The Refinement of Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Glencairn Museum News | Number 7, 2014

Interior of Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Photograph by C. Harrison Conroy.

The Cathedral of the General Church of the New Jerusalem1 at Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania is one of the great Gothic Revival churches built on American soil (Figure 1). The fruit of a highly unusual construction process, as nearly antithetical to modern practice as the Middle Ages is distant from the present, it speaks the language of medieval architecture with a degree of idiomatic subtlety rarely achieved elsewhere.2

It is fluent, rather than simply conversant; it is, in a word, refined. By “refinement,” however, is meant not only a certain sophistication of taste but also—in a specific sense—a systematic negation of architectural rectilinearity inspired by the research of William Henry Goodyear.3


Figure 1: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: bird’s eye view.


Goodyear, the first curator of fine arts at the Brooklyn Museum and a widely respected authority on art history, appeared to have discovered, in the words of the New York Herald in 1910, “the secret of medieval beauty.”4 Encouraged by the writings of John Ruskin, Goodyear made an intellectual leap from relatively well-known refinements—the subtle impositions of curvature on plan and elevation given to Greek temples such as the Parthenon—to the numerous instances of irregularity in plan and elevation in medieval Italian and French churches, which he documented using sophisticated photographic techniques.5 To his mind it was an unbroken craft tradition, passed down from antiquity to the Middle Ages, designed “to produce an illusive optical vibration or mystification which is conducive to an effect of ‘life.’”6

His theories would be soundly rejected by scholars in Europe: what Goodyear had documented was in fact not deliberate, but rather the result of a host of conditions including planning error, differential foundation settlement, and deformation. Yet his American audience could not have embraced his work more enthusiastically.7 They saw in Goodyear’s research the solution to a pressing problem: the uneasy marriage of modern construction with medieval style.8 As architect Philip Frohman wrote to the Dean of Washington National Cathedral, the Reverend George Bratenahl, in 1919:

“The majority of our best churches . . . are still altogether too hard, mechanical and rigid in effect. They look too machine-made, and lack that grace and charm possessed by the average medieval church. Beauty of proportion and refinement of detail will do much to soften and mitigate this mechanical quality, but the way to eliminate it is to give up our modern devotion to mechanical duplication and make use of those refinements which the cathedral builders valued so highly. These refinements made the old Cathedrals beautiful when they were new. It was not necessary for them to be mellowed by the hand of time, for their builders had followed their love of the grace which is attained by those subtle curves and variations which are felt and appreciated even though they are not sufficiently obvious to be detected by the eye or, perhaps, I should say, by the mind or reason. I believe the time will come when these refinements will be recognized by all students of Christian art as being one of the many factors which contribute toward the emotional appeal of the Gothic cathedrals.”9

Though Goodyear had incorrectly attributed intentionality to the refinements (medieval builders would probably have been astonished to have their apparent errors seen as “deliberate”) there was no question that medieval buildings were often imperfect. This imperfection carried with it an unmistakable beauty, that of human fallibility in the face of daunting task—to produce work of sufficient quality to honor the Creator.10

When Frohman wrote this letter he and E. Donald Robb had just been appointed architects to Washington Cathedral. They were familiar with Goodyear’s theories because Robb had worked to apply them, under the direction of Raymond Pitcairn, at Bryn Athyn Cathedral, and would soon incorporate them into the crossing and nave at Washington.11 Pitcairn had been given the supervision of the building project (and the means to complete it) by his father, John Pitcairn Jr., the co-founder of the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company; construction began in 1913 upon the engagement of architect Ralph Adams Cram.12

The use of architectural refinements—the Cathedral of Bryn Athyn was, to my knowledge, the first in the world to have had them incorporated—along with the guild-style construction process, in which artisans were assembled to work under the supervision of an on-site architect, is precisely what sets Bryn Athyn apart from its many Gothic Revival peers. Indeed, a modern, refinement-inflected building had the potential to become, as Pitcairn wrote to Cram in 1917, nothing less than “a new Christian architecture” because of its identity, in the spirit of fundamental variety, with the great edifices of the Middle Ages.13 “Of all the works of art created by the hands of men,” wrote Pitcairn in 1920,

“there are none that seem to live, through the human spirit that breathes within their every part, as do the marvelous churches and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. . . . Their perfection and their unity arise from the perfection of variety so organized that all things conspire to one end. The varying minds of many men whose labor was inspired by love and joy abounding in their work are written in these monuments of Christian art, which may be likened to great symphonies in which a multitude of voices join in sublime and mighty harmonies, full and rich, and well-nigh infinite in their variety. All other architecture is by comparison inadequate and elementary.”14


Figure 2: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: Ezekiel Tower, elevation from the west.


