H. Langford Warren (1857-1917) was an important link in the chain of individuals who contributed to the architectural practice, the theories of design, and the teaching of architectural history in the United States in the early twentieth century. Best known in the Boston area, Warren first worked under the renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson before establishing his own practice. Friends and colleagues during this period included Charles Eliot Norton, the noted art historian, and Harvard's Charles Herbert Moore, a leading Ruskinian painter. Hired by Harvard University in 1893, Warren developed its architectural curriculum. In 1897 he helped found Boston's Society of Arts and Crafts. At the time of his death in 1917, Warren was Dean of the School of Architecture at Harvard and President of the Society of Arts and Crafts.
Following the ideals of John Ruskin, William Morris, and later leaders of the English Arts and Crafts movement, Warren along with his architect-colleagues promoted a close collaboration with the craftsmen who enhanced the buildings they designed. The resulting building designs represent a significant contribution to the development of American Arts and Crafts architecture, complementing the proto-modern work of designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright. In fact, Arts and Crafts architecture in North America was extremely diverse. Meister examines the complexity of this architecture by exploring the eclectic historicism of Warren, a key figure in the movement that was centered in Boston.