Cleveland Sewall house architectural drawings (1923-1926, 1940)

Blanche Harding Sewall (class of 1917) at groundbreaking of Sewall Hall, 1969




Lately the WRC archivists have been considering all that’s required in building a home, and that brought to mind the Cleveland Sewall house, and the related architectural drawings.

Cleveland Sewall and his wife, Blanche Harding Sewall, built one of the early homes in River Oaks. Blanche, who went to Rice, was delighted and inspired by the Mediterranean design of Rice’s architecture, and determined to commission Ralph Adams Cram to design her own home. She provided sketches for the home and travelled to Spain to acquire appropriate artifacts and furniture as well. The Woodson has close to 180 blueprints, floor plans, and structural and mechanical details for the house, garage, stable, and landscaping. Here is a link to an article including more recent images of the home. We would love to have additional photos of the home for the collection.

Mrs. Sewall, artist, philanthropist, and patron of the arts, helped found the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was also an active member of the Garden Club of America, traveling to Japan with the club in 1935. A woman of many gifts, she assumed management of her husband’s wholesale grocery company at his death in 1942, and later donated funds to Rice for the construction of Sewall Hall. She was posthumously awarded the highest award presented by the Association of Rice Alumni, the Gold Medal.


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