Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's chair, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ca. 1880Item 22475 info
Maine Historical Society
Born in Portland, William Pitt Preble Longfellow was the son of Marianne Preble and Stephen Longfellow, Henry’s older brother.
A graduate of Harvard College in 1855, Pitt Preble worked in Boston for Henry Hobson Richardson, one of Victorian America’s most dynamic architects.
Later, as assistant architect for the United States Treasury Department, he oversaw the design and construction of the Boston Post Office. His other buildings included many fine residences in the Boston area.
William Pitt Preble, widely regarded as a leading architectural scholar, edited American Architect and Building News, an important trade journal. Expanding his horizons, he briefly directed the Museum School at the Museum of Fine Arts, where Mary King Longfellow studied.
For many years, he and his wife, Susan Daniell, lived in Cambridge, adjacent to Craigie House.
When Cambridge schoolchildren commissioned a chair made from the wood of the spreading chestnut tree, mentioned in Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith" to give Longfellow on his birthday, they hired William to design it.