Thomas L. Cernea was the son of Dr. Arthur B. and Sarah Ann (Lester) Cernea. Cernea's father was a prominent Bucks County physician, whose practice was located in Buckingham, PA, and who was one of the first signers of the Constitution and bylaws of the Bucks County Medical Society in 1848. Thomas Cernea is listed as an architect in Philadelphia city directories sporadically from 1864 to 1874. His first associations in Philadlephia apparently were established from his work with Samuel Sloan, at whose address at 152 South 4th Street he is listed from 1864 to 1866. During these years and immediately after Cernea exhibited paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1864 and 1867), each time choosing Bucks County scenes for his works. His final listing in the city directory for 1874 notes that his office is at 215 South 5th Street, an address shared by Addison Hutton, B. Frank Leeds, and John Ord. Following the assumption that Cernea had been employed by Samuel Sloan, it would follow that he also worked for Hutton, an office that would have continued the tradition of Quaker architects working together.
According to Cernea's will, he left his architectural scrapbook and tracings of designs to his longtime friend, architect Carl Pfeiffer of New York. Also mentioned in the will is a 76-volume library, valued then at $90.00.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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