Charles Willing, the senior partner of the firm of Willing, Sims & Talbutt, was born in Philadelphia, the son of George and Anna Shippen Willing, and attended Chestnut Hill Academy (1894-1899) in the city before graduating from St. Paul's School in Concord, NH in 1902. Willing studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a B. S. Arch. in 1906. After graduation, he worked in the office of Brockie & Hastings for five years (1906-1911), and then joined the firm of Furness, Evans & Co. (1911-1917), where he was named an associate before his departure. During World War I Willing served as a first lieutenant in the Sanitary Corps, remodelling and building hospitals. At the close of the war he returned to Philadelphia, opening an architectural office in 1919 with another former associate from the Furness office, Joseph P. Sims, who had completed his degree at Penn shortly after Willing. Willing & Sims were joined in 1921 by James Talbutt, who had been a classmate of Willing's at Penn and also had been in the Furness office. Willing's interest and skill in landscape architecture played a significant role in the firm's success in domestic commissions for the region's elite in the period before World War II, and even led him into the development and marketing of a line of garden ornaments.
Willing joined the national AIA in 1920 and was made a fellow in 1936. He was a member of the T-Square Club and of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA; he was named to emeritus status by 1956.
Sandra L. Tatman, and
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- University of Pennsylvania
- St. Pauls School (NH)
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