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Samuel McIntire

Samuel McIntire

Samuel McIntire (1757-1811), American builder and furniture maker, was the most representative craftsman in New England in the late 18th century.

Samuel McIntire was born in Salem, Mass., and his career was summarized in his obituary in the Salem Gazette on Feb. 12, 1811: "Mr. McIntire was originally bred to the occupation of a house wright (his father's trade), but his vigorous mind soon passed the ordinary limits of his profession, and aspired to the highest departments of the interesting and admirable science of architecture…. To a delicate native taste in this art, he had united a high degree of that polish which can only be acquired by an assiduous study of the great classical masters; with whose works, notwithstanding their rarity in this country, Mr. M. had a very intimate acquaintance."

McIntire's evolution from artisan-carpenter through master craftsman and professional sculptor to the position of head architect of an "office" (consisting in this case mainly of his son and his brothers) can be traced by stylistic analysis of works attributable to him. The earlier (1782) parts of the Pierce-Nichols House in Salem, which McIntire designed from the half-century-old Builder's Treasury of Batty Langley, are relatively naive in conception. However, growing refinement is visible in the later (1801) woodwork in the hall, east parlor, and chamber of the house. The Pingree House (1804) in Salem reveals decorative and spatial subtleties suggesting the influence of Charles Bulfinch.

McIntire stamped Salem with his personality; the stylistic standards and character of the town's architecture were established in his shop. In Sidney Fiske Kimball's words (1940): "Salem at the end of his life presented a very different aspect from its appearance when he began his work. The churches and public buildings had been rebuilt or remodelled from his design…. rows of tall stately mansions, a great number from McIntire's hand, lined Essex Street, Federal Street, and Washington Square. That was no idle phrase when the town clerk called Samuel McIntir…. 'the architect of Salem."'

In 1792 McIntire, who had never left his native town, submitted a design for the national capitol. Though unsuccessful, it was an indication of how times were changing, so that a man thoroughly in the tradition of anonymous artisanship could now assert individuality and make his art a means of personal expression, fame, and fortune as never before.

McIntire's achievement was recognized by his contemporaries. "This day," wrote Salem diarist William Bentley on hearing of McIntire's death, "Salem is deprived of one of the most ingenious men it had in it." And on his tombstone McIntire was recorded as "distinguished for Genius in Architecture, Sculpture and Musick."

Further Reading

Sidney Fiske Kimball rediscovered McIntire in his American Architecture (1928) and later devoted a special monograph to him, Samuel McIntire, Carver: The Architect of Salem (1940). Decades of research were summarized in Benjamin W. Labaree, ed., Samuel McIntire: A Bicentennial Symposium 1757-1957 (1957). □

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"Samuel McIntire." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Samuel McIntire." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved September 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/samuel-mcintire

McIntire, Samuel

Samuel McIntire (măk´əntīr´), 1757–1811, American architect and woodcarver, b. Salem, Mass. He developed high skill as a joiner and housewright and in wood sculpture. McIntire's opportunities, both as builder and carver, came in designing houses for the shipowning aristocracy of Salem. In the interiors of these houses are beautiful carved cornices and mantelpieces, inspired by the elegant style of Robert Adam. McIntire's Salem works include the Pierce-Nichols, the Peabody-Silsbee, the Gardner-White-Pingree, and the Elias Haskett Derby residences. His public buildings are Assembly Hall, Hamilton Hall, Washington Hall, and the courthouse, all in Salem, of which the latter two no longer stand. In 1792, McIntire competed for the design of the Capitol at Washington. Among his works in sculpture are portrait busts of Governor Winthrop and Voltaire (both: American Antiquarian Society, Worcester).

See study by F. Kimball (1940); Samuel McIntire, a Bicentennial Symposium (ed. by B. W. Labaree, 1957).

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"McIntire, Samuel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"McIntire, Samuel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mcintire-samuel

McIntire, Samuel

McIntire, Samuel (1757–1811). American architect and builder, he worked in and near Salem, MA, producing a number of well-mannered houses in an elegant late-Georgian style, mostly of three storeys. His sources appear to have been pattern-books, including those of Langley and Ware, and he was certainly familiar with Palladianism, for he used that style at the Peirce-Nichols House (1782). The influence of Bulfinch, from whose work he seems to have been introduced to the Adam style, was evident in many of his domestic designs (e.g. the John Gardner House (1804–5), a refined composition with an entrance-porch bowing outwards).

Bibliography

Kimball (1966a);
Labaree (ed.) (1957);
Jane Turner (1996);
Wasmuth & and Kalman (1983)

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"McIntire, Samuel." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"McIntire, Samuel." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mcintire-samuel

"McIntire, Samuel." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved September 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mcintire-samuel