Vosper, Samuel Charles Phelps (1887–1958)

By: Lila Knight

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

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.


  • Architecture
  • Architects

Time Periods:

  • Texas in the 1920s

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

Lila Knight, “Vosper, Samuel Charles Phelps,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/vosper-samuel-charles-phelps.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995