Meeks, Carroll L. V.

Full Name: 
Meeks, Carroll Louis Vanderslice
Date Born: 
21 May 1907
Date Died: 
27 August 1966
Place Born: 
Bridgeport, CT, USA
Place Died: 
New Haven, CT, USA
Home Country: 
USA
Gender: 
male
Subject Area: 
archaeology; European; 17th century; 18th century; 19th century
Institution: 
Yale University
Overview: 

Architectural historian of 17th to 19th century Europe at Yale. Meeks was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1907, the son of Joseph Vanderslice Meeks. He received a Ph.B. degree from Yale University in 1928. Meeks joined the faculty at Yale — where he would spend his entire teaching career — as an assistant in architecture in 1930. He earned a B.F.A. in 1931 and an M.A. in 1934, both at Yale. In the same year, he was married to Carol Silvester and was appointed Assistant Professor of art in 1937. Throughout his career at Yale, Everett V. Meeks (1879-1954), Dean of the School of Architecture, exerted a strong influence over the younger professor. It was Dean Meeks “who encouraged and stimulated [his] interest in architecture" (Meeks, Railroad Station). During this period, Meeks became one of the earliest members of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), an institution to which he became devoted and served in a range of capacities throughout his life.

Meeks was appointed Associate Professor of architecture and the history of art in 1946 and, following this, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1948. Meeks’ dissertation, entitled “The Architectural Development of the American Railroad Station," would go on to form the basis of his first book. In the same year, he received a Guggenheim fellowship to study in Europe. Between 1950 and 1956 he served his first term as director of the SAH. Meeks was appointed Professor in 1956 and his first book, The Railroad Station: An Architectural History, was published. Following the influence of Henry Focillon (1881-1943) — a visiting professor at Yale in his final years— The Railroad Station was focused on the “metamorphosis of a great central theme" (Kleinbauer, 1982). The book traces the chronological history of Western Architecture from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century through a focus on this particular eponymous building type. Meeks explored the railway station as a type of building that existed at the intersection of architecture, engineering, and art. Between 1958 and 1965 (and briefly again in 1966) he served as director of the SAH for a second time. Meek’s final book — the completed version of which he sent to the publishers before his death — was Italian Architecture: 1750-1914. It was published posthumously in 1966, an overview of architecture on the peninsula during the long nineteenth century. His students include George Hersey.

Selected Bibliography: 
  • The Railroad Station: An Architectural History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956;
  • Italian Architecture: 1750-1914. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.
Sources: 
  • “Carroll L. V. Meeks Negatives: An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University.” Accessed June 18, 2021. https://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/m/meeks_clv.htm;
  • Carroll L. V. Meeks, 1907-1966  Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (1966) 25 (4): 988351. https://doi.org/10.2307/988351;
  • Carroll Meeks, Professor, Dies. New York Times, August 28, 1966, 93;
  • Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, 73;
  • Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, pp. 42, 51 mentioned, 67 cited;
  • “Meeks, Carroll L. V.” Archives at Yale.Accessed August 11, 2021 https://archives.yale.edu/agents/people/75424;
  • Overby, Osmund. "From 1947: The Society of Architectural Historians." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 49, no. 1 (1990): 9-14. Accessed June 18, 2021. doi:10.2307/990495;
  • The Railroad Station: An Architectural History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956.
Archives: 
Contributors: 
Shane Morrissy; Lee Sorensen