Claude Bragdon: His Work in Rochester

Architectural training

In 1886, Bragdon found employment in the office of Louis P. Rogers. Rogers had designed the Warner Building on St. Paul Street, which Bragdon could see from his office window, and Bragdon seems to have despised both the building and the job.

"I cannot count the years spent in this office as anything but wasted. I learned nothing of value in my profession, but a great deal of no value about matters with which I had no concern."

Page 30, More Lives Than One

Bragdon decided to try his hand at becoming a cartoonist, but he was discharged from that job after he caricatured Daniel W. Powers, who at the time was Rochester's most prominent citizen. After drifting for a while, he finally got a job in the office of Charles Ellis, where he began to develop his skills as a draftsman, and learn something of the place of engineering in the design of buildings.

Bragdon also kept busy by helping to organize the Rochester Architectural Sketch Club and entering various drawing competitions. His work in one of those competitions impressed one of the judges so much that it led to Bragdon being offered a job when he set out for New York City in 1890. Bruce Price, the judge, had wanted Bragdon to win first prize in the competition, but the other judges had awarded him the second instead.

Bragdon worked as an architect for Price in New York, and also worked as a magazine illustrator for Scribner's.

Price was soon encouraging Bragdon to strike out on his own, but Bragdon needed more financial security first. He went to work in Buffalo at the firm of Green & Wicks, then moved back to Rochester in 1891.

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