Milton B. Medary, Jr., was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia in 1890. Although he entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1890, he also began work in the office of architect Frank Miles Day during his first vacation and subsequently did not return to the University. With Day he remained until 1895, when he joined another University of Pennsylvania dropout, Richard L. Field, in establishing Field & Medary. Following Field's early death, Medary practiced alone for several years (ca. 1905-1910) and then joined Clarence C. Zantzinger and Charles L. Borie, Jr. in Zantzinger, Borie & Medary. He continued as a partner in this firm until his sudden death at age 65.
While Medary's architectural career was notable for its use of that type of gothic revival often considered appropriate for both collegiate and ecclesiastic projects, he was equally at ease with the Georgian revival style. Chief among his individual works were the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, PA, and the Bok Carillon Tower in Mountain Lake, FL.
Medary's devotion to both his profession and his civic responsibilities was outstanding. In 1918 he was appointed to one of several positions which relied upon his organizational and planning skills. he was made chair of the U. S. Housing Corporation during World War I, responsible for the design and construction of workmen's villages in Bethlehem, PA, and on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, PA. There followed appointments to the National Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Board of Architectural Consultants of the U.S. Treasury Department. During this time he also served locally as president of the T-Square Club and of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA. He was also elected President of the national AIA, serving in that position from 1926 to 1928. In 1927 he received both an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and the Gold Medal of the Philadelphia Art Club. In 1929 he was honored by his own profession with the Gold Medal of the AIA, awarded for his design for the Bok Bird Sanctuary in Mountain Lake, FL.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Academy of Natural Sciences
- Cosmos Club (DC)
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP)
- Sons of the Revolution
- Philadelphia Art Club
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Rittenhouse Club
- Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
- T-Square Club
- Philadelphia Zoological Society
- American Federation of the Arts
- American Hospital Assoc.
- American Engineering Council
- Seamen's Church Institute
- Century Club (NY)
- University of Pennsylvania
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