Charles Howard Walker (1857-1936), Architect

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Boston, Massachusetts, 1884-ca. 1933

DBA: C. Howard Walker

C. Howard Walker (NSHS)
Charles Howard Walker was born on November 9, 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was trained in the local architectural offices of Sturgis & Brigham, and in 1879 moved to New York to work. In 1881 he participated in an archaeological expedition to Asia Minor, and then traveled in Europe for two years before returning to Boston. Upon his return he set up his own practice, and began lecturing on architectural and fine arts subjects. The association he established with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nearby Cambridge lasted nearly five decades, first as lecturer and professor, and by retirement, as president emeritus of the architecture department.[4][5][6][7]

After five years of practice in Boston, Walker took on his first partner, Herbert Reynolds Best, in 1889. Shortly thereafter, Thomas R. Kimball joined the firm and the name was changed to Walker, Kimball & Best, Architects. Best died in 1891, but the Walker & Kimball partnership, with offices in Boston, and Omaha, Nebraska, enjoyed a very productive and career-defining decade of work. They came to early fame as the architects-in-chief of the Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898, in Omaha.[1][2]

Though Walker practiced architecture his whole life, he was also an artist. Aside from his work with Kimball, he is probably better known as a lecturer, teacher, writer and editor, painter, illustrator, and promoter of the fine arts.[4][8] He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Institute of Arts and Letters, American Federation of Arts, Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, and the Boston Society of Architects. In addition to his membership on prestigious arts councils and commissions, he lectured widely, including at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Lowell Institute; the School of Fine Arts, Harvard University, the Boston Architectural Club, and the New England Conservatory of Arts, of which he was one of the founders.[5][9] His lectures at M.I.T. included fine arts subjects, and he wrote extensively on architectural decoration, publishing often in the Architectural Review, for which he also served as editor.[6] He died on April 12, 1936, at Roxbury, Massachusetts.[5]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Grand Court, Trans-Mississippi Exposition (Nebraska State Historical Society)

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Boston, Massachusetts, 1886-1895, 1899-1900.[3]

Educational & Professional Associations

1874-1879: with Sturgis & Brigham, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts.[4][7]

1879: working in New York City.[4]

1881: archeological expedition to Asia Minor.[4][6]

1882-1883: Travel in Europe.[4][6]

1884-1933: lecturer in fine arts and professor of architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Cambridge, Massachusetts.[4][5][7]

1884-1888: architect, Boston, Massachusetts.[3][6][7]

1889-1891: architect & partner, Walker & Best, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts, and 1890-1891, Omaha, Nebraska.[3][a]

1891: member and Fellow of the AIA.[1]

1891: architect & partner, Walker, Kimball & Best, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts and Omaha, Nebraska.[3]

1891-1899: architect & partner, Walker & Kimball, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts and Omaha, Nebraska.[3]

1898-1899: member, Boston Art Commission.[6]

1900-ca. 1919: architect, Boston, Massachusetts.

1909: appointed to the National Fine Arts Commission.[5][6]

1913-1914: lecturer in fine arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[6]

1913-____: director, School of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.[6]

ca. 1919-ca. 1925: partner, C. Howard Walker & Son, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts.[7]

ca, 1925-ca. 1933: partner, Walker, Walker & Kingsbury, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts.[7]

Nebraska Buildings & Projects

Architects-in-Chief (Walker & Kimball), Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition (1898), Omaha, Nebraska.


a. First Omaha directory listing for the firm, 1890.

A Study of Decoration, 1890 (Technology Architectural Review)
For United America, 1919 (Library of Congress)


C. Howard Walker, "Architecture of the Library," in Handbook of the new Public library in Boston. (Boston: Curtis & Co., 1895).

C. Howard Walker, “The Trans-Mississippi Exposition,” Architectural Review V:11 (1898)

C. Howard Walker, “Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St Louis, Missouri,” Architectural Review [Boston], XI (1904): 197–220.

C. Howard Walker, "Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, N. Y.," Brickbuilder 18:7 (July 1909): 149-50.

C. Howard Walker, An Architectural Monograph on Some Old Houses on the Southern Coast of Maine. (St Paul, MN, 1918).

C. Howard Walker, The Book-Plates of Dorothy Sturgis Harding. (Boston: The Graphic Arts. 1920). See

C. Howard Walker, The Theory of Mouldings. (Cleveland, Ohio: J. H. Jansen, 1926) See

Thomas W. Sears and C. Howard Walker. Parish Churches of England. (Boston: Rogers and Manson Company, [1915]). See


1. The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects, s.v. “C. Howard Walker (1857-1936),” (ahd1046820). Accessed August 10, 2010.

2. “Walker, C. Howard,” Henry F. Withey, A.I.A., and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (Los Angeles: New Age Publishing Company, 1956. Facsimile edition, Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970).

3. Boston Directory, 1886-1895, 1899-1900. Boston Athenaeum Digital Collections. Accessed February 23, 2017.

4. “Walker, C. Howard,” The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, Ed. Joan Marter. (London: Oxford University Press, 2011). Oxford Reference, accessed February 26, 2017.

5. "C[harles] Howard Walker, architect (1857-1936)," archINFORM, entry 73643, February 8, 2017. Accessed February 26, 2017.

6. “Walker, C. Howard,” Who’s who in New England, ed. Albert Nelson Marquis, 2nd Ed (Chicago: A. N. Marquis, 1916): 1102. Google Books, accessed February 26, 2017.

7. Back Bay Houses. Accessed February 26, 2017.

8. “C. Howard Walker papers, 1877-1936” Smithsonian Archives of American Art. Accessed February 26, 2017.

9. “History of the BAC,” [Boston Architectural Club - Boston Architectural College] (Boston: 2016). Accessed February 26, 2017.

Other Sources

Entry in Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects (New York: Macmillan, 1982).

W. Emerson, "Obituary," American Architect CXLVIII (1936): 109.4

Return to Top of Page

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Charles Howard Walker (1857-1936), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, February 27, 2017. Accessed, December 3, 2022.

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