in the US. Écouen, a northern suburb of Paris, developed as an artist's colony during the last half of the nineteenth century, forming a painting school around the prominent painter, Pierre Édouard Frère (1819-1886), for whom the architect was named. Of Écouen, the art historian Stanley Mazaroff has written: ""Frère resided in the small provincial town of Écouen, located eight miles north and a short train ride from Paris. Dominated by a beautiful sixteenth-century chateau, the town had a charm accentuated by its narrow alleys, small cottages with thatched roofs, and a population of ubiquitous sheep. However, the town was best known for the colony of artists who resided there. Collectively known as the Écouen school, the group was led by Frère and included Théophile-Emmanuel Duverger, August Schenck, Paul Signac, Paul-Constant Soyer, Antoine Emile Plassan and Charles Chaplin. In the style of Frère, this group of artists became well known for small paintings of tender domestic scenes featuring mothers and children of neighboring peasants. The popularity of this school blossomed in 1854, when Ernest Gambart, one of Europe's most powerful art dealers, entered into a long-term contract with Frère to sell his art. By the late 1850s, the so-called 'sympathetic art' produced by Écouen artists had become fashionable not only in France but it England and the United States as well." (See Stanley Mazaroff, A Paris Life, A Baltimore Treasure, [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018], p.60.)

As a child, he lived in New York, NY and Deerfield, MA, where his father maintained studios. His parents were active in the arts, his father being an artist, his mother a productive writer. Early in his life, his mother wrote an article for St. Nicholas; an Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks, entitled, "Édouard Frère and His Child Pictures." (See "Édouard Frère and His Child Pictures," St. Nicholas; an Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks,vol. 11, no. 2, 12/1882, p. 125.)

The 1880 US Census located Champney living in Deerfield, MA, at his maternal grandparents' house. His grandfather was Samuel B. Williams, (born c. 1804 in MA), in 1880 a retired probate judge, and his grandmother, Caroline E. Williams, (born c. 1818 in CT), who managed a large household. The household included Edouard, his parents and sister, and a servant, Alice Mahon, (born c. 1843 in MA). Additionally a "dependent" perhaps of Alice's) Harriet Abbot, (born c. 1825 un ME), lived in the judge's house, as did Alice's two daughters, Mary, (born c. 1873 in MA) and Katy, (born c. 1875 in MA). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Deerfield, Franklin, Massachusetts; Roll: 533; Page: 284C; Enumeration District: 265, accessed 02/07/2020.)

Following his time at the École, Champney returned to live and work in New York, NY. He worked for at least two prominent firms there, including Carrère and Hastings and E.L. Masqueray. The latter had worked for Carrère and Hastings between 1887 and 1892, and would set up an important Beaux-Arts atelier in New York during the period 1893-1901. Masqueray became responsible for architectural design at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis, MO, and he invited Champney to work on the fair's architecture with him. (See Carol S. Porter, Meeting Louis at the Fair: The Projects & Photographs of Louis Clemens Spiering, World's Fair Architect, [Saint Louis, MO: Virginia Publishing, 2004], p. 51.)

His next few years were transient, working in architectural offices in Saint Louis, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN.

Champney relocated to Seattle by late 1907 or early 1908. He had an apartment at The Perry Hotel, on the southwest corner of Madison Street and Boren Avenue, in 1908. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1908, p. 326.)According to the U.S. Census of 1910, Champney lived with his mother in the Madison Hotel at 1019 Madison Street in Seattle, WA; at the same time, the Beaux-Arts-trained architect, Carl F. Gould, Sr., (1873-1939), and another prominent Seattle architect, Joseph S. Coté (1874-1957), lived nearby in the same building.

Beginning around 1912, Champney began to shuttle back and forth from Seattle to the Bay Area, initially because he worked as a supervising designer of San Francisco's Panama Pacific International Exposition's (PPIE) buildings and grounds. (He had worked on three West Coast expositions, Portland, OR's Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition [1904-1905], Seattle's Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition [1907-1909] and San Francisco's PPIE between 1904-1915.)

In c. 1917-1920, Champney lived at 1001 Terry Avenue in an apartment building with his mother, Elizabeth, with whom he was close. Between 1915 and 1921, mother and son published three books, Romance of Old Belgium, from Cæsar to Kaiser, (New York & London : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1915), Romance of Old Japan, (New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1917) and Romance of Russia, from Rurik to Bolshevik, (London, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1921).

The architect moved permanently to Berkeley, CA, in 1926. He passed away in Alameda County, CA, at the age of 55.

Champney was buried in the Old Deerfield Burying Ground, Deerfield, MA. A memorial service held in Deerfield on 09/28/1930 for the whole family was mentioned in the New York Times, 09/26/1930. Dr. Howard Robbins of New York officiated. (See "Memorials," New York Times, 09/26/1930, p. 17.)

