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Male, born 1848-03-03, died 1908-08-21

Associated with the firm network

Hornblower and Marshall, Architects

Professional History


Draftsman, U.S. Government, Treasury Department, Office of the Supervising Architect, c. 1875.

Partner, Hornblower and [William M.] Poindexter, Architects, Washington, DC, 1877-1878.

Principal, Joseph C. Hornblower, Architect, Washington, DC, 1879-1883. His office was located in the Corcoran Building in Washington, DC, c. 1880.

Partner, Hornblower and Marshall, Architects, Washington, DC, 1883-1908.

Hornblower and Marshall operated one of the most successful architecture firms in Washington, DC, having designed 9 major commissions for the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC, 1893-1911), the George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC, ), the U.S. Custom House (Baltimore, MD, 1903-1907) and many upper class townhouses in the DuPont Circle area of the capital. The Hornblower and Marshall design for the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) of the Smithsonian, located on the Mall in Washington, DC, drew the ire of noted New York architect, Charles Follen McKim (1847-1909) who decried its plagiarism of the Petit Palais (1898-1900) in Paris, France. (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.)

After Hornblower's death, J. Rush Marshall continued to operate the office until c. 1920.


Head, Columbian University (renamed George Washington University in 1904), Department of Architecture, Washington, DC, 1895-1900.

Instructor in Architectural History, Columbian University / George Washington University, Department of Architecture, Washington, DC, 1900-1906.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Metropolitan Chapter, 1893- .

Member, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Architectural Advistory Committee, Saint Louis, MO, c. 1901-1904.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (AIA).



B.Phil., Yale University, Sheffield Scientific School, New Haven, CT, 1869. According to Anne Peterson's book, Hornblower & Marshall, Architects: "Unlike most of the men in the family, who attended Princeton University, Joseph enrolled in the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, from which he graduated in 1869 with a bachelor of philosophy degree. Records at Yale indicate that Hornblower studied architecture in the United States after his graduation." (See Anne E. Peterson, Hornblower & Marshall, Architects, [Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1978], p. 7.)

Hornblower studied with Jean-Louis Pascal (1837-1920) in Paris, France, during 1875 and 1876. Peterson stated: "Allthough several biographical sketches describe Hornblower as a student at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, there is no evidence of this in the school records. It is certain, however, that he studied in the atelier, or studio, of Jean-Louis Pascal. The ateliers, where students learned drafting and design, supplemented the instruction at the École des Beaux-Arts in an informal but essentially integrated program." (See Anne E. Peterson, Hornblower & Marshall, Architects, [Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1978], p. 7.)

Hornblower's experience in the Pascal studio would have carried great prestige in the US during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. As Peterson noted, "American participation in the architectural program at the École des Beaux-Arts or in an atelier was rare in the 1870s and was a source of status. Hornblower was among the first 30 or so Americans to study in Paris. Little distinction seems to have been made in the United States between those who attended the École des Beaux-Arts and those who worked in the ateliers." (See Anne E. Peterson, Hornblower & Marshall, Architects, [Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1978], p. 7.) This last point may be debateable, but, early on, during the 1870s and 1880s, studying in an atelier only did prove very prestigious. As more students went on to gain entrance to the École itself after 1890, the distinction may have carried more weight.



Born in Paterson, NJ, Joseph Hornblower spent his early years in that state. He attended Yale University as a young adult. In 1874, he worked as an architectural draftsman in Washington,DC, where he stayed for one year, before traveling to Paris, France, for more architectural training. He returned to the US by the Centennial of 1876, and had moved back to Washington, DC, by 1877, where he started an architectural partnership with William M. Poindexter.

Hornblower and Marshall lived at the same address in Washington, DC, in 1877.

During one of his European architectural study tours, Hornblower suffered a heart attack in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 08/21/1904.


His father was William Henry Hornblower (-1883), a Presbyterian minister, who served as Pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Paterson, NJ, between 1848 and 1871. He moved to the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, PA, where he was a Professor of Church Government and Pastoral Theology from 1871 until his death in 1883. His mother was Matilda Butler Hornblower.

His paternal grandfather, also named Joseph Coerten Hornblower (1777-1864), was a lawyer and jurist, who became Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Joseph was the first of three children. His siblings included William Butler Hornblower, who became a NY lawyer, and Helen Hornblower Stevenson, who spent her life in Paterson.


He wed Caroline Bradley (1847-1934), who was a first cousin. Her mother was Mary Hornblower Bradley, and her father, Joseph P. Bradley, an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.


He and Caroline had no children.

Biographical Notes

Hornblower applied for a passport to go abroad on 07/17/1869 and 06/07/1875 (to attend the École des Beaux-Arts). In 1875, his business partner, J.C. Marshall (1851-1927), served as witness to the proceeding.

Member, Cosmos Club, Washington, DC, 1883- .

President , Cosmos Club, Washington, DC.

Member, Metropolitan Club, Washington, DC.

Member, Chevy Chase Club, Chevy Chase, MD.

Member, University Club, New York, NY.

Member, Century Club, New York, NY.

Member, National Arts Club, New York, NY.

Hornblower took three trips to Europe between 1902 and 1908, to prepare himself for the design of museums for the Smithsonian Institution and for the planning of the US Custom House in Baltimore, MD.

Associated Locations

  • The Hague, The Netherlands (Architect's Death)
    The Hague, The Netherlands

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  • Paterson, NJ (Architect's Birth)
    Paterson, NJ

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PCAD id: 3862