Henry Van Brunt was born September 5, 1832 in Boston, the son of Gershom Jacques Van Brunt and his wife Elizabeth Price Bradlee (daughter of David W. Bradlee).
He married on October 6, 1869, in Peabody, to Alice Sterritt Osborn (b. 1846-1848 in Baltimore), daughter of James W. Osborn and his wife, Eliza Ann (LNU).
Henry Van Brunt died on April 7, 1903, in Milton.
Henry Van Brunt graduated from Harvard in 1854. After serving as an apprentice to George Snell, he moved to New York where he entered the offices of Richard Morris Hunt and met William Robert Ware. After time in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in the atelier of Hector Martin Lefuel, in 1863 he formed a partnership with Ware, Ware and Van Brunt. Van Brunt was the designer and Ware the engineering specialist.
In 1865, Ware became head of the new architectural school at MIT, the first school of its type in the United States. He also continued to practice with Van Brunt, and the partnership remained until 1881, when Ware moved to New York to establish a school of architecture at Columbia University.
Ware and Van Brunt built numerous institutional, ecclesiastical, and residential buildings. Perhaps their best known is Memorial Hall at Harvard (designed between 1865 and 1871, and completed in 1878), which Douglass Shand-Tucci (Built in Boston) calls “one of the great Ruskinian Gothic landmarks in America.” Other works included First Church of Boston (1865), St. John’s Chapel (1868) at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Hotel Hamilton (1869, demolished) at the northwest corner of Commonwealth and Clarendon, Weld Hall at Harvard (1870), St. Stephen’s Church in Lynn (1880), Harvard Medical School (1881) on Boylston between Dartmouth and Exeter, and portions of Wellesley College.
After Ware’s departure, Van Brunt continued to practice in Boston with Frank M. Howe. They designed the Cambridge Public Library (1888) and were commissioned to design a large number of stations for the Union Pacific Railway, ultimately causing them to move their offices to Kansas City, Missouri.
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