Parents

His father was James Wells Champney (born c. 1843 in Boston, MA-died 1903 in New York, NY), a painter and illustrator of some renown, his mother, Elizabeth Williams Champney (born 02/06/1850 in Springfield, OH-died 10/13/1922 in Seattle, WA), a well-known writer; James attended the Lowell Institute, taking classes in anatomy from the noted physician and writer Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., (1809-1894). He illustrated the cover of her travel book, "Romance of a Feudal Chateau," (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1899), listed as one of the New York Times's "100 Best Books" of 1899. Elizabeth's parents came from New England, her father born in MA, her mother, CT, but the family lived in OH and KS.

J. Wells "Champ" Champney and Elizabeth Williams Champney met initially while she was a student at the Young Ladies Seminary in Lexington, MA, and he was a drawing teacher there between 1864-1866. Not long after her graduation from Vassar, they married in 1873. Champ and Elizabeth worked together closely, he often illustrating stories she authored. Her stories, conversely, often described their foreign travels together, allowing him to paint. He died in 1903 when he fell down an elevator shaft in New York, NY.

A profile of Elizabeth Williams Champney indicatred that she was very productive writer of magazine articles, including numerous travel articles and 40 books of young adult fiction. In addition, she was active in various heritage, educational, religious and social welfare groups: "She is vice-president of the Messiah Home for Children, New York City, and is a member of the Congregational Church, the Society of Colonial Dames, the Vassar Alumnae, American Historical Association, and the Wednesday Afternoon and Sorosis Clubs of New York City. Mrs. Champney is familiar with France by many tours and long residence in that country and has made occasional visits to Italy and other parts of Europe. Address: 'The Elmstead' (her ancestral home), Deerfield, Mass." (See "Champney, Elizabeth Williams:" Men and Women of America A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries, (New York: L.R. Hamersly and Company, 1910), p. 320.)

Edouard had a sister, Marie Mitchel Champney (born 09/18/1876 in Deerfield, MA-died 12/01/1906 in New Rochelle, NY), who graduated from Vassar College like her mother and became an artist like her father. She later married a New York architect, John Sanford Humphreys (1875-1958), but died at age 30. Édouard was named for the famous painter and Champ's mentor, Pierre Édouard Frère (1819-1886), James had had in France. Pierre Édouard Frère lived and died in Écouen, the art colony town in which Édouard was born in 1874. (See "The Studios of Ecouen; A French Colony of Artists," New York Times, 03/12/1881.) J. Wells and Elizabeth named Marie in honor of an astronomy professor Elizabeth had had at Vassar.

Spouse

For a number of years around 1915, Champney was considered one of the most eligible bachelors in Seattle, WA. In the article, "Bargains in Bachelors," (appearing the Town Crier, 02/05/1916), Champney was listed as the third most eligible in the city behind Bill Boeing, proprietor of the aircraft company. Up until at least 1920, Champney lived with his mother and was not married. His headstone bore the inscription, "h/o Mary Alice Robins Champney," with h/o standing for "husband of." (Her name may have been spelled "Robbins." This was how it appeared in the New York Times obituary for E.F. Champney on 06/17/1929, (p. 17.) A "Mary K. Champney" (born c. 1883 in PA) lived in Berkeley, CA, according to the US Census of 1930; she married at age 40. If this was Edouard's wife, she married him c. 1923, the year after his mother died.

Mary lived in a $70-a-month residence, at 2369 LeConte Avenue. Two women, Champney and Kathleen Keating, a librarian, lived at this address.

Children

Édouard and Mary did not have any children.

Biographical Notes

His name has been frequently anglicized to "Edward," although it was properly spelled, "Édouard."

His personality has been characterized as personable, but withdrawn.

Champney arrived in New York aboard the passenger liner, Germanic on 10/03/1890; he was 17 years old and was accompanied by his family.

Champney sailed from Brussels, Belgium to New York, NY arriving there on 09/25/1894 aboard the Noordland; on 04/24/1896, he was an "art student" living in New York, NY, when he applied for a passport for study abroad. Champney estimated that he would stay "about four years" abroad. (He would study at the French architectural academy, the École des Beaux-Arts, for at least two years, 1898 and 1899.)

At age 21, Champney stood 5-feet, 11-and-1/2-inches tall. His US passport application indicated that he had blueish gray eyes, average forehead, medium mouth, round chin, full face, "retroussé" (turned up at the end) nose, fair Caucasian complexion, and dark brown hair.

Champney sailed from Le Havre aboard the La Lorraine arriving in New York on 08/20/1904.

In 1911, he and his mother took a trip to Asia; they boarded the S.S. Manchuria at Kobe, Japan, on 09/16/1911, and proceeded to Shimidzu, Japan, (09/17), Yokohama, Japan, (09/19), Honolulu, HI, (09/29), before arriving in San Francisco, CA, on 10/05/1911. He and his mother each carried 3 pieces of luggage, indicating that it was a relatively long trip.

Champney had a poem, "Canoe Song," published in the collection "Cap and Gown," Second Series, edited by Frederic Lawrence Knowles, c. 1900, p. 68. This poem was published originally in the Harvard Advocate.


PCAD id: 2498