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Personal Name Recipient

Allison, James W., 1833-1898


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison discussing the drawings and requesting a decision of which in the firm will be in charge.


Aug. 14th.’94. James W. Allison Esq. Richmond. Va Dear Sir, We have gone over drawings for your Dining Rm. finish with Messers Kimbel & Son and E.H. Purdy & Co. and find that, by keeping the mantel as before, and simplifying the door trim, paneling and other finish generally, we can get a reduction of $400.00 and $600 00 respectively, the first price covering a wainscoting with large plain panels about nine feet high, and the second a low wainscoting as high as the window sills. The difference in the two estimates ($200) would therefore cover the upper portion of the wainscoting the most important, of course; and [word cancelled] the most effective. To simplify the mantel by $200 would have a very plain result, so the question of the relative importance of mantel or of wainscoting would have to be decided by you, if we are to keep the finish down to your limit ($1000). If you are willing to give $1100 for the room we think we could so modify the mantel as to give a satisfactory result and at the same time have enough of its former effect to lose nothing of what is at present the feature of the room. The capitals for the outside pilasters are practically done and will be shipped in a day or two. The small capitals for the windows on front and for the Entrance Porch are also nearly finished. We considered it wisest to have them made here by experts in that kind of work rather than run any risk by having Stowe & Nuckols and the Frenchman experiment upon such work as would be exposed to severe treatment for the weather. The drawings with the changes in the staircase have been made and we are confident that the result will be highly satisfactory in every sense. We have not yet heard from from Stowe & Nuckols in regard to the changes in finish suggested by us for the cornice &c. on First Floor, and in some of the door trim on the Second. We will now get estimates for the marble work for fire-places. We hope you liked the copy we sent you of the perspective of your house. We will be happy to send you as many as [next word interlined with a caret] you would care to have. Mr. Randall expects to leave town for ten days or two weeks vacation on the 24th inst. If anything can be done by him in settling the questions still undecided or in straightening out any difficulties in the work itself, he can come on to Richmond from Baltimore on Wednesday of next week. We should like you in the meantime, if possible, to decide which of the firm you wish to have charge of the work until it is completed, and write us to that effect so that we can make our arrangements accordingly. As Mr. Griffin may return during the next week or two, it would be much easier in every way to have this matter decided beforehand. We regret very much indeed having to put you to this disagreeable and unfortunate necessity. If, however, Mr. Griffin had explained the situation to you before he went abroad, as he was requested to do, there would have been no necessity for your selection now and the matter would have been mutually understood. Without wishing to bring in any personal feeling whatever in such a very delicate affair, or making any comparisons here as to which of the two would serve your interests best, we leave you alone to be the judge and your decision, you may be sure, will be accepted with perfect satisfaction by us both. The work, of course, would be continued in the name of the firm, so that nothing could arise to give any advantage or disadvantage to either member. Your’s truly, Griffin & Randall [ALS, Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, August 14, 1894, on letterhead: Griffin & Randall Architects 48 Exchange Place New York. Envelope docketed: – G & R Aug 14. 1894 – Reporting on interview with Kimbel & Son and E.H. Purdy for Dining Room finish. Asking me to decide which of the firm I desire to have remain in charge of the work.] [edited by AGH]

Personal Name Subject

Allison, James W., 1833-1898 -- Correspondence; Randall, T. Henry, 1869-1905 -- Travel

Corporate Name Subject

Griffin & Randall -- Correspondence; E.H. Purdy M.F.G. Co.; Kimbel & Sons

Topical Subject

Architecture, Domestic -- Designs and plans; Architecture, Domestic -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architects and builders; Architecture -- Details; Building -- Estimates -- Virginia -- Richmond; Paneling; Decoration and ornament, Architectural -- Virginia -- Richmond; Project management

Geographic Subject

Richmond (Va.) -- Historic houses, etc.; Richmond (Va.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.


Richmond (Va)


letters (correspondence)

Local Genre

text; archives


Still Image; Text

Digital Format





This material is in the public domain in the United States and thus is free of any copyright restriction. Acknowledgement of Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries as a source is requested.


Building VCU’s President's House


Original letter: Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, 1894 , August 14, James W. Allison papers, M 1, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University.

File Name


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, 1894 , August 14



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