Building a Future at Harvard

Henry B. Hoover MArch ’26

henry-hoover-300pxIn 1989, Henry B. (Harry) Hoover, Lucretia Hoover Giese PhD ’85, and Elizabeth Hoover Norman AM ’64—the three children of Harvard-trained architect Henry B. Hoover MArch ’26—decided to honor their father upon his death by establishing the Henry B. Hoover Fellowship. Its purpose is to benefit students in the Graduate School of Design, and it was established with gifts from family, friends, and colleagues.

Twenty-five years later, Harry and Lucretia now plan to continue their father’s legacy with an additional gift. Upon the death of the last sibling, part of the proceeds from the sale of their family home in Lincoln, Massachusetts, which their father designed in 1937, will add to the Hoover Fellowship. At that point, an estate tax deduction, which may offset any tax the estate might otherwise owe, is possible.

Henry Hoover studied at Harvard’s School of Architecture, as it was then known, and went on to pioneer the modern architectural movement in Lincoln. He designed more than 50 modern houses in Lincoln and other suburbs west of Boston, as well as houses in New Hampshire, Georgia, and Florida.

The quality of the education and the financial assistance Hoover received at Harvard inspired his children to establish the fellowship in his name.

“The training he received at Harvard was so important to him,” Lucretia says. “That’s why we decided to establish a fund to provide scholarships to students who would not otherwise be able to attend Harvard. Our father had received a scholarship that enabled him to study at Harvard.”

The support of his professors, especially George H. Edgell (then dean of the School of Architecture), profoundly affected Hoover’s career, Lucretia says. He won the Charles Eliot Prize and two traveling fellowships, the Frederick Sheldon and Nelson Robinson, Jr. Fellowships. He also became the first recipient of the Eugene Dodd Medal for excellence in draftsmanship.

“He had a really direct relationship with buildings—buildings he designed, as well as those he experienced,” Harry says. After graduation, Henry Hoover produced a series of drawings of Harvard buildings. His architectural drawings were not mere elevations; he was able to relate buildings to their sites with extraordinary clarity, producing drawings of consummate draftsmanship and liveliness.

“One legacy of our father was to create houses that would enhance quality of life. Now we have the opportunity to celebrate his life,” Harry says.

For Hoover’s children, their expression of support for future Harvard students is truly a family affair. Although Elizabeth Hoover Norman died in 2010, her siblings consider her an integral part of the gift. “All of us are behind this expression of our gratitude,” Lucretia says. “She’s here in spirit, as is our father.”

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