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Born: 1/6/1890, Died: 3/30/1953

Son of John C. and Grace Ledlie Patterson Sims, Joseph Patterson Sims joined a long line of Philadelphia architects bearing the surname Sims. He received his early education at the Chateau deLancey in Geneva, Switzerland, and at St. Pauls School in Concord, NH. He graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia in 1908 and received his B.S. in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1912. In 1912 his first employer was Arnold Moses, but later that year he moved to the office of Furness Evans & Co. as a draftsman. In 1914 he was elevated to associate with that firm and subsequently remained for three years before joining another employee of the Furness office, Charles Willing in the partnership of Willing & Sims. In 1921 this office expanded to include the partnership of James Talbutt, and the name was revised to Willing, Sims & Talbutt. Sims's firm was immediately successful in the design of residences, particularly those in the popular Norman farmhouse style.

Sims himself was interested in colonial revival styles, including that Pennsylvania farmhouse type which was practiced in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After World War I Sims pursued his hobbies of lithography and map-making with great success, producing a number of handsome family tree presentations illustrated with precise elevations of colonial Philadelphia sites. He also wrote and illustrated several articles and monographs regarding Philadelphia architectural and family history.

Sims joined the AIA in 1920 and became a fellow in 1940.

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • Philadelphia Art Alliance
  • Orpheus Club
  • Pennsylvania Society of Architects
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
  • T-Square Club
  • Print Club
  • Schuylkill Fishing Company
  • Westminster Kennel Club

School Affiliations

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • St. Pauls School (NH)
  • Chestnut Hill Academy


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