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Mott Brooshovft Schmidt (September 2, 1889 – July 22, 1977) was an American architect best known for his buildings in the American Georgian Classical style.[1]

Mott B. Schmidt
Mott Brooshovft Schmidt

(1889-09-02)September 2, 1889
DiedJuly 22, 1977(1977-07-22) (aged 87)
Alma materPratt Institute
Elena Bachman
(m. 1922; her death 1955)

Katherine Temple Lapsley
(m. 1958; his death 1977)
BuildingsMount Kisco Municipal Complex
655 Park Avenue


Early lifeEdit

Schmidt was born in Middletown, New Jersey, on September 2, 1889, and was named in honor of Dr. Valentine Mott, a friend of the Schmidt family. He was a son of Edward Mott Schmidt (1838–1909) and, his third wife, Frances M. (née Jennette) Schmidt (1864–1940), and grew up in a brownstone at 671 Park Place, near Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza.[2]

Schmidt was a fourth-generation American of German and Irish ancestry. His great-grandfather was Dr. John William Schmidt; his grandfather, Dr. John W. Schmidt Jr., was the first visiting surgeon at St. Vincent's Hospital and helped start the New York Academy of Medicine in 1847.[2]

He attended public schools in Brooklyn. After graduating with a degree in architecture from the Pratt Institute in 1906,[3] he took a two-year Grand Tour on which he drew many of Europe's best-known monuments.[2]


After returning from Europe, Schmidt worked as an apprentice in a New York architecture firm for four years to learn the technical side of the profession. Founding his own practice in 1912, he took small residential jobs, remodeling townhouses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and some commercial projects.[4]

During World War I, he served stateside in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant, supervising military installations at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland and at Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, during 1917 and 1918.[4] During this period, he also completed a townhouse for Herbert J. Johnson and in 1917, the alteration of a townhouse at 39 East 63rd Street for Grenville T. Emmet (later U.S. Minister to Austria and the Netherlands), Schmidt's first important commission. Two years after the Emmet project's completion, Architectural Record wrote about it, bringing him professional recognition and attracting new patrons.[4]

Sutton PlaceEdit

Rendering of One Sutton Place, 1921.

In the early 1920s, Schmidt was hired by wealthy socialites Anne Harriman Vanderbilt, second wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt; and Anne Morgan, daughter of banker J. Pierpont Morgan[5]; and Elisabeth Marbury, to design their townhouses in the then-new Sutton Place neighborhood in Manhattan,[6] which up to that point had been known as a "squalid place."[7] For Vanderbilt, who had purchased the former home of Effingham B. Sutton, at 1 Sutton Place,[8] Mott renovated the existing structure beyond recognition,[9] transforming the home into a 13-room townhouse with terraced gardens that overlooked the East River.[10] The $75,000 renovation was complemented by interiors designed by Elsie de Wolfe.[11]

While the society pages of The New York Times initially scoffed at the chose of location, and referred to the area as an "Amazon Enclave,"[7] the commissions launched Schmidt's career,[12] and by 1929, the neighborhood had firmly transformed into a luxury enclave.[13]

Pook's HillEdit

In 1926, Schmidt built a gracious brick country home for his family in Bedford, New York. It was called Pook's Hill, after a children’s book by Rudyard Kipling. The house won first prize in a 1931 competition for "A Common Brick House," published in The Architectural Forum, and was exhibited featured in the Architectural League of New York's 1932 yearbook. Schmidt sold the home in the 1950s.[14]

Other worksEdit

Apartment buildings designed by Schmidt include 655 Park Avenue in 1924, 1088 Park Avenue in 1924, and the Vincent Astor Townhouse in 1926. Vincent Astor was the only son of John Jacob Astor IV (who died aboard the Titanic) and Ava Lowle Willing. He also designed the Italian Renaissance houses along the north side of Hardee Road in Coral Gables French City Village.[15]

His civic works include the Mount Kisco Municipal Complex.[16] He also designed the 1966 Susan B. Wagner wing of Gracie Mansion in New York City,[17] an $800,000 two-story addition that included a ballroom modeled after the one in a 1790 house built for the Lyman family of Waltham, Massachusetts.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

