G. E. Kidder Smith

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George Everard Kidder Smith (born October 1, 1913 in Birmingham; died October 8, 1997 in New York, New York) was an architect, writer and photographer.

Smith was the son of accountant Francis Hopkinson Smith and the former Annie Kidder. His great-grandfather, Francis Hopkinson Smith, was a noted travel writer, watercolorist and designer of the foundations for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. He was also a direct descendant of Francis Hopkinson who signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of the New Jersey Colony.

Smith earned his bachelor of arts in architecture at Princeton University in 1935 and accompanied an archaeological expedition to Antioch, Syria (now in Turkey). He continued his studies at the Ecoles d'Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, France, then returned to Princeton to complete a master's in fine arts in 1938. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, specializing as a photographer and camoufleur in the Caribbean.

Kidder married the former Dorothea Fales Wilder in August 22, 1942. After the war he opened an architectural practice, registered in New York, Alabama and North Carolina, but spent most of his career traveling the world studying and documenting important traditional and modern buildings for a series of books. He also curated exhibitions for New York's Museum of Modern Art and frequently wrote letters to the editor of The New York Times in civic issues.

Smith was a vocal advocate for the conservation of modern architecture and was instrumental in the successful preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and Le Corbusier's Villa Savoie. He also taught as a visiting critic and professor at Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Architectural Institute of Japan. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and of the Guggenheim Foundation.

Smith died in 1997 of bronchiectasis and was buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was survived by his wife and two sons, George Jr and Hopkinson.

Smith's collection of over 14,000 slides, including historic buildings in Huntsville, Mobile and Selma and modern buildings by Paul Rudolph in Tuskegee and Athens, is archived by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology libraries.


  • Goodwin, Philip L. (1943) Brazil Builds: Architecture New and Old, 1652-1942. New York: Museum of Modern Art
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1950) Switzerland Builds: Its Native and Modern Architecture. Stockholm: Albert Bonnier
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1950) Sweden Builds: Its Modern Architecture and Land Policy. Stockholm: Albert Bonnier, expanded edition published 1957 by the Architectural Press, London
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1955) Italy Builds: Its Modern Architecture and Native Inheritance. London: Architectural Press
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1961) The New Architecture of Europe. New York: Meridian
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1964) The New Churches of Europe. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1976) A Pictorial History of Architecture in America. 2 volumes. New York: American Heritage
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1981) The Architecture of the United States. 3 volumes. New York: Museum of Modern Art / Doubleday
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1989) Beacon Guide to New England Houses of Worship; an Architectural Companion. Boston; Beacon Press
  • Smith, G. E. Kidder (1990) Looking At Architecture. New York; Abrams


  • Muschamp, Herbert (October 26, 1997) "G. E. Kidder Smith, 83, Historian Who Wrote About Architecture." The New York Times