Buildings can be iconic works of art, but buildings are also built by people for people. So, the story of architecture is also about the people involved. Triumvirate: McKim, Mead, & White: Art, Architecture, Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age by Mosette Glaser Broderick is the story of one of the most famous architectural firms of the Gilded Age and it also explores the architects’ friendships, marriages, divorces, and scandals.
Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stanford White were the three members of the firm and their goal was to bring the grandeur of Europe to American architecture. They designed homes for such notables as the Astors, the Vanderbilts, J. P. Morgan, and bad boy James Gordon Bennett Jr. Besides catering to the wealthy classes they also designed the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church in Boston, the old Madison Square Garden, and the Washington Square Arch.
This success did not come easily and they didn’t live storybook lives. Though little is known about Mead’s, McKim’s and White’s lives were more public. McKim had connections that enabled the firm to grow, but his personal life was not as successful. White, on the other hand, led a much more scandalous existence that would end with his murder and the trial of the century. This book is a well researched and detailed account that puts a human face on the buildings behind McKim, Mead, and White.