If Pitcairn was increasingly attracted especially to French architecture of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries—witness the style of the Ezekiel tower adjoined to the Cathedral (Figure 2), created under his direction—it was surely because this architecture, unlike that of the mid-thirteenth century, was replete with the irregularity that comes of experimentation. The new architecture at the time—then called “French work” and today known as Gothic—brought with it a host of new possibilities and problems. The solutions, sometimes brilliant, sometimes less so (structural failure was a regular occurrence), were worked out across France in the second half of the twelfth century. Churches such as the cathedral of Noyon (Figure 3), begun in the second quarter of the twelfth century, stand as eloquent witnesses to this period of rife invention.


Figure 3: Noyon, Cathedral of Notre-Dame: view of the north transept. The rounded termination of the transept and inversion of the conventional levels of triforium and tribune are hallmarks of this age of experimentation.


This, then, was the appeal of architectural refinements: they could supply a shortcut to the worn patina of the prototype, perhaps like faded jeans bought new in the store—an intense corrective for an architecture that appeared to many beholders soulless in its model-kit adoption of parts.

The refinements at Bryn Athyn


Figure 4: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: view of the nave.


Though relatively well documented in the textual sources, the refinements applied at Bryn Athyn Cathedral are in most cases subtle enough to escape detection by the eye. To better understand where and how they were applied I undertook a laser survey on 17 June 2014 (Figure 4).15 This image was produced by a Leica Geosystems C10 laser scanner (Figure 5), which distributes a laser beam spherically by means of a rotating mirror, and measures the distance between itself and every surface that it strikes at a rate that can approach multiple thousands of measurements per second—and with a positional error of fewer than five millimeters.16 The result is a three-dimensional spatial map of the highest precision, with which it is possible to see the building as never before by creating ‘slices’ through the data in the form of plans, sections, elevations, and perspective views (Figure 6).


Figure 5: Leica Geosytems C10 laser scanner on the chancel of Bryn Athyn Cathedral.


Figure 6: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: perspective view of the southern half of the building.


Information about the refinements comes from several sources: from letters written by Pitcairn to Cram17 and to Goodyear18; from publications by Goodyear,19 Cram,20 and Robb21; and from the monograph on the Cathedral by E. Bruce Glenn.22 Following is a list of the major architectural refinements with corresponding images taken from the laser scan.



Figure 7: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: plan above the clerestory windows.


The plan is, in the main, bilaterally symmetrical, but it is not rectilinear. The nave widens as it advances to the east and narrows again as it approaches the sanctuary. This introduction of curvature in plan is most easily observed just above the clerestory windows (Figure 7). The chancel and sanctuary walls are raked inward as they advance to the east (Figure 8). In the chancel, the northern wall is raked by 5.9 cm over the course of its length and the southern wall by 7.2 cm; in the sanctuary, the north wall is raked by 8.3 cm and the southern wall by 5.8 cm. These contractions are independent of the exterior walls, which remain square-set—a fact later regretted by Pitcairn.23


Figure 8: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: plan of the sanctuary and chancel.


Figure 9: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: plan of the westernmost nave bays.


Certain piers have been placed out of alignment with their counterparts across the main vessel in the east-west axis. This is most easily observed in the penultimate set of western nave piers (Figure 9): the southern pier is set further to the east than its equal to the north. Finally, at the western extremity of the building, the plan of the porch was set with westward splay (Figure 10) in emulation of San Pietro of Tuscania, as documented by Goodyear (Figure 11).24


Figure 10: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: plan of the western porch.


Figure 11: San Pietro in Tuscania, plan, as drawn by William Goodyear (“Modern Church Architecture and Medieval Refinements,” in American Churches, New York: The American Architect, 1915, vol. 1, 6).


Elevation: horizontal refinements

The walls of the central vessels were treated with a number of refinements. The abaci of the arcade capitals are set at varying heights (Figure 12a) as are the peaks of the arcade arches (Figure 12b). The clerestory sill is ramped upward from west to east (Figure 12c) at a different rate than the floor (Figure 12d), which rises 33.1 centimeters in a continuous slope over the length of the nave, and 1.3 meters from the western extremity of the nave to the chancel floor (for measurements, see Figure 6, above). The peaks of the clerestory windows, however, are set nearly at the same level (Figure 12e), and the cornice of the clerestory wall is horizontal (Figure 12f). A similar set of refinements was implemented in the aisle walls (Figure 13).

