Stanford White was a founding partner of McKim, Mead, and White. His most famous works were residences for the wealthy of the Gilded Age, including several mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York.
White was born in 1853, the second son of Richard Grant White and Alexina Black Mease. Born and raised on the Lower East Side of New York City, Stanford enjoyed a youth enriched by the music and arts the town had to offer. His father was a noted music critic and renowned Shakespearean authority, with the White family lineage tracing back to 1600's Massachusetts.
Despite the family's financial oscillations, which prevented Stanford from receiving a formal vocational training, the elder White's social status and connections afforded his son to apprentice with one of the country's premiere architects, Henry Hobson Richardson. Richardson received the very best schooling at Harvard and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in France, and Stanford reaped the opportunity to work on grandiose medieval and Romanesque projects that were his mentor's style.
These experiences, coupled with a tour of Europe in 1878, cemented his education. He formed one third of the architectural firm Mead, McKim & White, which specialized in homes for the wealthy, buildings of extravagant scale in the public and private sectors and places of worship, all in the style coined "Beaux Arts" for the influence of the eponymous French institution.
He famously died in 1906 of gunshot wounds to the head. The bullets were fired by Harry Kendall Thaw, the jealous and unstable husband of a former chorus girl and renowned beauty, Evelyn Nesbit, whom Stanford had romanced some many years hence.