Charles and Henry Greene were brothers
and partners in the architectural firm Greene and Greene that flourished in the early
twentieth century in Pasadena, California. They created a distinctive residential
architecture, now known as California Craftsman, designing houses mostly in Pasadena. In
some cases they also designed interior fixtures and furniture to complement the
architecture. The firm, founded in 1894, dissolved in 1922. Even before the formal
dissolution Charles and Henry each created independent works and also occasionally
collaborated after the firm was dissolved. Although celebrated in their own time, the
Greenes were largely forgotten after 1920. Their work was re-discovered in the late 1940s by
modernist architects and their admirers, and one of their major works, The Gamble House,
opened as a museum in 1966. The rediscovery of the Greenes' work led to a new appreciation
of the bungalow and to a national revival of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870–1954) were born in
Cincinnati, Ohio. The family soon moved to St. Louis, where Charles and Henry grew up. In
the mid-1880s, they entered the Manual Training School of Washington University. The school
stressed work with the hands as a way to train young people to enter the professions and
industry. In 1888, the brothers headed east to Boston, where they enrolled in the two-year
architecture course for "Special Students" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After apprenticing at various Boston firms, the brothers moved to Pasadena, California, to
join their parents; they opened their firm in Pasadena in 1894. The first decade of the
twentieth century saw the development of the firm's distinctive California Craftsman
residential architecture, inspired by the theories of the Arts and Crafts movement, as well
as New England Shingle Style houses, European and English architecture, and Asian art and
design. Houses for James Culbertson (1902 and later), Mary Darling (1903), Theodore Irwin
(1906), Robert R. Blacker (1907), David Gamble (1908), William Thorsen (1908), and Charles
Pratt (1910) established the firm's reputation. Charles moved to Carmel in 1916 to pursue
the life of an artist and writer, while Henry remained in Pasadena; the firm was officially
dissolved in 1922. Each brother produced works independently, Charles designing the D. L.
James house (1918 and later) and Henry designing the Thomas Gould, Jr. and Walter Richardson
houses (1920, 1929 respectively). Although their work was largely forgotten between the
wars, the Greenes lived to see renewed recognition of their achievements after World War II,
when they were honored by the American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter
(1948) and by the national AIA (1952).
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