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McKim, Mead, and White was a prominent American architectural firm that thrived at the turn of the twentieth century. The firm’s founders, Charles McKim (1847-1909), William Mead (1846-1928), and Stanford White (1853-1906) practiced in the Beaux-Arts style which they had learned at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Between 1879 and 1912, McKim, Mead, and White was the largest and most important architecture office in America. With a staff that grew to over one hundred members, the firm became the model for the modern architectural practice. The architectural firm, along with Burnham and Root and Adler and Sullivan in Chicago, defined the look of Gilded Age America. Located in New York, the McKim, Mead, and White designed public monuments (Washington Arch in Washington Square Park, New York, 1892), major institutions (Symphony Hall, Boston, 1900), corporate buildings (the original New York Life Insurance Building, 346 Broadway, New York, 1870), grand private houses and clubs (the Newport Casino, RI, 1880). The firm collaborated with Theodate Pope Riddle to design Hill-Stead in Farmington, CT in 1901.

The firm name outlived its founders and continued in existence until 1961 under the direction of its last major partner, James Kellum Smith (1893-1961). Smith was a 1915 graduate of Amherst College and got his architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined McKim, Mead & White in 1924 after returning from a fellowship at The American Academy in Rome (1920-1923). At that point, only William Mead was still alive of the original partners and he had retired in 1920. Smith had a specialty in academic buildings and did buildings for Amherst College, Trinity College, Bowdoin College, Union College, Middlebury College and many others. Trinity Colleges’ Cook, Hamlin, Goodwin, and Clement Chemistry buildings were designed by James Kellum Smith. Smith was a member of the American Institute of Architects and Vice President of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His last major work was the National Museum of American History.

Smith was the last surviving partner at the firm. After his death in 1961, the firm was renamed Steinmann, Cain and White and in 1971 became Walker O. Cain and Associates.

McKean, Mead, and White

Map of McKim, Mead and White Architects Works