John J. Dull was born in Philadelphia and became a well-known watercolorist, as well as an architectural design instructor and leader of the Beaux-Arts style atelier established at Drexel Institute. Dull was sponsored for membership in the T-Square Club in 1880 by T. P. Chandler , leading to speculation that he was working in that office at the time. From 1885 to 1891 he worked for the Wilson Bros. and finally launched his own firm in 1893. He was joined by Robert E. Peterson and in 1898 by H. Crawford Coates, establishing the firms of Dull & Peterson and then Dull, Peterson & Coates. When Peterson withdrew from the firm in 1899, Dull & Coates continued until 1904. In that year Dull, who had already designed several churches, began working in association with Charles W. Bolton, a popular church designer with offices in the Witherspoon Building. This relationship would continue through 1916 when Dull returned to independent practice.
Dull and Arthur Truscott began the architectural department at Drexel Institute. Dull was a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and the Philadelphia Water Color Club. He received a gold medal from the Philadelphia Plastic Club and in 1934 the Dana gold medal from the Philadelphia Water Color Club. In addition to his longtime position at Drexel Institute, he taught classes at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Philadelphia Sketch Club
- Plastic Club
- T-Square Club
- Philadelphia Water Color Club
- Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
- Drexel Institute
- Drexel University
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