William Cummings Richardson

Personal Data

William Cummings Richardson was born on March 12, 1854, in Concord, New Hampshire, the son of David Cummings Richardson and his wife, Henrietta G. Barnard

He married on October 6, 1882, in Malden, to Frances Shippen Webster (b. Apr1854 in Wheeling WV), daughter of George Washington Webster and his wife, Asenath Louisa Richardson.

William Richardson died on October 17, 1935, in Newton.


William Richardson studied architecture at MIT. from 1873 to 1875, and then worked in the office of Ware and Van Brunt. In 1881, he formed a partnership with Henry Walker Hartwell. Hartwell was the engineer and Richardson the designer. In about 1895, the partnership was expanded to include James Driver, previously a draftsman with the firm. The firm remained Hartwell, Richardson and Driver after Henry Hartwell’s death in 1919, but returned to the name Hartwell and Richardson after James Driver withdrew due to illness in the early 1920s (he died in 1923). William Richardson continued to practice under the firm name of Hartwell and Richardson until his death in 1935.

The firm of Hartwell and Richardson designed in the Romanesque, Queen Anne, and shingle styles. Among their works were the Belmont Town Hall in 1881; the First Spiritual Temple (1884, later the Exeter Theater); the addition of a fourth floor at 39-40 Beacon Street (later the Women’s City Club) in 1888; and the chancel and transepts at St. Mary’s Church, Dorchester, in 1893.

Back Bay Work

1884 26 Exeter (181 Newbury) [Hartwell and Richardson]
1885 248 Marlborough [Hartwell and Richardson]
1891 273 Commonwealth [Hartwell and Richardson]