JOHN SWIFT HOLBROOK
Born: Boston, Mass., March 4, 1875.
Parents: Edward, Frances (Swift) Holbrook.
School: Callisen's School, New York, N.Y.
Years in College: 1892-96.
Married: Grace Morgan Sinclair, April 11, 1908, New York, N.Y.
Address : (business) Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, R.I.; (home) 25 Cushing St, Providence, R.I.
After graduation in June, 1896, I entered Columbia in September of that year as a regular in the Freshman Class of 1900, School of Architecture, studying particularly for Landscape Gardening. In my second year I went Into special standing, taking 2d, 3d, and 4th year courses, and left at the end of second year. In October, 1898, I went abroad and settled in Paris, being attached to the French service of Parks and Gardens of the Paris Exposition of 1900. Through application of the U. S. Commissioner's Office I served as U. S. Government attache in this service until the close of the exposition, having in the spring of 1900 charge of my own gang of men and a superintendent's position. In November, 1900, I left Paris, going to Italy, Sicily, Egypt, and Germany, and returning to Paris the latter part of June, 1901. In July, 1901, I went to England for the purpose of studying the principal gardens and places, spending considerable time at Kew Gardens, outside of London. I returned to the United States in October, 1901, and formed the partnership of Brinley & Holbrook with John R. Brinley, a graduate of Columbia University, Nov. 1, 1901, for the practise of landscape architecture and engineering. I practised until May, 1906, when the firm was dissolved by mutual consent.
My father, president of the Gorham Mfg. Co., had difficulties with his vice-president. I was invited by the stockholders of the company to enter this business as vice-president, and took office in March, 1906. I have been connected with this business continuously ever since, first at the New York office, then transferred to the Providence factory in October, 1908. Since 1908 my headquarters have been at the Providence factory and I have resided here continuously. I was abroad for a brief trip in 1908 and again in 1911, each time about eight or ten weeks.
I am still vice-president of the Gorham Mfg. Co. and of The Silversmiths Co., and director in several of the affiliated concerns; treasurer of the National Protection Co. and of the Venturi Alarm Co., and director in several of the affiliated concerns; treasurer of the Maiden Lane Realty Co. and in charge of the construction of the Silversmiths Building belonging to them, in New York City; director of the Bigelow Kennard Co., Boston. In February, 1913, I was appointed by the Governor of this State a member of the Rhode Island State House Commission, which has entire charge of the Rhode Island State House and grounds, and am still a member of that Commission. In December 1914 I was elected president of the Providence Chamber of Commerce, an organization having about two thousand members, and was unanimously re-elected in December, 1915, for a second
term. We held our annual meeting in January, 1916, at which I presided, and turned out about four hundred members.
At present I am ranking officer in charge of Gorham Mfg. Co. Eventually I shall probably be transferred to the New York end, but there is no immediate prospect of this. My particular duties consist of factory administration, having general charge and supervision over the factory and the New York office. I am obliged to make frequent trips to New York and occasionally see some of my classmates. This company made an important
exhibit at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, so I was in San Francisco during most of May and part of June, 1915. In consideration of the fact that the design of the pavilion was suggested by me, the Exposition awarded me personally a gold medal as collaborator.
Publications: Article on *'Lych-Gates," published in American Architect, 1898; "Silverware for the Dining Room—Selected Periods." Have given several lectures, one on the "History of Landscape Architecture," Feb. 29, 1904. before the Brooklyn Chapter, American Institute of Architects; lecture on "History of Silverware," given before the New York School of Applied Design for Women, 1913; and also before the Handicraft Club of Providence, same year.
Source: Harvard College Class of 1896 - Secretary's Fifth Report - June 1916