August 25, 2016

Eugène Létang Bronze Tablet

Eugene Letang

On the third floor in the McKim Building of the Boston Public library is a bronze tablet memorial for Eugène Létang. You can find this tablet just before you enter the Arts section.

The tablet reads: "1892 Born at the Boulleret France In the Province of Berri. He came to Boston in 1871 For Twenty Two Years He Taught Architectural Design At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology In Grateful Memory of this Loyal and Fruitful Service The tablet is erected By his Pupils and Friends"

The Letang memorial is a bronze tablet in a white marble frame. The upper part of the marble frame consists of a carved molding in Greek design.

The tablet was placed on December 31st, 1896, about four years after his death.

Here are some things I have learned about Eugène Létang and the tablet

  • Graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris
  • Served in the Franco-Prussian War.
  • In the spring of 1872, he was recruited to MIT and be part of the newly formed Architecture school by William Robert Ware to teach design.
  • He was a very strict Professor. He was known to focused on architecture quality and simplicity.
  • He would call his students "his boys"
  • Was one of the judges for the first American Architect Small House design challenge in 1882.
  • The memorial tablet was designed by William Everett Chamberlain, who studied under Professor Létang. Mr. Chamberlain later went on to be a successful designer. Among his work was the Mount Auburn Hospital. MIT has an annual award named after him. The award is given to an architecture senior for academic excellence.
  • Professor Létang is credited for making the Institute of Technology school of Architecture be so well known and respected.
  • He was involved with the architecture design of the Boston Public Library and Century Club in New York.
  • Eugene Letang died on November 29, 1892. He was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in the family tomb.

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