Download Full Text (736 KB)



Personal Name Recipient

Allison, James W., 1833-1898


Letter from Griffin & Randall to James Allison discussing the qualifications of Mr. Lee and building plans.


Feb. 21st ‘94 James W. Allison Esq. Richmond, Va. Dear Sir, Your’s of the 20th received, giving us the names and addresses of contractors in Richmond whom you would like to have estimate on your drawings. In regard to M. Lee, we would like to say that he has had several years training as a superintendent in this city, and that he is therefore familiar with the character of work, as well as of drawings, which is customary with us. Hence he would be a more valuable man as a superintendent than any one unaccustomed to our methods. Furthermore he can familiarize himself with the drawings themselves here in New York before he goes to Richmond, which would be a much more expeditious way of getting the same result, and a more satisfactory one too, than by having one of us come on and explain the drawings there. We understand that Mr. Lee was a Norfolk man and was educated there. He expects to go on to reside in Richmond and open his office there at once. He has some large work of his own to begin when the matter has been satisfactorily arranged. Altogether we consider this a very fortunate coincidence, and an opportunity [next word interlined with caret] of which we should avail ourselves, if it is satisfactory to you. Probably the best way to proceed is this. If you are satisfied with what we have said about Mr. Lee, and are ready to employ him at 1 1/2 percent on cost of the work, write or telegraph us accordingly. We will then go over the drawings with him and the estimates that we have received from contractors in this neighborhood, and send him on to Richmond to get the estimates there. The drawings and specications are complete and it will not be necessary for either of us to go over them again with you until that time. We can then take up the question of the estimates themselves; and decide upon the contractors and make any changes which you may desire in the plans of the house or in the finish. If we should make any changes before then, the estimates which we have already received would have to be made over again. The Billiard Rm. could then be added and the finish of certain rooms unprovided for at present in the specifications. The colour of the brickwork is a very important matter and we have given it careful consideration. The darkest brick that is well made is what we expect to use. The difference in cost of a basement in stone or granite can be gotten for you. For the present however, all we need is your decision in regard to the superintendent, and the estimates from Richmond contractors on the work as at present planned & specified. Hoping that this meets with your approval, we remain, Your's Truly Griffin & Randall [ALS, Griffin & Randall to James Allison, February 21, 1894, on letterhead: Griffin & Randall Architects 48 Exchange Place New York. Envelope docketed: Griffin & Randall Feby. 21 1894 Employment of Mr. Lee as Supt. Program of operations.] [edited by SS]

Personal Name Subject

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

Corporate Name Subject

Griffin & Randall -- Correspondence

Topical Subject

Architecture, Domestic -- Designs and plans; Architecture, Domestic -- Virginia -- Richmond; Architects and builders; Architecture -- Details; Brickwork; Building -- Estimates -- Virginia -- Richmond

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 Allison, 1894 February 21, 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 Allison, 1894 February 21



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.