Figure 12a-f: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: elevation of the southern main vessel wall.

Figure 13: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: elevation of the south aisle wall.

Elevation: vertical refinements

The volume of the crossing tower contracts as the tower ascends: the walls and buttresses, in effect, lean gently inward (Figure 14). “Pitcairn noted at the time,” recounts Glenn, “that, as far as they knew, this had never been done on any tower, but that it might have the happy effect of preventing the appearance of spreading toward the top that often occurs in Gothic pinnacled towers viewed from a distance.”25 Glenn praises the result: “Whether viewed from the lawn below or seen from the hills surrounding Bryn Athyn, the effect is memorable; the stolidity of a square thrusting its way into the sky is replaced by a delicate rising perspective that imparts a sense of freedom and of yearning life.”26


Figure 14: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: south elevation with vertical lines imposed in red.


I happen to find the effect unsettling; yet in the realm of the subjective it is difficult to speak with authority. The question is better addressed from the point of view of evidence: this application to a tower of what Goodyear termed entasis, following the ancient Greek practice of supplying subtle curvature to columns, is an architectural modification for which justification cannot be found in medieval buildings—whether intentional or circumstantial.27 Robert Tappan, Cram’s on-site supervising architect, who suggested the idea, appears to have mistaken conventional setbacks present in medieval towers for vertical curvature.28 The tower refinement is perhaps the best example—along with the exaggerated non-rectilinearity of the plan of Glencairn, Raymond Pitcairn’s home (Figure 15)—of a theory enthusiastically propelled beyond plausibility.


Figure 15: Glencairn Museum, laser scan: plan.


Only one other vertical refinement is present in the building: what Pitcairn called the “attenuated horse-shoe curve” applied to the great arch between the chancel and the sanctuary (Figure 16).29 The inner face of the arch was built with a six-centimeter outward displacement at the level of the capitals with respect to the level just above the base. The spreading arch is based on solid research: Goodyear had devoted the lion’s share of his efforts beginning in 1905 to documenting the existence of what he termed the “widening refinement.” Yet to call such spreading deliberate, as Goodyear did, was to misunderstand it fundamentally.30


Figure 16: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: section through the sanctuary arch.


In a medieval building spreading of the supports was caused by the thrust of vaults or arches; the stonework was able to shift because of the long-term plasticity of the thick mortar courses that lay between them. To simulate the widening refinement in a modern building free of structural problems was a complex essay in stereotomy. At Bryn Athyn, unlike a medieval building deformed through the action of vault and arch, the stone courses are perfectly horizontal; the facing stones of the widened arch had to be cut trapezoidally to achieve the slope (Figure 17).


Figure 17: Bryn Athyn, Cathedral of the New Jerusalem, laser scan: springing point, north side, of the sanctuary arch.


Goodyear, with Robb and Pitcairn after him, so wished to believe in the intentional nature of these medieval departures from plumb that they allowed themselves to be convinced that such an arch appeared, in the words of Goodyear, to give “an effect of spaciousness to the upper part of the nave,” to counteract “the converging lines of vertical perspective,” and by “throw[ing] the vanishing point to an infinite distance,” to contribute “to an effect of vertical height.”31 But the sanctuary arch speaks a very different message when looked at without prejudice: it presents the characteristic signs of incipient structural failure. Masonry walls, as we learn from experience, do not well tolerate being out of plumb.

It is important to note, when confronted with these relatively extensive departures from conventional building practice, that they did not come easily: to ask a builder to build out of level or out of plumb was to ask him to do his job improperly—at least initially, until he had mastered, at considerable labor cost, the advanced techniques necessary to do so. One of the primary reasons that the experiment at Bryn Athyn was unique is that the funds made available for the project were essentially unlimited. Raymond Pitcairn, like his father before him, saw fit to devote whatever financial resources were necessary to complete the project according to a logic incomprehensible to contemporaries.32 In this sense the worksite proposed by Cram and organized by Pitcairn at Bryn Athyn was more like its medieval counterparts than in any other modern building: as for the Bishop and Chapter of every great thirteenth-century cathedral, no expense was too great when erecting an image of Heaven—the New Jerusalem—on earth.


