Download Full Text (2.2 MB)



Personal Name Recipient

Allison, James W., 1833-1898


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison discussing estimates on the interior and supervision of the work.


Nov. 9th '94. James W. Allison Esq. Richmond. Va. Dear Sir, We have just gone over Stowe & Nuckols' estimate for the interior finish of your house. They did not itemize them as they were particularly requested to do and consequently some of them are of little use. However, when Mr. Randall is in Richmond about the 14th inst. he can get from them the data necessary for the purpose. They have given an estimate for all the mantels (except Dining Rm.) at $775.00 including Library mantel; but Purdy, the New York man, bid on seven only and itemized them. His figure (delivered in Richmond) was $607.00 while these seven are figured in specifications at $525.00. Consequently there would be an "extra" of $82.00 on them unless you prefer to have them simplified sufficiently to come within the amt. of contract. Allowing $100.00 for the Library mantel and panelling about it, set and finished, the full amount for all would be $707.00; or $69.00 less than Stowe & Nuckols' figure. Their estimates for the pilasters in Music Room cornices &c. are all high. These Mr. Randall will explain when he sees you. They deduct $171.00 for the changes they were told to make. Their figure for the Dining Rm. work, like sketch which you have, and without any panelling except what is particularly mentioned, is $980.00. Purdy's estimate for this work, without setting or finishing, is $700.00. Stowe & Nuckols could put it up and finish it for less than $150.00 so that the room would not cost more than $850.00 in this way, which is much less ($130.00) than their estimate. In the case of all the work done here, we could look after it ourselves and see that every detail was satisfactory before it was sent to Richmond. The work for the Music Room could likewise be done here better and cheaper. The additions to the cornices in this room and in Hall and Reception Rm. had better be done in Richmond. We have directed Stowe & Nuckols to put on all their grounds for finish in accordance with the "additions and deductions" last agreed upon, and the question as to who shall supply the finish can be settled later. It is most unfortunate on every account that Mr. Griffin should have brought up and pressed the question of personal supervision of your work after the matter had been satisfactorily and finally settled. Obviously it would be impossible for him to give it proper supervision when he is unfamiliar with the drawings, the details, the supervision already done and the correspondence on the whole subject since the building was begun. In the next place this work can not be separated from the other work of the firm, because all the correspondence and business generally connected with it are in the same books of the firm as the rest of its unfinished business and would naturally [word canceled; next word interlined] cause serious confusion and inconvenience if it were attempted. But above all this Mr. Griffin accepted the situation and all it implied when he became a Junior Partner, with a smaller interest in the direction &c. of the affairs of the firm. However disagreeable it is to all in this matter in a way not acceptable to him, he must concede that that this is the only solution of the problem which is consistant with what he agreed was the fair and proper way of winding up the firms' affairs in every other case, where he offered no objections whatever. The same conditions which are in force there are in force here, looking at the whole question from a business standpoint; and what has been found to be to the best interests of the other clients, of their work and of the firm itself, is obviously just as imperative in this case. Hoping that this matter will not have to be referred to again, We remain Faithfully Yours' Griffin & Randall. [ALS, Griffin & Randall to James W. Allison, November 9, 1894, on letterhead: Griffin & Randall Architects [48 Exchange Place canceled; next two words interlined] 52 Broadway New York. Envelope docketed: G.&R. Nov. 9. 1894. Received S.&.N's. estimates for interior finish— including all mantels except Dining Room— Also their deductions for proposed omissions and a comparison with Purdys bid on mantels &c.— Griffins re-opening the question of further superintendence.] [edited by JBM]

Personal Name Subject

Allison, James W., 1833-1898 -- Correspondence

Corporate Name Subject

Griffin & Randall -- Correspondence; Griffin & Randall -- Reorganization; Stowe & Nuckols; E.H. Purdy M.F.G. Co.

Topical Subject

Architecture, Domestic -- Virginia -- Richmond; Decoration and ornament, Architectural -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architecture -- Details; Architects and builders; Supervision; Building -- Estimates -- Virginia -- Richmond; Mantels; Paneling; Cornices; Finishes and finishing; 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 November 9, 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 November 9



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.