Lawrence Visscher Boyd
Local ID #: BOYD-LV
King, Moses. Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians. New York: Blanchard Press, Isaac H. Blanchard Co., 1901.,
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Younger brother of architect David Knickerbacker Boyd and son of David and Alida Visscher Boyd, L. V. Boyd has received less attention than his brother, who was more active in civic and professional affairs of national import. Nonetheless, L.V. Boyd had a distinguished career in residential design, one cut short by his untimely death in an automobile accident. Educated at Friends Central School, L V. Boyd began working as an apprentice in the office of Frank Miles Day in 1890. There he remained until 1893, when he joined his brother in practice under the name of Boyd & Boyd, with offices in the Harrison Building. While Boyd was apprenticing with Day, the firm's work had consisted primarily of larger projects, such as St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church in Lynchburg, VA, the West Spruce St. Presbyterian Church at 17th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia, and the Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Co. in Camden, NJ. The practice which the Boyd brothers established differed in only one respect: their primary source of income resulted from work with entrepreneurs such as Wendell & Smith, the developers of Wayne, PA, Pelham and Overbrook Park.
In 1898, when the Boyd brothers divided their practice (although some projects attributed to them continue into 1903 in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide), L.V. Boyd relied for some time on this type of work, collaborating with William T. B. Roberts on the development of Ogontz and Glenside. His work in this area included not only the required residences, but also in Glenside a row of shops. Evidence of L. V. Boyd's national reputation in domestic design was provided in 1909, when he was chosen as one of only ten architects invited to take part in the Delineator competition for the best $3000 house. Boyd placed fourth in this competition behind Frank Choteau Brown of Boston, George W. Maher of Chicago, and Claude Fayette Bragdon of Rochester, NY. Later in his career Boyd's designs were featured in the American Home Magazine, where illustrations testify to his versatility with style and his handling of the more restrained spaces dictated by less expensive residences. In general Boyd's practice until 1935 reflected the precedent set by his years with Frank Miles Day, i.e. chiefly residential with a generous representation of churches (First Church of Christ Scientist, Elkins Park, PA, 1925), office buildings, banks, and libraries (Stephens Library, Manayunk).
In 1935 this picture changed when Boyd began working on the Philadelphia WPA project which was then based in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. By 1937 he had established an office in Philadelphia City Hall where he assumed direction of the WPA survey of the Municipal Water System. He still maintained a separate office, however, in the Harrison Building.
In 1891 Boyd had become a member of the T-Square Club, and he served on its house committee, executive committee and as vice president (1903). In 1901 he joined the national American Institute of Architects.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Netherlands Society
- Sons of the Revolution
- St. Andrews Society
- Meridian Club
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