Historical Note


In addition to his career as a draftsman in some of the most noted Philadelphia architectural firms, Hollingsworth Pearce made his reputation as a craftsman whose handiwork in metals and rare woods recalled that of the ancient guildsmen. Born in London, September 6, 1878, Pearce came to America as a boy with his uncle, George T. Morgan. It would seem probable that Pearce received an early introduction to crafting in metals since his uncle was the engraver for the United States Mint, a position he held for 48 years. Pearce's professional career, however, began with an apprecticeship for the Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen, who was known for his country house designs. He then worked in the offices of Frank Miles Day, drafting architectural plans, and later became head draughtsman in the well-known firm of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary. In 1914 Pearce opened his own studio in Philadelphia, which he maintained until his death. His commissions included a number of silver bowls, trophies and commemorative tablets for universities and clubs in the Philadelphia area, as well as church and chapel-related objects and furnishings for several churches along the east coast--from Georgia to Vermont. One of his most important commissions was for the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel. Pearce designed 15 memorial lamps, floor brasses and metal inlays for the litany desk . Pearce married Amy Lawrence Smith in 1904, and they had four children. Pearce died Augsut 5, 1936.

Works Consulted

Archives collection control files. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes unidentified biographical sketch.