Historical Note


Born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, George Brooke Roberts (1900-1974) made his career in that city as an architect and writer as well as an active supporter of fine arts institutions and social reform organizations. After attending schools in New England, which included earning an undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard University in 1922, Roberts studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his second baccalaureate degree in 1929. His early arrchitectural career included working as a draftsman in the office of Paul Cret, and by 1935 he was practicing independently. While most of Roberts' projects were residential, he also served on the Buildings and Grounds Committee of Christ Church Hospital, which oversaw renovations as well as the construction of an infirmary. His civic activities included serving on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and chairing the architectural committee of the Art Alliance. He was also President of the Pennsylvania Society to Protect Children from Cruelty and was a director of the Agnes Irwin School. Both Roberts and his wife Mary were members of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and personal friends of Fiske Kimball, one of the Museum's most significant directors, who served from 1925 to 1955. Their relationships with both the institution and the man no doubt served as impetus for the Roberts' collaboration in writing "Triumph on Fairmount: Fiske Kimball and the Philadelphia Museum of Art," which was published in 1959, four years after Kimball's death.

Mary Roberts (nee Howland) was born in Washington, D.C. in 1902. Her family moved to Philadelphia in 1911 when her father took an editorial position with a local newspaper. Mary attended the Agnes Irwin School and married George in 1927. They had two children.

Works Consulted

George Roberts Papers. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes biographical sketch of George and Mary Roberts.

Roberts, George, 1900- and Mary Roberts. Triumph on Fairmount: Fiske Kimball and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1959).

Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. Architects, s.v. Roberts, George Brooke (1900-1974).