Harvey Partridge Smith (1889-1964)


Smith, Harvey Partridge

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    deceased 1/19/1964
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    San Antonio, TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1925-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1960

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Address listed in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory

Biographical Directories:
Entry in Pioneers in Preservation: Biographical Sketches of Architects Prominent in the Field Before World War II (Washington, DC: The American Institute of Architects Committee on Historic Resources, 1990)

Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Harvey Partridge Smith, noted architect and preservationist, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 2, 1889, the son of Harvey Jay Smith and Carrie (Barnum) Smith. He received his education at the Evanston Academy, Northwestern University, the University of Arizona, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
From 1906 to 1907 he was employed as a draftsman by the Minneapolis firm of Kees and Coburn, one of the city's most progressive architectural offices, and from 1912 to 1913 he worked for Oakland, California architect John J. Donovan. Smith moved to San Antonio in 1915, and was hired by Atlee B. Ayres. He worked for Ayres until 1916 when he moved to the office of Ralph H. Cameron. In 1919 he formed a partnership with Robert B. Kelly, under the name Smith and Kelly, which lasted until 1924 when Smith opened his own office. Among Smith's best-known works are the residence for Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton (demolished), the Joske Boy Scout Training Center (1926) and the Sunken Garden Theater in Brackenridge Park (1937), which he designed in association with George Willis and Charles Boelhauwe.
Smith is best remembered for his work in the area of historic preservation. In 1928 he was selected as restoration architect for the Governor's Palace in San Antonio. Long interested in the history of the early Spanish missions in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, Smith used his considerable knowledge to carefully repair the damage done to the building over the centuries. He also aided in locating colonial period furnishings for its interior.
Smith's work on the Governor's Palace led to his selection in 1933 to oversee the restoration project on the Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo in San Antonio. Using historic plans and clues provided by archaeological excavations done in the 1930s, Smith reconstructed the collapsed bell tower of the mission and the nave roof and masonry dome of the church. He also reconstructed much of the mission's larger compound including the monks' cells, the Indian quarters and the granary. In addition to his work on San Jose, Smith was involved in the restoration of Mission San Francisco de la Espada, and in preparing drawings of other surviving colonical structures in San Antonio.
Smith was the author of Romantic San Antonio (1918) and contributed articles to numerous professional journals including California Arts and Architecture, The Monograph, Arts and Archeology, and American Architecture. He married Mary Stone on April 5, 1916. The couple had one son, Harvey Partridge Smith Jr., who joined his father's practice in 1946. Smith was a Presbyterian and a Kiwanian. He died in San Antonio on January 19, 1964 and was buried in Mission Burial Park there.

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
Harvey P. Smith Drawings and field notes, 18th Century Missions of San Antonio, Texas, 1929-1957
This record group is made up of 169 measured drawings and.08 linear feet of field notes taken by Harvey P. Smith between 1929 and 1957 documenting his work on the 18th century Spanish missions and the Spanish Governor's Palace, all in San Antonio.
During the Depression, Harvey P. Smith was appointed architect in charge of measuring and restoring the missions. His field notes and drawings provide an invaluable record of the condition of these structures, both before and after restoration. This group of drawings documents the following missions as well as the Spanish Governor's Palace: Mission San Jose de Aguayo, Mission San Francisco de la Espada, Mission Concepcion and Mission San Juan de Capistrano.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives