The son of architect John F. Harbeson, Paul Cret Harbeson was born in Philadelphia and named for his father's mentor, employer, and partner Paul P. Cret. Harbeson was educated at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA in the 1930s, and remained in northwestern Massachusetts to attend Williams College before returning to Philadelphia. He completed a B. Arch. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1942, where his father was an associate professor of design at the time (and his uncle William was a professor of English). During his final year at Penn, Harbeson held the Joseph V. Horn fellowship. He served with the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, and earned a Commendation Ribbon.
After the war, Harbeson returned to Philadelphia to work in his father's firm, Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson (the successors to Cret's practice), where he remained until 1950, when he opened his own office. This endured for ten years. He then returned to his first employer as an associate. In 1961, he was made a full partner, and remained with H2L2 until his retirement in 1984.
Harbeson joined the national AIA in 1946, and was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter, serving as its recorder in 1953-1955, vice president in 1969, and president in 1976. Harbeson was an elected fellow of the AIA and a member of the National Academy of Design. He also served as president of the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia and succeeded his father as Consulting Architect for the American Battle Monuments Commission.
In retirement Harbeson remained an active member of the Philadelphia architectural community, particularly working as a consultant on bridge design, an expertise that served him in preparing his unpublished manuscript "Beauty and the Bridge."
Sandra L. Tatman, and
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia
- National Academy of Design
- University of Pennsylvania
- Williams College
Links to Other Resources
- Includes a firm history.
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