William R. Henry follow-up and more

Thanks to Carunzel, our crack researcher, for pulling up the 1952 yearbook for Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, which contains a picture of a young William R. Henry, whose death we noted yesterday. You can access the “original” at Georgia Tech’s website, which takes forever on my computer; or you can just click here for the already-downloaded pdf, which takes a little while but eventually gets there.

Another loyal reader and wealth of information about Mississippi architects tracked down Mr. Henry’s obituary on the Eagleville (TN) Times website:

William Robert “Bob” Henry, Jr., age 84, of Rockvale, formerly of Jackson, MS, died January 28, 2010 at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. A native of Durant, Mississippi, he was preceded in death by his parents, William Robert Sr. and Ollie Pender Henry. He was also preceded in death by two sons, Chuck and Scott Henry.
Mr. Henry is survived by his wife of 60 years, Doris Henry; three daughters and sons- in-law, Bobby Lynn (William) Lawrence of Rockvale, Cherry (David) Rogers of Murfreesboro, and Emily Traugott of Dallas, TX; eleven grandchildren, Amanda Rogers, Tracy Walters, Joshua Rogers, Erica Meshell, Laura DeLeon, Jessica Heinrich, Lisa Lawrence, Charlie Rogers, Matthew Lawrence, and Ralf and Clayton Traugott; sixteen great grandchildren; five sisters, Roberta York, Loraine Logan, Louanne Jordon, Trudy Wand, and Becky Tynes, and several nieces and nephews.
Mr. Henry was a member of the First Baptist Church in Jackson, MS, and was a World War II Veteran serving in the Navy with the Seabees in Saipan and the Marshall Islands. He was a retired Architect, member of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and a “Fellow in the A.I.A.” He served as a President of the Mississippi State Chapter of the A.I.A. and C.S.I. and was instrumental in starting the Mississippi State School of Architecture at Mississippi State University.

While scrolling through the annual looking for other Mississippi boys, I saw “Rosedale, Miss.” twice in a row, next to the names “Kellogg H. Wong” and “Pershing Wong.” I was surprised for two reasons: first, I have never seen either of these men mentioned in any listing of Mississippi architects, and second, while the Chinese subculture of the Delta is well-known to those who know Mississippi history–and a landmark desegregation case emanated from Rosedale in the 1920s, as Chinese parents attempted (and failed) to gain access for their children to white schools–I’ve never known of any native Chinese architect in Mississippi during the historic period. And yet, here are two right in front of me.

So, I googled “Kellogg Wong architect” just to see if he had gone on to great things, and . . . well, the answer is yes! In fact, he worked in the firm of I.M. Pei during the 1960s through the 1980s and was the project architect for Washington DC’s Slayton House (1964), Fragrant Hill Hotel (completed 1982) outside Beijing in China, and the Everson Museum of Art (1968) in Syracuse, NY.

From the Google Book link about the Fragrant Hill Hotel in I.M. Pei and Society Hill: a 40th anniversary, we find this little nugget about Wong: “Wong was a Chinese-American architect whose parents had emigrated from Guangzhou.”

Pershing Wong, also shown in the 1952 Georgia Tech yearbook, also went on to work with I.M. Pei, and is noted as one of two principal architects for the Baltimore World Trade Center (1977).

This is why they call it “surfing the web”–you never know where a little wave will take you. This time, it took us from the senior yearbook of a Mississippi architect from Durant to Chinese Americans in Rosedale, Miss. to I.M. Pei, one of the most renowned 20th-century architects. Who knew we had two Mississippians designing these amazing and serene buildings?

As you scroll through the 1952 yearbook, maybe you’ll find other nuggets about Mississippi architects and architecture. If so, I hope you’ll share your new-found knowledge here on MissPres.

Categories: Architectural Research

4 replies

  1. thats my grandpa!


    • He was good stuff wasn’t he, Clayton?
      I love you …


      • He certainly was “GOOD STUFF”. He was my uncle who I loved dearly. I loved to sit around his table and listen to him talk – about any and everything. He was a very intelligent man and could speak intelligently about most anything. I love him and miss him.


  2. This is so touching :'(


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: