Samuel Dudley Kelley was born on July 16, 1848, in Yarmouth; the son of David Kelley and his wife, Phebe Wing Dudley (daughter of Samuel Dudley).
He married on April 12, 1870, in Yarmouth, to Sarah E. Matthews (b. 1848-1850 in Abington; d. 14Jul1888 in Somerville), daughter of Nathaniel Matthews and his wife, Hannah (LNU).
Samuel Kelley died on May 9, 1938, in South Yarmouth. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he was the last of the founders of the Quaker colony in South Yarmouth.
Samuel Kelley was educated at the Friends School in Providence. After apprenticing in Boston, he became one of the most prolific architects of homes in the Back Bay. In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting lists over 150 houses designed by Kelley, starting in 1878, one third of which were in the Bay State Road area. He frequently worked in tandem with speculative builders, including William Rand, George Wheatland, and Chadwick and Stillings.
His work, while prolific, was not as distinguished as that of some other architects who worked in the district. Bunting refers only once to buildings by Kelley: 461-471 Commonwealth, which he states “bear witness to the degradation which overtook Richardson’s personal idiom in most parts of America and, even, on occasion, in Boston, when speculative builders exploited the style…these houses lack unity as a group or as single units and their individual elements compete for the spectator’s interest.”
Kelley also was a leading architect of apartment houses. He designed The Royal (1885) at 295 Beacon Street, the first apartment house in the Back Bay, and is credited by Bunting as architect for nine others. He also built multiple dwellings in the suburbs. Douglass Shand-Tucci (Built in Boston) comments that the same architects often designed both urban masonry apartments and suburban wooden multiple dwellings, noting “Samuel Kelley’s wooden decker at 20-24 Meacham Road (1894) in Cambridge is identical in design concept to his brick four-flat building (1889) at 423 Marlborough Street in the Back Bay.”
Back Bay Work