Elijah James Dallett was born in Philadelphia; but after his father's death in 1863, his mother, Ann Jane (Worthington) Dallett, moved the family to West Chester, where Dallett attended McAllen's West Chester Military Academy, followed by the Friends' Central School in Philadelphia. After his mother's death when he was 14, Dallett's aunt, Mrs. Abner Hoopes of West Chester, enrolled him at West Chester High School. He went on for a final year before graduation at Swarthmore College Preparatory School. In 1876 Dallett entered Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, and graduated in 1881 having taken courses in design and interior decoration.
After graduation Dallett spent the summer in travel, visiting France and the British Isles. When he returned to Philadelphia in the fall of 1881, he joined the prestigious firm of Furness & Evans, where his apprenticeship proved successful and he gained partnership status in 1886. However, in December, 1888, Dallett and another member of the firm, Louis Carter Baker, broke away from Furness, Evans & Co. and established their own enterprise under the name of Baker & Dallett. This association continued until the partners separated at the end of June, 1912, leaving Dallett to establish an office independently in Wilmington, DE, where he remained until his death.
Dallett had married Mina Warner Betts of Wilmington in 1885. Her family contacts included the Tatnall and Warner families, who had operated mills on the Brandywine River and worked along with DuPont interests to develop industry in New Castle County, Delaware. Before the dissolution of Baker & Dallett, these family connections had been apparent in the work gained by the young firm (Equitable Building, Wilmington, 1890; Wilmington Country Club, 1901). After the dissolution of the Baker & Dallett office, Dallett established his independent office in the Equitable Building in Wilmington and is credited with designing the chapel for the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery.
In addition to his professional memberships in the T-Square Club and the Philadelphia Chapter of the AlA, Dallett was a member of the Art Club and Fencing and Sparring Club of Philadelphia. His interests in Wilmington were reflected in memberships in the Wilmington Country Club, the Delaware Historical Society, and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Philadelphia Art Club
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Fencing and Sparring Club
- Delaware Historical Society
- Wilmington Country Club
- St. Andrew's Episcopal Church (Wilmington)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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