Laussat Richter Rogers is equally well-known as a painter and architect, but his output could also label him as an editor, writer, and historian, particularly of the State of Delaware. Born in San Francisco to Daniel and Annie Horatia Jones Rogers, Laussat R. Rogers's family was originally from Delaware. In 1887 Rogers graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in classics. Almost immmediately he moved back to the family home near New Castle, DE. Boothhurst, the family estate, provided him with the economic support that he needed to enter the School of Architecture at Columbia University in fall, 1888. While at Columbia Rogers attracted the attention of William Robert Ware and also became acquainted with his future partner George Oakley Totten, Jr.. After graduation Rogers stayed at Columbia, assisting in the architectural program and working part-time in the office of Grenville T. Snelling.
By 1892 Rogers had decided to round off his education by traveling to Europe; he left in June, 1892 and stayed in Europe for two years, chiefly residing in Paris but also traveling extensively. From letters preserved in the Delaware Historical Society it appears that he enrolled in an atelier; however, no patron for that atelier has been identified. What is known is that he undertook figure drawing in the studio of Filippo Colarossi, a sculptor.
In 1894 Rogers returned to the United States and by the next year was again engaged in the competition entries which had fascinated him before his sojourn in Paris. (His competition entry for the University of Illinois Library survives.) By late 1895 Rogers had applied for a position with the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, perhaps influenced in this by the fact that George Totten was already employed by the Treasury. Rogers was successful in his application and by December, 1895 had relocated to Washington, DC, where he would remain for several years.
In 1897 Rogers and his old friend established Totten & Rogers, and in the following year the firm was listed in the Philadelphia city directories with an office at 931 Chestnut Street. It appears that during this early period of firm activity the partners maintained offices in both Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Again, from letters maintained in the Delaware Historical Society, it appears that the office began to falter around 1903/o4, possibly in part because Rogers inherited his father's considerable estate around that time; however, Totten & Rogers continues in the Philadelphia city directories through the 1908 volume.
By 1903 Rogers was undertaking a number of local commissions on his own and was exploring the use of the Colonial Revival. By 1913 he could boast a design for the Women's College at the University of Delaware and an addition to Immanuel Episcopal Church in New Castle, DE. By 1914, however, Rogers had closed his Wilmington, DE, office and was forced to undertake occupation as a draftsman again, and 1916 found him back in Philadelphia as part of the office of Day & Klauder, who were working on designs for the University of Delaware. During the war years Rogers returned to Washington, DC, and employment with the Supervising Architect of the Treasury. After the war he re-opened his Delaware office with a flourish; however, work was not forthcoming. Thereafter, Rogers turned to his painting, supporting himself by selling off sections of the Boothhurst estate.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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