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 Lawrence Grant White  (1887 - 1956)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: architecture design, drawing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lawrence Grant White, son of the architect Stanford White, was born on September 26, 1887. He received the degree of A.B. cum Laude from Harvard University in 1908 and a diploma from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1913.  In Paris, he also worked in the atelier of the architect Victor Laloux, and in 1914 served as secretary to the U.S. Ambassador to Italy.

Between 1915 and 1917, he was associated with the architect Frederic Rhinlander King.  During World War I, he was a naval aviator and then served as a naval aide to President Woodrow Wilson in Rome.

In 1919 he became a senior partner of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White Architects, 101 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. Among his design projects were the National City Bank of New York; Pennsylvania Railroad Station; National Hotel of Havana, Cuba; and the mansion of Mrs. Pierre Lorillard of Tuxedo, New York.

During World War II, White re-enlisted and served as Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and as an intelligence officer in Rome.

In 1948, White was elected to the National Academy of Design, which he later served as President. In New York he was also a member of the Century Association and the American Institute of Architects.

White was a social acquaintance of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss and had married Laura Astor Chanler, the daughter of the Blisses’ and Edith Wharton’s good friend, Margaret “Daisy” Chanler.

White first came to Dumbarton Oaks, historic estate in Georgetown, Washington DC,  on February 28, 1921, to be interviewed by Robert Bliss as a prospective architect for renovations and additions.  However, because Bliss had retained Frederick H. Brooke, who was still in his employ, White felt that it would be unethical to do work for Bliss at that time. 

After Brooke left the project in 1923, White was engaged. The first mention of this comes in correspondence of April 16, 1923, from Mildred Bliss to Beatrix Farrand: “Robert is telephoning to Larry White to ask him to come down today or tomorrow to look at the lay of the incurable land, with view to drawing up plans for the far buildings...[which] can't be begun until next mid-winter.... [I]t will be such a pleasure to have the contact with Larry White that I hope his firm can undertake it.”

In correspondence on August 18, 1924, with his colleague William Mitchell Kendall on the occasion of Mildred Bliss’s anticipated visit to the offices of McKim, Mead & White, he wrote of his patroness: “Her husband is only Minister to Sweden, but she is every inch an ambassadress, if not an empress!” [McKim, Mead & White Archive, New-York Historical Society, call no. 396.]

Lawrence White designed the buildings of the Service Group at Dumbarton Oaks as well as the Music Room and the East Bay of the Living Room (now Founders' Room). He was president of the National Academy of Design. He died on September 7, 1956.
Additional architectural plans and drawings by McKim, Mead & White Architects for Dumbarton Oaks are in the McKim, Mead & White Archive, New-York Historical Society, New York, N.Y., call no. 396:

David Dearinger, Editor, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925
"Lawrence Grant White" Architectural Plans and Drawings, Dumbarton Oaks Archives

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