Edward J. Parnum was born in Waco, TX, the son of Alice Frances Ransley Parnum, and studied at the University of Texas at Austin before he earned a certificate of proficiency in 1926 from the University of Pennsylvania. He won the John F. Harbeson Historic Ornament medal in his final year. While still in Texas, Parnum had worked as a junior draftsman, first for Roy E. Lane (1917-1919) and then for M. W. Scott (1919-1922), both of Waco; and upon moving to Pennsylvania, he found employment in Reading, PA, with Ritcher & Eiler (1923-1924). After he left Penn, Parnum worked in the office of G. Edwin Brumbaugh until 1941. From 1941 to 1945 he was involved with war service work for the Budd Company, Philadelphia, and the Penn-Jersey Ship Yards in Camden, NJ. After the War Parnum became chief architect for H. A. Kuljian & Company in Philadelphia. Later he established a partnership as Jordan, McNee, Parnum & Yule, architects and engineers, with offices at 1225 Vine Street in Philadlephia. Parnum also worked for many years for Cuneen Co. designing bank interiors. He was named an executive vice president of the bank design firm in 1959, and left Cuneen at the age of 60. He continued his firm with an office in Philadelphia until about 1980, when he reduced his work but continued to practice out of his home in Ardmore until 1986.
Parnum was a member of the congregation of Philadelphia's historic Gloria Dei Church and rector's warden from 1940 until 1972. He was active in the restoration of the church as the architect of several projects there, working with fellow Penn architecture alumnus, Rev. John C. Roak, to preserve the building and the area around the church. Parnum was also the architect for the rehabilitation of the exterior of Old St. Paul's Church when it was converted into the headquarters for Episcopal Community Services, as well as for other projects for the Episcopal Church. Parnum was given a Distinguished Service Award by the Commissioners of Adams County, PA for his role in the restoration of the Gettysburg Court House.
Parnum joined the AIA in 1944 and achieved emeritus status.
Sandra L. Tatman, and
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Texas
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