Carpenters' Hall

Carpenters' Company Library Collection

About the Collection

The Carpenters' Company, which embodies the legacy of the European medieval guild system, remains the United States' oldest extant trade guild. The original founders initially focused on the building trade and education in the science of architecture. In keeping with this historic tradition, The Carpenters' Company proudly announces the reprinting of two of its major publications: Building Early America and The Rules of Work of The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia. In addition, we offer Charles Peterson's important "Robert Smith" work.


Building Early America

$5.00 paperback • $10.00 hardcover (plus shipping and handling)


Edited by Charles E. Peterson, PAIA, Building Early America contains the proceedings from a symposium held in Philadelphia in the spring of 1974 to celebrate the 250th birthday of The Carpenters' Company. The symposium provided the first opportunity for its speakers and participants — all colleagues — to meet with each other, which accounts for the uniqueness of the book. Prominent authorities in the field of early building technology who contributed to this volume include Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler, Mario Campioli, Patrick A. Faulkner, Bernard M. Feilden, Brooke Hindle, Harley J. McKee, Roger W. Moss, Robert P. Multhauf, Lee H. Nelson, Robert M. Vogel, and Diana S. Waite among others.

Upon publication of the first edition of Building Early America, The Journal of the Royal Society of Arts described the book as "an invigorating tale that reveals the skill and vitality and enterprise and adventurous innovations of the men who worked in that industry and built early America."

Chapter Listing

The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia 1786 Rule Book

$15.00 (plus shipping and handling)


by Charles E. Peterson, F.A.I.A.. 47 Pages. Clothbound. The 1786 Rule Book is one of the earliest works on American architecture and was created to illustrate, describe, and set the prices on the various components of a building. It was restricted to the secret use of the members of the Company, an exclusive group of leading carpenters in 18th century Philadelphia. The Rule Book includes 37 copper plate engravings that illustrate such building elements as chimney pieces, fanlights, dormer windows, and fancy railings. It also contains a comprehensive listing of all the types of work done by the members, together with the prices to charge for each.


Robert Smith: Architect, Builder, Patriot, 1722-1777

$10.00 (plus shipping and handling)


By Charles E. Peterson FAIA with Constance M. Grieff & Maria M. Thompson. (Athenĉum, 2000). 164 pages, Illustrated hardcover, with a forward by Robert Venturi. Robert Smith was the most important and influential architect-builder in the American colonies. His major buildings were ornaments of Philadelphia, where he lived. But his reputation also brought him commissions from as far away as Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Among his accomplishments were the steeple of Christ Church (1753-54), St. Peter's Church (1758-61), The Walnut Street Jail (1773-74), and Benjamin Franklin's House (1763-65).

Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open free to the public daily, except Mondays (and Tuesdays in Jan. and Feb.), from 10am-4pm

Interested in using our pictures or information? Click here!

Copyright İ1999-2016 by the Independence Hall Association,
a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942.
Publishing electronically as On the Internet since July 4, 1995.