Charles Allerton Coolidge

Personal Data

Charles Allerton Coolidge was born November 30, 1858, in Boston, the son of David Hill Coolidge and his wife, Isabella Shurtleff (daughter of Dr. Samuel Atwood Shurtleff)

He married on October 30, 1889 (St. Louis) to Julia Shepley (b. 6Oct1856 in Missouri; d. 21Jul1935 in Marion), daughter of John Rutledge Shepley and his wife Mary Augusta Clapp.

Charles Coolidge died April 1, 1936, in Locust Valley, Long Island, New York.


Charles Coolidge graduated from Harvard in 1881, studied architecture at MIT in 1882-1883, and then began his career in the offices of Ware and Van Brunt of Boston. He subsequently joined Henry Hobson Richardson‘s firm in Brookline and, in June of 1886 (shortly after Richardson’s death), he joined with his future brother-in-law, George Foster Shepley (who was Richardson’s son-in-law), and Charles H. Rutan (one of Richardson’s chief designers) to form Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, successors to Richardson’s firm.

Shepley died in 1903 and Rutan died in 1914. Charles Coolidge took into partnership George Shattuck, who had been with the firm for many years, and the firm became Coolidge and Shattuck.

In 1924, Francis Vaughn Bulfinch, Henry Richardson Shepley, and Lewis B. Abbott were taken into partnership, and the firm became Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott. Coolidge died in 1936, but the firm continued to include his name until 1952, after Joseph Priestley Richardson was made a partner and the firm became Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott.

Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge designed numerous buildings of note, among them the Stanford University’s Quadrangle in Palo Alto (1888-1891); Bell Telephone Building in St. Louis (1889); the Chicago Public Library (1892); South Station in Boston (1892); the Ames Building (1893) in Boston; completion of Trinity Church in Boston, including refining the two west towers and adding the tripartite porch (1894-1897); Conant Hall at Harvard (1894); the John Carter Brown library at Brown University (1904); the Harvard Medical School (1906); and Langdell Hall at Harvard Law School (1907).

Among Coolidge and Shattuck’s works were buildings for the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Back Bay Work

1899 15 Commonwealth (Remodeling) [Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge]
1901 403 Commonwealth [Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge]