Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961) Collection

Biography/History

Henry Hornbostel began work in Pittsburgh in 1904 when he won the Carnegie Technical Schools Competition for design of the campus that is now Carnegie Mellon University. As the founder of the Carnegie Tech Department of Architecture and as architect for numerous prominent buildings such as the Temple Rodef Shalom (1904), the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall (1907) and the City-County Building (1915-1917, with Edward B. Lee), Hornbostel played an important role in shaping Pittsburgh's architectural image in the first decades of the 20th century.

Hornbostel was at various times a partner in the New York firms of Howell, Stokes & Hornbostel; Wood, Palmer & Hornbostel; Palmer & Hornbostel; and Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones. He also practiced independently from a Pittsburgh office and, late in his career, was associated with Eric Fisher Wood (see Wood Collection). Hornbostel's practice was national in scope, despite a preponderance of Pittsburgh projects. He was the architectural consultant for bridges in New York City; designed governmental buildings in Albany, NY and Oakland, CA; planned university campuses at Carnegie Tech, Emory and Northwestern; and was renowned for his ability to win architectural competitions.

Hornbostel was also a master draftsman. His elegant perspective studies won him the nickname l'homme perspectif during his student days at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and his skills remained in evidence in the presentation renderings of his professional career, often executed in pencil and pastel or crayon. His high graphic standards are also apparent in working drawings, such as those for Carnegie Tech, which must clearly present complex information about materials and assembly.

Scope and Content

The Hornbostel Collection consists of hundreds of renderings, drawings, blueprints, photostats, photographs and specifications. These items document more than fifty Hornbostel projects. Many of the items in the collection were originally given to the Department of Architecture by Hornbostel's estate. All major Hornbostel buildings at Carnegie Mellon are represented by sets of ink-on-linen working drawings. More personal records include a partial autobiography, and a sketchbook and diary from Hornbostel's 1893 European tour prior to his enrollment at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris.

Select Bibliography

"Henry Hornbostel, Architect" (collection of articles). [Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, Hunt Library, Fine Arts Reference]

Kidney, Walter C. Henry Hornbostel: An Architect's Master Touch. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 2002.

Poling, Clark V. Henry Hornbostel, Michael Graves: An Exhibition of Architectural Drawings, Photographs, and Models. Atlanta, GA: Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology, 1985.

Swales, Francis S. "Master Draftsmen/XVII Henry Hornbostel," Pencil Points VII:2 (February 1926), 73-92.

Van Trump, James D. "Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961): a Retrospect and a Tribute," Charette 42:2 (February 1962), 16-17. Reprinted in Van Trump. Life and Architecture in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1983, 131-134.

Van Trump, James D. "Henry Hornbostel: the New Brutalism," Charette (May 1966), 8-11. Reprinted in Van Trump. Life and Architecture in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1983, 143-148.


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