Goldwin Goldsmith (1871-1962)


Goldsmith, Goldwin

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    deceased 01/03/1962
Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    KS; TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1911-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1930

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Born in Paterson, New Jersey on June 12, 1871, Goldwin Goldsmith received his early education in New York City. Following his high school graduation, he worked as an office assistant and draftsman (1888-1890) at the firm of McKim Mead and White where he was introduced to the principles of the Beaux-Arts tradition. While working there he decided upon architecture as his chosen profession and accordingly entered the School of Architecture at Columbia University. He graduated in 1896 with a Ph.D. degree. Immediately after graduation he married Gertrude Relief Sumner and took a year's honeymoon in Europe where he pursued graduate study at the Atelier Dusay in Paris. When Goldsmith took breaks from studying, he and his wife toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland and England riding a tandem bicycle. The Smithsonian Institution now houses that bicycle.
Upon his return to the United States, Goldsmith established a firm in New York with Joseph Van Vleck, Jr. The firm, Van Vleck and Goldsmith maintained an office at 156 Fifth Avenue and flourished from 1897-1913. Among its designs were: the Young Men's Christian Association (1899), the First Methodist Episcopal Church (1899) and the Madison Building (1906) in Montclair, New Jersey; the Copper Queen Hotel (1909) in Bisbie, Arizona; and residences at 1026, 1027, and 1028 Madison Avenue in New York City.
The early years of the 20th century saw architecture schools springing up at colleges and universities across the Midwest. Administrators looked for teachers among professional architects in the East who were well versed in the principles of the Ecole des Beaux- Arts, the premiere architecture school at that time. The University of Kansas called upon Goldsmith in 1913 to establish its school.
Goldsmith's success at the University of Kansas (1913-28) earned him a national reputation in the field of architectural education. He served as Vice-President (1925-1927) and President (1927-1929) of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and was responsible for drafting their "minimum standards," the precursor to the accreditation program now in existence.
In 1928, the University of Texas at Austin hired Goldsmith as Chairman of its Architecture Department. During his tenure, the Department of Architecture's curriculum was increased from a four-year to a five-year program and a new building (designed by Paul Cret) was completed. Goldsmith resigned as chairman of the department in 1935 to devote more time to his passion for teaching. His course in specifications was highly regarded for its rigor and he authored a book, Architects Specifications: How To Write Them, 1935, which became the standard text for the course. He donated the proceeds of this book to the scholarship fund of the American Institute of Architects.
Goldsmith's professional services included: member of the AIA Advisory Council on Specifications (1911), President of the Central Texas Chapter of the AIA (1938-1939), member of President Hoover's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership (1931-1932).
In June 1955, at the age of 84, Goldsmith retired as Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. He died on January 7, 1962 in Fort Worth.

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, Fellowship nomination, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Goldwin Goldsmith drawings, archival material and photographs, 1896-1961
Personal papers, correspondence, reproductions of sketches, firm brochures, a variety of printed material, photographs and drawings document the life and work of Goldwin Goldsmith. The bulk of the records consist of correspondence (1941-1951) dealing with the establishment of the School of Architecture as a separate entity from the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Discussions include proposed administrative organization and curriculum, and appropriate jurisdiction over Architectural Engineering courses. This record group also contains copies and the results of a survey of architectural engineering alumni to be used to study the reorganization of courses in the architecture department.
Personal papers include provisions of Goldsmith's will allocating a portion of his estate to the Texas Architecture Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for The University of Texas School of Architecture with the provision that scholarship funds will be revoked if the School loses its autonomy within the University of Texas system.
Firm brochures illustrate Goldsmith's early residential design work in New York with the firm of Van Vleck and Goldsmith. Photographs of businesses and private residences also document Goldsmith's architectural design career.
A book, Gertrude Goldsmith: Her Book, 1953, privately printed by Goldwin Goldsmith and signed, "Prof.", concludes this portion of the record group. The book contains short stories by Gertrude Goldsmith, and Christmas poems and other verse by Goldwin Goldsmith.
The drawing series consists of approximately 500 drawings representing Goldsmith's professional work in New York with the firm Van Vleck and Goldsmith, 1897 and 1913. Scrapbook contents consist of approximately 100 items, including; drawings, paintings, blueprints, and negative photostats, also from his early design work.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives