Charles Over Cornelius (1890-1937) was born in Sewickley, PA and died in Irvington-on Hudson, NY. He was an architect who was also an associate curator of American art at The Met. Among his known architectural projects was the renovation of Dey House in Wayne, NJ, which served as Washington's headquarters during 1780. Prior to that project, he received the commission to design a library at Blair House in Washington, D.C. in 1920.
Cornelius received his B.A. from Princeton in 1913, and his B.S. from MIT in 1916. That same year, he entered the architectural practice of Frank A. Colby in New York. In 1917, he was hired by the Metropolitan Museum, and became an Assistant Curator in the Department of Decorative Arts in 1918. In 1925, he was appointed Associate Curator of American Art. While at The Met, he consulted with clients on their private collections. He resigned from The Met in February, 1931, and around that time was an associate in the architectural practice of Holden, McLaughlin & Associates in New York.
In 1922, he curated the first exhibit at The Met to be devoted to one cabinetmaker, in, "Furniture from the Workshop of Duncan Phyfe," and he would write, "Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe." In 1924, R. T. H. Halsey and Cornelius would write, "A Handbook of the American Wing," a publication of The Met about the American Wing building which is devoted entirely to American art of the colonial, revolutionary, and early republican periods. In 1926, he would write, "Early American Furniture," and contribute to, "Mahogany, Antique and Modern: a Study of its History and Use in the Decorative Arts."