Established by Walter Cope
and John Stewardson
in 1885, and joined by Emlyn Stewardson
in 1887, the firm of Cope & Stewardson survived John Stewardson's 1896 death and became one of the most influential and prolific Philadelphia firms to span from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries.
After John Stewardson's death, Walter Cope continued as partner in charge of design, with the younger Stewardson responsible for engineering and business matters. After Cope's death in 1902, Emlyn Stewardson maintained the firm name Cope & Stewardson, adding James P. Jamieson as chief designer; however, in 1912 Jamieson and Stewardson parted by mutual consent; and Stewardson closed the firm office in St. Louis, MO, which he had used to oversee the Washington University projects. In 1912 he revised the firm name to Stewardson & Page, with George B. Page installed as partner in charge of design.
While Cope & Stewardson are often chiefly regarded as the major exponents and purveyors of the Collegiate Gothic which swept campuses across the country in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries, they were equally adept at other styles and other building types. Their earliest important commission was Radnor Hall at Bryn Mawr College (1886), when, ironically, they replaced Cope's mentor Addison Hutton as campus architects. Commissions shortly followed for buildings on the campuses of the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Although these academic buildings were their hallmark, other projects included residential, commercial, institution, and industrial buildings.
As important as their contribution to the architecture of Philadelphia and its environs is the role which Cope & Stewardson played in architectural education. Great numbers of young apprentices and would-be architects passed their days of training in the office, making it a general stopping place for many architects who would later become famous in their own right. In 1923 the annual T-Square club exhibition catalog published a photograph of the Cope& Stewardson office from about 1899. Included in the number of partners and younger architects are: Walter Cope; John A. MacMahon; James O. Betelle (later of Newark, NJ); Emlyn Stewardson; S. A. Cloud; Wetherill P. Trout; Herbert C. Wise; James P. Jamieson; Eugene S. Powers; E. Perot Bissell; Louise Stavely; Charles H. Bauer (later in Newark, NJ); William Woodburn Potter; John Molitor, Camillo Porecca; and C. Wharton Churchman.