PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records

 

 

 


Manuscript Group 303
R. BROGNARD OKIE ARCHITECTURAL PAPERS
1793, 1828-1949
85 cubic feet


Richardson Brognard Okie (b. June 26, 1875, d. December 25, 1945) was an architect from Devon, Pennsylvania, who specialized in designing colonial revival style homes in the greater Philadelphia area. After studying mechanical engineering at Haverford College, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1897. In 1896 he studied with the architect William L. Price and subsequently worked with Arthur S. Cochran. In 1898 he joined with H. Louis Duhring and Charles Ziegler to organize the office of Duhring, Okie and Ziegler in which he worked through 1918. Okie continued in independent practice until his sudden death in an automobile accident. In the year prior to his death a few projects were completed having the name Okie and Okie on the title block, marking the partnership with his son, Charles Okie.

Duhring, Okie, and Ziegler specialized in the then popular Cotswold and Pennsylvania farmhouse styles. After he began working independently, Okie specialized in the restoration and reconstruction of Pennsylvania colonial era buildings, restoring such landmarks as the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia and the Paxton, Silver Spring, and Winchester Presbyterian Churches. In 1925 he was appointed by the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition to design the reconstruction of High Street and eleven years later the Philadelphia Chapter selected him as the architect for the reconstruction of Pennsbury Manor. In the latter project, he was guided only by the fragmentary remains of foundations, scraps of pavement and William Penn's letters of instruction to his steward James Harrison at Pennsbury. Okie designed many new colonial style residences along the Main Line and other Philadelphia suburbs and restored and expanded numerous colonial era dwellings throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Hallmarks of his designs included undressed fieldstone walls having either pointed or struck joints, doors and window frames made out of of solid oak or cypress, flat lintels having three stones including the center key, and segmental arches of the same undressed fieldstone. Particularly distinctive features of his work included prominent chimneys and spacious well-proportioned fireplace openings.

This collection contains extensive correspondence and detailed architectural drawings for all of his major commissions including particularly the reconstruction of the manor house and ancillary buildings at Pennsbury Manor. Also present are detailed sets of specifications and photographs for many of his most important projects, historical prints and engravings used as research materials, a postcard file, records of accounts, and catalogs of architectural parts. The Edward R. Barnsley Papers contain correspondence and contracts relating primarily to the reconstruction of Pennsbury Manor. (Edward R. Barnsley was one of the commissioners of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission responsible for monitoring the progress of the Pennsbury Manor project.) The correspondence and architectural drawings are for the most part arranged alphabetically by name of the client.



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records