J. Roy Carroll, Jr. was one of the most prominent architects of his generation in Philadelphia, and a leader of the profession in the region and the nation. He was born in the city, graduated from West Philadelphia High School, and received his training at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a B.Arch. in 1926, followed by an M.Arch. in 1928. Carroll's talent as a student earned him Beaux Arts Institute of Design medals in 1926, 1927, and 1928, and a graduate fellowship his final year. He also worked in several regional offices while still in school, including Bunting & Shrigley, Wilson Eyre, Trout & Truscott, and DeArmond, Ashmead & Bickley. He was a teaching assistant in his final graduate year, and continued to teach design at Penn through the end of World War II, beginning as a part-time instructor and ultimately leading the design staff. In 1941, he was awarded the Henry Gillette Woodman Traveling Scholarship to study industrial architectural practice across the country and create a new design curriculum to meet the needs of wartime production.
Carroll won several design competitions during the Depression, including one for a Civil War Memorial monument at Appomattox, VA in 1932. For this project, he worked with his former teacher and employer at the time, Harry Sternfeld. By the time he left Sternfeld's firm to open his own office in 1935, Carroll had been made a design associate. In 1945, he formed a partnership with John Grisdale; they were joined the following year by William L. Van Alen. The firm continued to flourish until 1973, when J. Roy Carroll, Jr. & Partners was formed. Between 1977 and his retirement in 1985, Carroll practiced independently.
One of a handful of Philadelphians who have presided over the national AIA, his leadership in the profession began with his tenure as the first president of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects, in 1945-46 (the same year that he led the general Alumni Society at Penn). He led the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in 1952 and was made an AIA fellow in 1954. He served as secretary for the national organization in 1960, was then named first vice president in 1962, and finally president in 1963-4. His activities within the profession were mirrored by his role in the greater community: he chaired the Delaware County Advisory Committee on Housing in the 1940s and belonged to the Borough Council in Swarthmore where he made his home, among many others involvements.
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Union League of Philadelphia
- Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia
- Architectural League of New York
- Colegio de Arquitectos de Mexico
- Philippines Institute of Archiects
- University of Pennsylvania
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