In June 1922, Schmidt was married to Elena Bachman (1890–1955),[18] who was raised in Colombia and was the daughter of a Swiss businessman. Elena was an interior decorator in Elsie de Wolfe's office who later designed the decor and furnishings for the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in 1934.[19] Together, they were the parents of one daughter: Elena Anne Schmidt (1924–1954),[20] who married William R. Chandler, a son of Alfred Dupont Chandler, in 1947.[21]

In 1958, after the death of his first wife, he was married to Katherine Temple Lapsley in Bedford Village, New York.[22] Katherine, a daughter of John Willard Lapsley and graduate of the Ethel Walker School, was previously married to, and divorced from, Melville E. Stone II.[23]

In 1922, Schmidt was sketched by Albert Sterner and his first wife was painted by Bernard Boutet de Monvel.[24]

Schmidt died at the Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut on July 22, 1977.[3]



  1. ^ "About Mott Schmidt". The Architecture of Mott B. Schmidt. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Mott Schmidt Biography - Youth and Schooling". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Mott B. Schmidt, Designed Wing for Grade Mansion And Homes of the Wealthy". The New York Times. 24 July 1977. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Mott Schmidt Biography - First Years in Practice". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  5. ^ "MISS MORGAN JOINS EAST SIDE COLONY; She Is Having House in Exclusive Sutton Place Improved for Her Occupancy. OTHER NOTABLES THERE Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt Started Movement in Direction of East River a Year Ago". The New York Times. 15 October 1921. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Rendering of One Sutton Place, New York City". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  7. ^ a b Wallace, David (2012). Capital of the World: A Portrait of New York City in the Roaring Twenties. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 207–208. ISBN 9780762768196. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  8. ^ "MRS. W.K. VANDERBILT TO LIVE IN AVENUE A; Quitting 5th Av., Buys Home in Sutton Place, at Foot of East 57th Street. JOINS THE NEW COLONY East Side Section to Become a Centre for New York Society Leaders". The New York Times. 9 January 1921. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  9. ^ "SUTTON PLACE BUILDING.; Work Started on Mrs. Vanderbilt's New East Side Home". The New York Times. 27 March 1921. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  10. ^ Gaines, Steven (2005). The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780759513884. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  11. ^ "VANDERBILT PLANS FILED; Cost of Her Sutton Place Residence Estimated at $75,000". The New York Times. 10 March 1921. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  12. ^ Hewitt, Mark Alan. "About Mott Schmidt: Beginnings and Sutton Place". The Architecture of Mott B. Schmidt. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  13. ^ "DE LUXE APARTMENTS REPLACE EAST SIDE TENEMENTS; Big Realty Increases. Prominent Operators. $7,000,000 Watergate Project. Bridge Plaza Improvements. 1928 Construction List". The New York Times. 6 January 1929. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Pook's Hill: Mr & Mrs Mott B. Schmidt Country House". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  15. ^ "City of Coral Gables: Villages". Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  16. ^ "Municipal Building and Post Office, Mount Kisco". The Architecture of Mott B. Schmidt.
  17. ^ "Susan B, Wagner Wing, Gracie Mansion". The Architecture of Mott B. Schmidt.
  18. ^ Times, Special to The New York (30 June 1955). "Mrs. Mott B. Schmidt" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Mott Schmidt Biography - Sutton Place". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Mrs. William Chandler" (PDF). The New York Times. 15 May 1954. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  21. ^ "ELENA A. SCHMIDT BECOMES A BRIDE; Married to William R. Chandler in St. James Episcopal Church --Couple Has 14 Attendants" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 September 1947. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  22. ^ Times, Special to The New York (8 August 1958). "Mott B. Schmidt Weds Mrs. Katharine Stone" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  23. ^ "MISS LAPSLEY WED TO M.E. STONE 2D; Ceremony in Bedford by Dr. Endicott Peabody, Head". The New York Times. 28 April 1929. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Elena Bachman Schmidt". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 22 July 2019.

External linksEdit