Although better known as an architect based in California, J. Cather Newsom spent some four or five years in operation in Philadelphia, with an office in the Mutual Life Building. He was born in the southern Ontario Province in Canada, but by 1861 the Newsom family had relocated to California. Older brother John J. and Thomas D. Newsom later established a firm as builder/architects. Younger brothers, Joseph and Samuel, apprenticed in their brothers' office and established their own partnership in 1878, eventually maintain offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Disparate personalities apparently contributed to the dissolution of the firm in 1888, with Joseph Cather Newsom remaining in the Los Angeles office while Samuel retained the business in San Francisco and Oakland. Early in 1890, Joseph, who had not prospered in Los Angeles alone, returned to San Francisco but, perhaps because he had not been as successful as his brother, moved to Philadlephia in 1896 and opened an office under the name of "The Up-To-Date Architecture," the same title as a periodical which he initiated in the office. His practice in Philadelphia relied heavily on church desig, but he also completed several residences as well.
In 1900 Newsom returned to California and moved to Los Angeles in 1903. By 1906 he had again returned to the San Francisco/Oakland area, where he remained until his death.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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