Seven Years: The Hostess House, and the Female Architect (…and Mississippi)

MissPres will be celebrating its seventh anniversary during 2016.  To acknowledge this achievement we will be looking back at some of our earlier posts while sharing thoughts and any developments that have occurred since the post originally debuted.  Today’s post is on a topic that has few posts (if maybe only one) on MissPres.  While the building trades have long been and continue to be predominantly male, females have contributed much to the built environment of Mississippi.  Women’s roles in Mississippi built environment is a topic that needs more research.

Katherine C. Budd In her madison ave. office ca. 1918. From The Exceptional One Women In American Architecture 1888-1988. image courtesy of Victoria Budd Opperman Collection, AIA Archives

Katherine C. Budd in her NYC Madison Avenue office ca. 1918. From The Exceptional One Women In American Architecture 1888-1988. image courtesy of Victoria Budd Opperman Collection, AIA Archives

While not a Mississippian Katharine Cotheal Budd, broke a professional barrier in our state, perhaps without realizing she did so….  

Budd Signature

The Hostess House and the Female Architect (…and Mississippi)

August 11, 2011 by Thomas Rosell

During the time of war many organizations provide relief services to troops and their families.  World War One was no exception, and while most of these programs were strictly social aid there were a few brick and mortar projects.  The most successful of these was the Y.W.C.A’s Hostess House.  The idea came about with the military buildup when the U.S. entered the Great War.  The mission of the Hostess House was to provide a location on base for soldiers to entertain visiting parents, wives and children.  Prior to its creation troops had no place to entertain guests on base.  As the program gained success and spread to multiple military camps, the Hostess House buildings expanded from a simple ‘living room” type space to also include dining and overnight facilities. Since many training camps were isolated, these additions made longer visits possible.

Rendering of Fay Kellogg Pearson’s Magazine February 1911

Another interesting fact of the Hostess House was that a great number of the buildings were designed by three female architects; Julia Morgan (1872-1957), Fay Kellogg (1871-1918), and Kathrine C. Budd (1860-1951).  In a time before women had even the basic right of voting, success in any Professional Practice was extremely difficult.  Morgan famously became the first woman allowed to enter from the prestigious French architecture school the Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts, graduating in 1902.  Kellogg had a successful Private Practice in New York and was an active supporter of women suffrage.  Budd was a prolific writer of art and architecture as well as being one of the first women admitted into the New York State Chapter of the AIA in 1916, and the national AIA in 1924.

Morgan and Kellogg likely became acquainted when they were both living in Paris attempting to gain entry to the Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts.  Kellogg possibly introduced Morgan and Budd in New York.  This may have been the beginning of the relationship that led the three women to work on the Hostess House project.  In 1917 the Y.W.C.A. approached Budd, commissioning the Hostess House projects.  She split up the projects by territory, with Morgan taking the West, Kellogg taking the East, and Budd taking the Middle-West for herself.  Budd often stated that the buildings were to be of a distinctively American design.  For the Hostess House project she was influenced by the American barn, as these structures have large spaces and are inexpensive to construct.  The images of the built Hostess Houses show styles and layouts drastically different from one another, but the interiors contain essentially the same type of spaces.

In the October 1918 edition of the periodical Architecture, Budd wrote an article regarding the role of the Hostess House.  In the article she states that the first Hostess House was built in Plattsburg N.Y. in June 1917.  The article also features photographs of a large Hostess House at Camp Mills on Long Island (Camp Mills and Camp Upton in New York and Camp Merritt in New Jersey had larger than usual Hostess Houses as they were embarkation points for Europe and were the site of many final good-byes.)

By this point you maybe thinking this is all well and good but what does this have to do with MISSISSIPPI, get to the good stuff?!  Well Camp Shelby was one of the training facilities to receive a Y.W.C.A offer of having a Hostess House built.  I have not found much information on this specific Hostess House other than one advertisement regarding the award of its construction contract.

This ad caught my attention twice.  Firstly that Katherine C. Budd might have been the first Professional female architect to have a building built in Mississippi, and secondly that she almost wasn’t.  With any good story there is always a plot twist.  Mississippi did not fall in to Budd’s territory; the Southeast should have been Fay Kellogg’s.  How did Budd end up with this project?  While in Atlanta supervising construction of the Hostess House at Camp Gordon during the spring of 1918, Kellogg suffered a nervous break down.  Going back to her home in New York City did not help in her recovery and she died on July 18, 1918.  With the war still going on Katherine Budd picked up the slack, designing the Camp Shelby Hostess House and in the process becoming to first Professional female architect with a building in Mississippi.  For the Y.W.C.A. commission she went on to design or alter 72 of the 96 Hostess Houses built.

I do not believe that the Hostess House stands at Camp Shelby today.  In January of 1919 Camp Shelby became one of 33 demobilization camps.  After the Military’s demobilization, of the 1200  buildings built at Camp Shelby all but 4 were demolished.

Do any Miss Pres readers out there have any information regarding the Camp Shelby Hostess House?  If you have a photo or story please share!

To view the post as it originally appeared in 2011 click here.



Categories: Architectural Research, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Military

Tags: ,

11 replies

  1. I enjoyed reading this so much and looking at the photos too. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Thomas Rosell,

    Here’s a young female architect hard at work in Greenwood, MS:

    http://www.enterprisecommunity.com/solutions-and-innovaton/design-leadership/rose-fellowship/fellows/emily-roush-elliott

    Emily finished her 3-year fellowship last year and continues her work there.

    I have photographed her for Enterprise Community Fellows. They award the fellowships.

    If you’re interested, here is her email: earoush@gmail.com,

    Enjoy all these posts.

    Best,

    HarryHarry Connolly

    Like

  3. A few tidbits from the newspapers:
    In charge of the Camp Shelby Hostess House was Mrs. James Bingham, from Philadelphia, PA. She took a “regulation hostess house” course and was transferred from Camp Meade where she had been in charge of their Hostess House. Mrs. Charles W. Coit was the secretary at the Hostess House, and Miss Carrie D. Jackson managed the cafeteria. (Hattiesburg American, March 9, 1918).
    Described as a “quaint green Hostess House with its long porch” (March 23, 1918)
    Improvements and enlargements were authorized for the Hostess House. (July 11, 1918)
    “Hattiesburg has the distinction of being the only city in the United States to build a Hostess House at their own expense. This was made possible through local gifts in the city and Mondy & Co., the Camp contractors.” (Biloxi Daily Herald, November 28, 1917)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A little more digging answered the question about the awarding of the contract in 1918 if the house was constructed in 1917. As mentioned above, the authorization of enlargement and improvements was granted in July 1918. The following day, July 12, 1918, announced the particulars, which included the installation of the cafeteria and addition of a second floor for use by staff. The house had the “distinction” of being known as the smallest building of its kind at that point–likely related to having been funded locally. That distinction changed with the addition of Ms. Budd as the architect for the enlargement, and the “quaint green house” got a second floor and cafeteria. It is not indicated if the long porch came with the renovations or if it was already present.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Hostess House is on the Parade Ground and known as the Parade Field House

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    • That is the structure that serves the same function of the original Hostess House? I understood the Hostess House built in 1918 to have been demolished c.1919.

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    • I think that you have confused the “White House,: which you are calling the Parade Field House, with the Hostess House. The White House, which was built by the CCC near the Coast in 1936, was moved to Camp Shelby by the WPA in 1937…proving that Germany, Britain and Bolshevik Russia were not the only countries plotting aggressive war prior to 1941.

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  1. KATHARINE COTHEAL BUDD 1860-1951 | UN DIA | UNA ARQUITECTA 2

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