It was Raymond Pitcairn’s idea to include refinements in the Cathedral of Bryn Athyn. It is possible that he learned of Goodyear’s work from Arthur Kingsley Porter’s book, Medieval Architecture, its Origins and Development, published in 1909, which included a three-page description of refinements and their utility.33 But Pitcairn may also have known about Goodyear from the architectural press at the time—in which he surely took a lively interest, given his role at the Cathedral—which contained an active discussion of Goodyear’s theories.34 In a sixty-five page letter written to Cram on 31 August 1917, Pitcairn recounted how the decision to adopt refinements was made.

“I wrote you two or three letters [in 1912] asking you if we might not introduce into our Gothic church subtle curves such as were used by the Greeks, particularly in the Parthenon. . . . When I saw you later, I again urged your consideration of this suggestion, but in each instance you advised against the curves for our work. . . . Disappointed, I gave up the idea of curves, until months later my attention was called to a lecture to be given in Philadelphia by a Professor Goodyear. A few days before the lecture I went in and looked over his splendid collection of photographs, which demonstrated that the idea of what he termed ‘refinement curves’ in Gothic had been used in many of the Thirteenth Century Cathedrals and also in later work.”35

Cram warned Pitcairn of Goodyear’s lecture that he “would come away with the desire of introducing some ‘refinements’ into Bryn Athyn Church.” And so it was: Pitcairn made the decision, with Tappan, to do so just after the talk. Cram was understandably displeased that he was not consulted. According to Pitcairn, he indicated that “on no account should [refinements] be adopted until [he] had gone over them.”36 Yet, as Pitcairn recounted, once Cram had seen the drawings of the proposed refinements he “approved them, and later what we had done in accordance of them,” and spoke at length to the T-Square Club of Philadelphia, among others, about them.37

The authorship of the refinements at Bryn Athyn was evidently a sensitive topic for Cram, as an oblique passage in a 1918 publication in the American Architect further suggests.

“There is much connected with this church, of which Professor Goodyear has recently written so sympathetically and with such intelligence, that should, I think, be made of record. It was intended to be, in a sense, a protest against the general fashion of contemporary building and a return in spirit and in method to an earlier age. For my part I always thought of it as possessing its greatest value in those elements which connected it with the economic and industrial aspects of human activity, not in those which are essentially esthetic, and I believed, and still believe, that if it acquires fame in the future it will be for this reason; not because it embodies any new elements of design, but because it established a new (if at the same time an old) method of construction.”38

In other words, for Cram, the success of the design of Bryn Athyn reposed in the unusual worksite, the “economic and industrial aspects of human activity,” for which he wished to appear responsible—though it was Pitcairn who implemented the novel worksite in its fullness—not the “essentially esthetic” refinements, for which he could not take credit.

Yet take credit he would, in his 1936 autobiography. “We decided,” he wrote, using the majestic plural,

“to make the experiment of introducing into the fabric itself as many as possible of those refinements in the setting-out and in the articulation of the superstructure as we could compass….All this was done, not from sheer fantasy or sentimental affectation, but because we felt sure that of old it was done with a purpose, and we wanted to find out what that was, and if it would work. We satisfied ourselves on that point; but we have never been able to follow out this plan again, partly because it is so expensive—to the architects as well as to the client—and also because the present standardization of the building trades and the lack of sympathy on the part of the trades-unions simply makes it impossible.”39

Cram’s surprising—and patently false—claim of authorship of the refinements must be placed in the context of his sense of ownership for the design as a whole. He surely never expected not to have had credit for the building and its attendant elements: he and his partner Ferguson, after all, were “architects of record,” to use the standard industry term; it was conventional to credit the office for the work for which it had been engaged. Pitcairn bridled at this practice, which he perceived as unjust—and even dishonest—and chose to dismiss Cram in 1917. The move cannot have been entirely unexpected for Cram. His relationship with Pitcairn had deteriorated over the years, the combined result of his preoccupation with multiple engagements elsewhere and Pitcairn’s compulsive need to control the building process; his activity at the worksite had practically ceased.40 What is surprising, however, is that Cram should have asked just weeks later to be reinstated as architect of record.41 “Since you paid your last visit to us in December, 1916,” answered Pitcairn, nonplussed, “I ask, what advantage is there to the work to place it nominally under your direction?”42 Pitcairn must have understood Cram’s plea, which he refused, for what it really was: a bid to normalize, in the eyes of the American architectural community, a contract gone awry—what Cram would later call “a tragedy”—and, ultimately, to secure Cram’s authorship of the exceptional project for posterity.43

