Born in Philadelphia, Howell Barrett (Bud) Pennell attended West Philadelphia High School, Upper Darby High School, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his B. Arch in 1927. He then was launched on a long series of draftsman position in Philadelphia: G. Edwin Brumbaugh, 1927-1930; Seeburger & Rabenold, 1930; Zantzinger, Borie & Medary, 1930-1932; Karcher & Smith, 1932; the Supervising Architect, Washington, DC, 1934-1936; Ralph Bencker, 1936; Philadelphia Board of Education, 1936; G. Morris Whiteside, Wilmington, DE, 1936-1937; Martin & Jeffers, Wilmington, DE, 1937-1938. Beginning in March 1938 he became associated with the First Mortgage Corporation in a consulting role.
Throughout this time Pennell maintained an active role in the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society, serving as President, Director, and its representative on the General Alumni Society's Editorial. He had gained membership in the AIA in 1943 and also maintained a strong role in the Chapter organization.
The fond regard with which he was held in the Philadelphia community is evident from Alfred Bendiner's (undated but probably 1942) letter in support of his application for AIA membership:
. . . He may be a great architect. That is something which I do not feel qualified to judge but this much is certain. He is completely rounded in a mature sense of humor which not only is a valuable asset but is infectious enough to keep those around him on even keel. In most times this would be enough to recommend him for any society but he makes an especially valuable addition when most architects are sunk in gloom and dyspeptic wrinkles. He is old enough now to have gone through the trials of draughtsmanship and the early pains of active practice and his willingness to part with forty dollars in these times in exchange for a wreath of laurel is the highest devotion to a profession which is getting booted around.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- University of Pennsylvania
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