The Resource Original located in oversize box 8. Please serve transcript copy

Original located in oversize box 8. Please serve transcript copy

1798 Jan. 25
Inclusive dates
1798 Jan. 25
Letter, 25 January 1798, from Bejamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820) in Richmond, Virginia, to Dr. Joseph Scandella (d. 1798) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, discussing his dissatisfaction over differences regarding compensation due him for services in the design and construction of a state penitentiary. Latrobe discusses the federal grand jury indictment of Samuel Jordan Cabell (1756-1818) and the response of the Virginia legislature. Latrobe states that he is designing a building which will contain a theater, a hotel, and assembly rooms. Also states he has written a play which was performed with many problems. He declares that Bushrod Washington (1762-1829) who lives at Belvidere is his only friend in Richmond and plans to buy an island in the middle of the James River from him to live there. However, Latrobe misses Scandella who has a much more thorough understanding of science and the arts. Latrobe complains that Governor James Wood (1741-1813) and others would be glad to see him leave Richmond, and he states that he is very unhappy. Latrobe is offended that the state government ordered an arsenal to be built but bypassed him as its architect. Latrobe wishes for news from Philadelphia and greatly misses Scandella and his other friends. Transcript copy available
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Biographical or historical data
Benjamin Henry Latrobe was born 1 May 1764 in Fulneck, England, to Benjamin Latrobe (1726-1786) and Anna Margaret Antes Latrobe. Latrobe was sent to Germany for his education and returned to England in 1786 to study architecture. He began a successful career as an architect in England, but decided to emigrate to the United States after the death of his first wife. Latrobe arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1796, and undertook several jobs, including work on improvements for navigation on the Appomattox River, the James River, and the Dismal Swamp. In 1797, Latrobe relocated to Richmond, Virginia, to supervise the construction of the state penitentiary as well as to finish the exterior work on the state capitol. Latrobe's Richmond experiences were not favorable and in 1798 he decided to move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The opportunity arose when his plan for the Bank of Pennsylvania building was accepted. Once in Philadelphia, Latrobe worked not only building buildings, but also in building public works for water supply and other engineering projects. Latrobe worked on designing several buildings for the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., including redesigning the capitol itself after it was burned during the War of 1812. Latrobe married first Lydia Sellen (1761-1793) of England 27 February 1790, and they had two children. He married second Mary Elizabeth Hazlehurst (1771-1840) of Philadelphia 2 May 1800, and they had five children. Latrobe died 3 September 1820.
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Original located in oversize box 8. Please serve transcript copy
Original located in oversize box 8. Please serve transcript copy
  • The Library of Virginia
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  • leaves and 2
  • p.

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      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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