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

Associated with the firms network

Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch Abbott, Architects; Coolidge and Shattuck, 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.

In 1906, Charles A .Coolidge had a business address in Room #1780 of the Old Colony Building in Chicago. (See Chicago Architectural Club, Nineteenth Annual Exhibition of the Chicago Architectural Club MCMVI, March Twenty-Ninth-April Eighteenth, [Chicago: Munro and Southworth, 1906], n.p.)

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 Activities

Member, Chicago Architectural Club, Chicago, IL. Coolidge joined the Chicago Archtiectural Club in 1894, and remained a member in 1906. (See Chicago Architectural Club, Nineteenth Annual Exhibition of the Chicago Architectural Club MCMVI, March Twenty-Ninth-April Eighteenth, [Chicago: Munro and Southworth, 1906], n.p.)

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.

The Collidges lived in Chicago, IL, during the period 1894-1896, at least. That was where Charles and Julia Coolidge's two youngest children were born. Charles joined the Chicago Architectural Club in 1894.

In 1900, he lived with almost all of his extended family--including his parents, brother and sister-in-law--at 114 Commonwealth Avenue in what must have been an enormous urban residence. At this time, 11 family members lived here, led by the family patriarch, David H. Collidge and matriarch, Isabella Shurtleff Coolidge, their two sons and their wives and five grandchildren. Additionally, three servants lived here, including Annie Carter (born c. 03/1855 in Canada), Jenette Henderson (born 06/1874 in Canada) and Agnes Leary, (born 03/1865 in MA), the cook. (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Boston Ward 11, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 1317; FHL microfilm: 1240680, accessed 03/18/2019.)

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. In 1910, there were four: Catherine Kelley (born c. 1858 in MA), Kathleen Daly (born c. 1885 in Ireland), Katherine Morrissey (born c. 1880 in Ireland) and Mary Kelley (born c. 1875 in Ireland). (See, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Boston Ward 11, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_618; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 1421; FHL microfilm: 1374631, accessed 03/18/2019.)

They remained at this address ten years later, according to the 1920 US Census. In 1920, only Katherine Morrissey remained as a servant from 1910, and two other young women were employed, Bridget Fitzgerald (born 1895 in Ireland) and Delia McDermott (born c. 1872 in Ireland). (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Boston Ward 8, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_742; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 231, accessed 03/18/2019.)

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.

In 1912, they resided at a summer house in Marion, MA. This was the Coolidge address listed in Boston's Summer Social Register 1912, (p. 500).

Coolidge collapsed while eating dinner with his daughter, Mary, and her family, suffering "a paralytic stroke, which soon proved fatal." He died in the well-to-do Nassau County city of Locust Valley, NY. (See "Charles Coolidge, Architect, Is Dead," New York Times, 04/02/1936, p. 25.) He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA.


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 (born 10/06/1856 Saint Louis, MO-d. 07/21/1935 in Marion, MA) of Saint Louis, MO, on 10/30/1889 in Boston, MA; 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) and came from a family of prominent lawyers in both Maine and Missouri.


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 01/30/1896 in Chicago, IL) (who became Mrs. Frederick Deane of Boston, MA); Charles A. Coolidge, Jr., (born 10/13/1894 in Chicago, IL), lawyer, of Boston, MA.

Youngest child Julia Shepley Coolidge traveled in France between 10/1913 and 06/1914 and from 06/1914 until 10/1914 in Switzerland, and worked as an 23-year-old, YMCA, canteen worker in the Orkney Islands in 1919. She wrote about her wartime experiences in the book, The Overseas War Record of the Winsor School, 1914–1919.She and her husband, Frederick Deane, moved to China in 1921.

In 1936, Charles A. Coolidge, Jr., worked as a lawyer in the Boston firm of Ropes, Gray, Boyden and Perkins, and lived at 567 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA. (See Boston, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1936, p. 903.) He married Alison Jones. They traveled to Europe aboard the S.S. Rotterdam during the summer of 1922. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1968; Volume #: Roll 1968 - Certificates: 169350-169725, 13 May 1922-15 May 1922, accessed 03/18/2019.)

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.

On 01/06/1921, Coolidge applied for a US Passport to enable him to travel to Cuba to visit his daughter. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1462; Volume #: Roll 1462 - Certificates: 129500-129875, 13 Jan 1921-14 Jan 1921, accessed 03/18/2019.)

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