Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson: Rediscovering the Founding Fathers of American Architecture
Up until the beginning of the 20th century, few people realized that Thomas Jefferson was also one of the nation’s first architects. Howard relates this story and the related investigation by Dr. Fiske Kimball in the early 20th century into Jefferson’s life as an architect. Up until then, Jefferson’s drawings were hidden away amongst the estate papers of T. Jefferson Coolidge. Kimball used this collection, which was deposited into the Massachusetts Historical Society on loan, to tell the story of Jefferson’s architectural career and his contribution to the study of historical architecture.
Howard does a wonderful job of integrating the life of Kimball, first a student and then a professor of architecture, with that of Jefferson. The author’s technique of switching back and forth between the two time periods and two different characters is a difficult writing accomplishment, and Howard does it very effectively.