New Book on William Nichols

Amazon reminded me yesterday that a new biography of William Nichols, who designed our Old Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and the Lyceum at Ole Miss, has just been released by University Press of Mississippi. Here’s the blurb from University Press, where you can buy the hardcover for $60. Amazon is selling it for $54, or a Kindle edition for $48. I haven’t checked with Lemuria yet, but I’m sure they and other of our many independent bookstores will want to have several copies in stock for those of us who have been waiting for a new Nichols biography for many years.


William Nichols bookThe Architecture of William Nichols is the first comprehensive biography and monograph of a significant yet overlooked architect in the American South. William Nichols designed three major university campuses–the University of North Carolina, the University of Alabama, and the University of Mississippi. He also designed the first state capitols of North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Nichols’s architecture profoundly influenced the built landscape of the South but due to fire, neglect, and demolition, much of his work was lost and history has nearly forgotten his tremendous legacy.

In his research onsite and through archives in North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Paul Hardin Kapp has produced a narrative of the life and times of William Nichols that weaves together the elegant work of this architect with the aspirations and challenges of the antebellum South. It is richly illustrated with over two hundred archival photographs and drawings from the Historic American Building Survey.

Paul Hardin Kapp, Urbana, Illinois, is director of the Historic Preservation Program and associate professor of architecture at the School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is coeditor of SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City. From 2002 until 2008, he was the historical architect and campus historic preservation manager for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Todd Sanders, Jackson, Mississippi, works in the Historic Preservation Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He is the author of Jackson’s North State Street.

352 pages (approx.), 7 x 10 inches, 232 b&w illustrations, 1 map, foreword, chronology, bibliography, index

The first published work on Nichols, a museum exhibit catalog by C. Ford Peatross and Robert O. Mellown, appeared back in 1979, and this has remained the most valuable and concise biography to date, even though much more work has been done since, especially by Catherine Bishir at North Carolina Architects and Builders. Used copies of the Peatross catalog, William Nichols, Architect, are currently selling on from $16 on up. I highly recommend adding this to your library as well.

Categories: Books


1 reply

  1. Good work, Todd, on a long overdue treatment of Nichols’ work. Really looking forward to reading this.


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