One of a number of Scots-born architects who thrived in Philadelphia, Robert G. Kennedy was born in the Village of Barnyards, Fife, Scotland and attended Edinburgh High School. His apprenticeship was spent in the office of Peddie & Kinnear, architects in Edinburgh, and one of his office mates in the firm was John Ord also later a Philadelphia architect. By 1877 Kennedy had established an office in Philadelphia, where he was joined at least by 1893 by Frank A. Hays. By 1898 that relationship had been formalized under the name, Kennedy, Hays & Kelsey, with Albert Kelsey making the third partner.
In 1900 Hays withdrew from the firm to devote himself fulltime to architectural education, but Kennedy & Kelsey continued in operation until Kennedy returned to Scotland in 1905. His later life in Scotland was spent in retirement in the resort town of Fife. During his years in Philadelphia, he had been influential in the development of the suburb of Llanerch, where he maintained a residence.
Kennedy served as the first president of the T-Square Club and by 1889 was a member of the AIA. In 1889 he also served as the judge for the annual arachitectural drawing competition held at the Spring Garden Institute. In addition to professional activities Kennedy maintained an active interest in the St. Andrew's Society, becoming a life member of that organization in 1875.
Kennedy retired in 1905 and moved back to Scotland, residing at Elie, a coastal resort.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- T-Square Club
- St. Andrew's Society
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