Who, then, is the architect of Bryn Athyn Cathedral? What is the jurisdiction proper to the designation “architect of record”? To what extent must a building be altered beyond an original vision to be credited to another architect entirely?44 A cursory sampling of the literature suggests that the jury is still out: some have taken Cram at his published word45; others have recognized Pitcairn46; still others have avoided making a specific determination.47

Just as the concept of “architect of record” is a modern one, inappropriate in this unusual context, so too is the conception of a construction process determined by a single mind. The Cathedral of Bryn Athyn should be credited to not one but two architects—or rather, to use the medieval term, master builders: Ralph Adams Cram, and Raymond Pitcairn himself. As Pitcairn wrote to Goodyear in 1919, “while I have no desire to call myself by an architectural title, if there is an architect of record at Bryn Athyn, I am that man. . . . My work has not only governed the development and determination of the main proportions which the church has finally assumed, but it enters into the decision of final form of nearly every detail.”48 The two master builders, using the means that each found best—drawings, in the case of Cram, and three-dimensional models for Pitcairn—communicated their visions to those who realized the work directly, architects Harold Carswell, Frank Parziale, E. Donald Robb, Robert Tappan, and John Walker.49 These men fully participated in the process, and were not meant to hide in the shadow of their masters. “After all,” Pitcairn wrote to Cram in 1917,

“my own part, and my great privilege has been that I was given the opportunity, thanks to the support, both moral and financial, of my revered Father, to enable others, most of them young men, as yet unrecognized, to accomplish the building of Bryn Athyn Church. I honor their work. With all my heart I wish them success; and if Bryn Athyn Church shall be the means of their receiving recognition well deserved, it will indeed make me happy.”50


1 I am grateful to Ed Gyllenhaal, Curator of Glencairn Museum, for his invitation to write this article and for his enthusiastic response to the project.

2 On the construction process see E. Bruce Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral: The Building of a Church, 2nd ed. (Bryn Athyn, PA: Bryn Athyn Church, 2011), 33-56.

3 Andrew Tallon, “An Architecture of Perfection,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73, no. 4 (2013), 530-54.

4 “American Art Expert Reveals Secret of Mediaeval Beauty,” New York Herald, 21 Aug. 1910.

5 John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1885), chap. 5, “The Book of Life,” especially § 9.

6 William H. Goodyear, “Architectural Refinements in French Cathedrals. Fourth Paper. Notre-Dame,” Architectural Record 17 (1905), 31. See William H. Goodyear, Rediscovered Secrets of Medieval Art (Dublin: The Classical Association of Ireland, 1914), 3-4.

7 Tallon, “Architecture of Perfection,” 532-35.

8 Goodyear put it dryly: “there is a difference between modem copies of medieval work and the ancient originals, which is not wholly to the advantage of modern architecture.” William H. Goodyear, “Modern Church Architecture and Medieval Refinements,” in American Churches, 2 vols., vol. 1 (New York: The American Architect, 1915), 3.

9 Frohman to Bratenahl, 29 November 1919, in Christopher Dean Hamilton Row, “World Without End: Philip Hubert Frohman and the Washington National Cathedral” (Ph.D. Thesis, dir. John Shearman, Harvard University, 1999), 147.

10 On medieval architectural perfection see Tallon, “Architecture of Perfection,” 530-54.

11 Ibid., 547-48. A new study of the refinements of Washington National Cathedral, based on a laser survey undertaken in June 2014, is currently underway.

12 Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 33-34.

13 Raymond Pitcairn, “Letter to Ralph Adams Cram, 31 August 1917,” Bryn Athyn, PA: Glencairn Museum Archives, 1917, 19.

14 Raymond Pitcairn, “Christian Art and Architecture for the New Church,” New Church Life 40, no. 10 (1920), 619.

15 I am grateful to Stephen Morley, Director of Bryn Athyn Cathedral, and his staff for their warm welcome, to Jeff Hull and Judy Solsberry-Mott of Leica Geosystems USA for supplying me with the equipment to undertake the survey, and to the Ford Fellow Program at Vassar College for additional funding.

16 For more information on the process of laser scanning see Andrew Tallon, “Divining Proportions in the Information Age,” Architectural Histories 2, no. 1 (2014),

17 Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917.

