Collection Type:

1876 to 1956

Edward B. Lee studied architecture at Harvard at the end of the nineteenth century. He then practiced architecture in Pittsburgh as a true tri-state architect, with numerous commissions in northern West Virginia (e.g. Morgantown), eastern Ohio (e.g. Ashtabula, Massillon) and outlying western Pennsylvania towns (e.g. Butler, Greenville, Washington). Lee practiced independently, but was also variously associated with Bilquist and Lee; Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones; James P. Piper; and Marlier, Lee, Boyd & Prack. For some years he was the local representative for Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones.

Lee was a longtime leader of the Pittsburgh Architectural Club, and his contacts in business and government led to a number of important commissions. His projects included the City-County Building (1915-1917, with Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones), the Chamber of Commerce Building (1916-17, with James P. Piper), the Edgewood Club (1914), the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club (1930), and many hospitals, school buildings and fraternal halls. In the 1930s, he was involved with early Pittsburgh-area public housing projects such as Terrace Village and Bedford Dwellings.

Lee was an eclectic architect, but preferred a free classicism for his public buildings. Many of his presentation renderings reflect his predilection for colored-pencil travel sketches, hundreds of which he executed while traveling by train to outlying job sites.

Scope and Content: 

Original watercolor renderings, drawings, blueprints, photostats, photographs, and office records document approximately 100 Lee projects. Many others are documented in account ledgers and a published catalogue of works. The collection includes hundreds of Lee's colored-pencil travel sketches.

Select Bibliography: 

Lee, Edward B. The Work of Edward B. Lee, Architect, Pittsburgh. New York: Architectural Catalogue Company.

Lee, Edward Brown and Edward Brown Lee, Jr. A Pencil in Penn: Sketches of Pittsburgh and Surrounding Areas. Pittsburgh: 1970.