While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Lila Knight

VOSPER, SAMUEL CHARLES PHELPS (1887–1958). Samuel Charles Phelps Vosper, architect, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on May 19, 1887, the son of John and Frances (Thompson) Vosper. A promising youth, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the respected Trinity Boys' School in New York City. Vosper's capricious architectural education included formal training, albeit incomplete, at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and the independent atelier of Wiley Corbett. He was an apprentice with Crow, Lewis, and Wick of New York and studied architectural rendering under Birch Burdette Long. He joined the famous Lasky Players Corporation in 1913 and spent seven years designing theaters across the United States before arriving in Dallas around 1920. He joined the faculty of the University of Texas School of Architecture in 1922, where he was credited with raising the abilities of the advanced design studios to such an extent that the University of Texas was finally granted membership in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He was also employed by Ralph H. Cameron as chief designer for the Scottish Rite Temple (1924) and the Medical Arts Building (1926) in San Antonio and Central Christian Church (1928) in Austin. After being dismissed from UT in 1928 for hiring a nude female model, he went to Texas A&M University, where he was chief designer for the College Architect's Office. Vosper was a Texas history enthusiast and traveled in South Texas photographing Spanish vernacular architecture. Between 1933 and 1935 he worked for the Civil Works Administration in San Antonio and Austin, the University of Texas Supervising Architect's Office, and the National Parks Service, which commissioned him to restore Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission outside Goliad in 1935. Vosper spent the next six years as chief architect for the project, heading a team of architects, archeologists, and historians that included Raiford Stripling, Richard S. Colley, Roland Beard, and Charles W. Ramsdell. Other projects included the Goliad Memorial Auditorium (1936), the Fannin Battlefield Memorial (1937), and the reconstruction of the presidio at La Bahía. He moved to Washington and designed post offices for the Treasury Department during World War II. In 1945 he returned to Texas, and for the next decade and a half he worked in Pampa, San Antonio, and Bryan. He died in Pampa on February 10, 1958.

Hank Todd Smith, ed., Austin, Its Architects and Architecture (Austin Chapter, American Institute of Architects, 1986). Texas Architect, November-December 1989.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Lila Knight, "VOSPER, SAMUEL CHARLES PHELPS," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fvofb.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...