Benefactor & Philanthropist


  • About this Collection

    At his death in 1940, George Fox Steedman was described by a formal resolution of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Public Library as a "great benefactor of the Library". These words remain true today as all continue to benefit from Mr. Steedman's legacy to the library and community.

    Born in St. Louis in 1871, Steedman attended the Manual Training School and Washington University, and graduated from Harvard in 1892. He became president of the family pneumatic machinery business, Curtis Manufacturing Company, in 1903. But his avocation was architecture, and he traveled extensively in Europe amassing a first rate collection of rare and important architectural books.

    In 1928 he and his wife, Carrie Robb Howard, presented an outstanding collection of books on architecture and the allied art to the St. Louis Public Library, along with funds to build a special room and an endowment to be used for future purchases. Shortly afterwards Steedman moved to the Santa Barbara area of California, where he helped design his new estate, the Spanish Colonial Revival style 'Casa del Herrero'. This property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.

    In 1926 Steedman and his sister-in-law established the James Harrison Steedman Traveling Fellowship in Architecture at Washington University in memory of his late brother.

  • Photograph of George Fox Steedman in 1931 at work on his hobby, silverworking

    Photograph of George Fox Steedman in his silversmithing studio at his home in Montecito, California in 1931.  He had built this home, which he called 'Casa del Herrero' (House of the Blacksmith), in the 1920s as a summer retreat, but moved there permanently in 1930.

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