18 Raymond Pitcairn, “Letter to William H. Goodyear, 7 November 1917,” “Letter to William H. Goodyear, 26 November 1918,” and “Letter to William H. Goodyear, 13 October 1919” (Bryn Athyn, PA: Glencairn Museum Archives).

19 William H. Goodyear, “Museum Notes,” Brooklyn Museum Quarterly 3 (1916), 88-89; and “Modern Church Architecture and Medieval Refinements,” Brooklyn Museum Quarterly 5, no. 4 (1918), 242-43 (an augmented version of the article of the same name published in 1915).

20 Ralph Adams Cram, “A Note on Bryn Athyn Church,” The American Architect 113, no. 2214 (1918), 709-12; and Ralph Adams Cram, My Life in Architecture (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1936), 250-53.

21 E. Donald Robb, “The Bryn Athyn Church,” The New-Church League Journal 18, no. 5 (1918), 79-83, reprinted as “Bryn Athyn Church,” New Church Life (1918), 232-39.

22 Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 59-73.

23 Pitcairn to Goodyear, 26 November 1918, 4.

24 Goodyear, “Modern Church Architecture” (1915), 6.

25 Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 67.

26 Ibid., 69.

27 Goodyear, “Modern Church Architecture” (1918), 243. In fact, Goodyear documented buildings in which vertical lines had moved outward over their bases, the result not of deliberate modification but of differential foundation settlement. The facade of the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris is a case in point. See Dany Sandron and Andrew Tallon, Notre-Dame de Paris: neuf siècles d’histoire (Paris: Parigramme, 2013), 90-93.

28 Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 67-69.

29 Pitcairn to Goodyear, 26 November 1918, 5.

30 Tallon, “Architecture of Perfection,” 530-44.

31 Goodyear, “Modern Church Architecture” (1918), 235.

32 See Robb, “The Bryn Athyn Church,” 79-83.

33 Arthur Kingsley Porter, Medieval Architecture, its Origins and Development, 2 vols., vol. 2 (New York: The Baker and Taylor Company, 1909), 143-45. Kingsley Porter, Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University, was Goodyear’s confidante and greatest apologist in the United States. Jane Hayward, “Introduction,” in Radiance and Reflection: Medieval Art from the Raymond Pitcairn Collection, ed. Jane Hayward and Walter Cahn (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982), 33-34, suggests that Pitcairn’s use of three-dimensional constructional models was inspired also by this book.

34 Tallon, “Architecture of Perfection,” 532-36.

35 Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917, 19. Goodyear, “Modern Church Architecture” (1918), 243, noted that the Brooklyn Museum exhibition took place at the “Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1915, under the auspices of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and of the T-Square Club in Philadelphia.”

36 Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917, 20.

37 Ibid., 20.

38 Cram, “A Note on Bryn Athyn Church,” 709.

39 Cram, My Life, 248-49. In 1929 Cram had anticipated this claim by including Bryn Athyn Cathedral in the plate volume devoted to his work, Charles D. Maginnis, ed., The Work of Cram and Ferguson, Architects (New York: The Pencil Points Press, Inc., 1929), plates 77-80, and in the third edition of Church Building: A Study of the Principles of Architecture in Their Relation to the Church (Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1924), plate 157. There is no mention or illustration of the church in the second edition of the same work, published by Small, Maynard & Company in 1914.

40 Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917, 43-48.

41 Cram to Pitcairn, 4 May 1917, cited in Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917, 62.

42 Ibid., 62.

43 Cram, “A Note on Bryn Athyn Church,” 711.

44 In his letter of 31 August 1917 to Cram, 55-57, Pitcairn listed the elements of the building that could not be attributed to Cram.

45 For example: John Burchard and Albert Bush-Brown, The Architecture of America: A Social and Cultural History (Boston: Little, Brown, 1961), 549; Leland M. Roth, American Architecture: a History (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), 356; and Ethan Anthony, The Architecture of Ralph Adams Cram and His Office (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007), 93.

46 For example: Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 34; Hayward, “Introduction,” 33; and Roger G. Kennedy, American Churches (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1982), 103 and 293.

47 Douglass Shand-Tucci, Ralph Adams Cram: An Architect’s Four Quests (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), 57-63.

48 Pitcairn to Goodyear, 13 October 1919, 6.

49 On Pitcairn’s innovative use of three-dimensional models see Glenn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 33-56.

50 Pitcairn to Cram, 31 August 1917, 65.

All images and photographs are by the author, Andrew Tallon, unless noted otherwise. The lead photograph is by C. Harrison Conroy.

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