Horace Wells Sellers, great grandson of painter Charles Willson Peale and son of engineer Coleman Sellers was born in Philadelphia. He studied at both the Friends School in West Philadelphia and Eastburn Academy at 9th and Arch streets before receiving his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a course in architectural drawing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1877. He then began work as a draftsman for Joseph M. Wilson (Wilson Bros.), combining this work with further architecture study with Henry Carriss (1850-1903)and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. Following his father's lead, Sellers associated with various engineering and railway enterprises from 1880 to 1895, when he launched his own architectural firm, still occasonally associating with his father as consulting engineer. During 1897 and 1898 Sellers worked with Chester Kirk on several projects, most notably the C. C. Febiger Residence on Powelton Avenue in West Philadelphia; however, the partnership did not endure beyond 1899 and was not formally acknowledged in Philadelphia city directories. In 1907 the directory did note Sellers & Rippey, an office consisting of Horace Wells Sellers, Coleman Sellers, and S. Howard Rippey, consulting engineers. This association endured through 1912. Thereafter Sellers continued to work independently until his death.
Long interested in Philadelphia's historic architecture, Sellers was a member of the AIA committee which restored Independence Hall and Congress Hall. He also served on the committee which restored Christ Church in Philadelphia and Washington's Headquarters in Valley Forge, PA. Sellers was also an expert on early American portraiture and colonial history, on which he published several articles.
He joined the AIA in 1909 and became a fellow of the Institute in 1912.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Philadelphia Art Alliance
- Engineers Club
- Cosmos Club (DC)
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP)
- Merion Cricket Club
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Sons of the Revolution
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Philadelphia Sketch Club
- T-Square Club
- Franklin Institute
- American Philosophical Society
- Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia
- University Club
- University of Pennsylvania
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