Peabody & Stearns

Country Houses and Seaside Cottages

Annie Robinson (Author)


A view of the resort and leisure architecture of one of the most popular and prolific firms of the Gilded Age.

Robert Swain Peabody and John Goddard Stearns Jr. led one of the most popular and prolific architectural design firms in the Northeast, securing more than one thousand commissions and building a vast and vibrant repertoire, from warehouses and town houses to retail stores, banks, schools, railroad stations, libraries, playhouses, and country houses.

This survey is the first of its kind to focus on the firm’s country house commissions, offering a fascinating glimpse into the social and economic vitality that epitomized the era—one that gave rise to a robust clientele for resort architecture and second homes. Indeed, the economic developments of the time spurred a vast market for houses of recreation and leisure-time buildings, including casinos, boathouses, stables, gentlemen’s farms, and cottages, all of which Peabody & Stearns had a leading role in creating. With this book, Annie Robinson establishes Peabody & Stearns as a significant contributor to the development of an American architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This comprehensive catalog showcases more than eighty of the firm’s designs, from Pierre Lorillard’s The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, to William Forbes’s cottage on Cape Cod, James Ford Rhodes’s Ravenscleft in Maine, and Charles William Eliot’s Sunshine in Northeast Harbor, Maine. While the bulk of the firm’s commissions were located in New England, notable works in the Middle Atlantic states and in the South and the West are also covered. Containing over two hundred illustrations, archival photographs, plans, and drawings, Peabody & Stearns tells the little-known story of the two men who formed a lasting architectural partnership, and displays the impressive collection of the homes across the country on which they left their imprint.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • March 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73218-4
  • 9.4 × 12.3 in / 248 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“A quick look through ‘Peabody & Stearns’ should be enough to convince both generalist and specialist of the beauty of the book….neatly organized, very readable and carefully documented….will be the standard catalog for years to come.” — The Portland Press Herald

“Peabody & Stearns, one of America’s leading architectural firms of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, helped to shift the direction of architecture through their country and resort house work. This is a long-needed book that will restore them to their rightful place among the pantheon of American architects.” — Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Chair of Architectural History, University of Virginia, and author of Harbor Hill: Portrait of a House

“Recipient of the annual Henry Russell Hitchcock Award for outstanding book in the area of 19th century architecture from The Victorian Society in America” — The Victorian Society in America

“[M]ost welcome and timely…. [W]ill be the standard of reference for ages to come…. [A] monumental labor of research, organization, photographing, observation, and writing for which Robinson merits high praise and hearty thanks.” — Magazine of The Victorian Society in America

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