Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1871, Chester H. Aldrich received his degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1893. Between 1895 and 1900, Aldrich studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, recieving his diploma in 1900. Upon his return to New York, Aldrich reentered the firm of Carrère & Hastings, for whom he had worked briefly between 1898 and 1900. In 1903, Aldrich opened a private practice with William Delano, a colleague from the Carrère & Hastings office. The firm of Delano & Aldrich was largely known for its significant designs of Beaux-Arts-style country houses, cultural institutions, commercial, and civic buildings throughout the East Coast. In addition, from 1917 to 1919, Aldrich was the head of the Red Cross refugee relief program in Italy. He returned to Rome in 1935 to serve as head of the American Academy in Rome, a position he held until his death in 1940.
This collection primarily contains original correspondence--including letters, telegrams, and postcards-- to California architect Robert D. Farquhar from Chester A. Aldrich. Also included is a small group of letters from Amey Owen Aldrich to Farquhar. Most letters are accompanied by envelopes; a very few contain photographs, clippings and other ephemera. Matters discussed in the correspondence vary widely from intimate personal subjects to observations and reports on the work of Carrère & Hastings and Delano & Aldrich, the American Red Cross and its work with soldiers in Italy during World War I, the rise of Fasicsm in Italy, economic hardships during the Depression, and the state of American and European architecture.