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Bennett, Edward Herbert (12 May 1874–14 October 1954), architect and city planner, was born in Cheltenham, England, the son of Edwin Charles Bennett, a master mariner, and Margaret Julia Callas. Bennett emigrated to San Francisco, California, in 1890, where he apprenticed with several architects, including Robert White. In 1895, through the influence of architect ...

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Burnham, Daniel Hudson (04 September 1846–01 June 1912), architect and urban planner, was born in Henderson, New York, the son of Edwin Burnham, a wholesale drug merchant, and Elizabeth Keith Weeks. In 1855 the Burnham family moved to Chicago, where Burnham’s father achieved significant commercial success and served as president of the Chicago Mercantile Association. Daniel Burnham was sent back east in 1863 after high school in Chicago, where he had excelled at drawing but not at academic work. For several years he studied to prepare for Harvard or Yale, but suffering from what he later termed “stage fright,” he failed the college entrance examinations. Burnham returned to Chicago in 1867, worked for four months as a sales clerk, tried a stint as a draftsman apprentice in the office of the noted Chicago architect ...

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Coit, Elisabeth (07 September 1892–02 April 1987), architect and urban planner, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Robert Coit, an architect, and Eliza Richmond Atwood. Her mother died when she was a young girl. After attending Radcliffe College (1910–1911) and the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Art (1911–1913), Coit graduated in 1919 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture....

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Gruen, Victor David (18 July 1903–14 February 1980), architect and planner, was born Viktor David Grünbaum in Vienna, Austria, the son of Adolph Grünbaum, an attorney, and Elizabeth Lea Levy. Reared in privileged surroundings, he assimilated at an early age the elegant and cosmopolitan cultural life of Vienna. He circulated among the actors, writers, and musicians of Vienna’s flourishing theatrical world and with his family frequently traveled throughout central Europe....

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Samuel LeFrak. New York City, 1968. Courtesy of AP Images.

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LeFrak, Samuel J. (12 February 1918–16 April 2003), urban planner, builder, and architect, was born Samuel Jayson LeFrak in New York City, the son of Harry, a builder, and Sarah Schwartz LeFrak, a homemaker. LeFrak graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush, Brooklyn, in 1936, and from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1940. As a college student, he worked for his father, supervising the completion of his first building, a sixty‐family, sixteen‐story building in Brooklyn. Following his graduation from the university LeFrak married Ethel Stone; they had four children. LeFrak also took classes at Columbia University and Harvard Business School and during his lifetime received numerous honorary degrees....

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Owings, Nathaniel Alexander (05 February 1903–13 June 1984), architect, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Nathaniel Owings, a fine-wood importer, and Cora Alexander. After his father’s death in 1914, his mother supported the family by working as an accountant. In 1920 Owings won a Rotary Club trip to Europe, where he saw the cathedrals of Notre Dame, Chartres, and Mont-Saint-Michel. The experience determined his course in life. In 1921 he began studies in architecture at the University of Illinois but left after a year on account of illness. He returned to school, attending Cornell University, where he graduated in 1927 with degrees in architecture and engineering. He began his career in the New York architecture firm of York and Sawyer. In 1931 he married Emily Hunting Otis; they had four children....

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Perkins, Dwight Heald (26 March 1867–02 November 1941), architect and planner, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Marland Leslie Perkins, a federal judge and lawyer, and Marion Heald. Widowed in Chicago, Perkins’s mother raised and educated her son there, where she joined ...

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Smith, Chloethiel Woodard (02 February 1910–30 December 1992), architect and city planner, was born in Peoria, Illinois. Her parents’ names and details of her childhood are unknown. In 1932 she earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture with honors from the University of Oregon. One year later she received a master’s degree in architecture in city planning from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She then spent two years working for architectural firms in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and New York City before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1935 as chief of research and planning for the Federal Housing Administration, where she worked until 1939. In 1940 she married Bromley K. Smith, a foreign service officer. They had two children....

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Stein, Clarence Samuel (19 June 1882–07 February 1975), architect and community planner, was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Leo Stein, a casket manufacturer, and Rose Rosenblat. In 1890, Leo Stein moved his company to New York City, where Clarence’s reform-minded mother enrolled him in ...

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Wright, Henry (02 July 1878–09 July 1936), architect and town planner, was born in Lawrence, Kansas, the son of Francis Alfred Wright, an English-born certified public accountant, and Mary Hulda Chace. Shortly after the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, Wright was sent to the Friends’ School in Westtown, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. He returned to Kansas City for his high school education, graduating with honors in 1896. He had already developed a strong interest in architecture and worked as a draftsman in the Kansas City office of the architectural firm of Root and Siemens. In 1899 he began a special two-year course in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1901. When Wright returned to Kansas City his firm was involved in work on the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to be held in St. Louis in 1904. After the fair Wright began to work for landscape architect George E. Kessler, designing parks in Kansas City, Denver, Cincinnati, and other cities. Kessler, a former student of ...