Michigan Transportation History

Charles Moore

PersonHistorian Charles Moore was born October 20, 1855, in Ypsilanti to Charles Moore Sr.? and Adeline McAllister Moore?. His older sisters were Josephine Louise Moore? (1838-1907) and Adeline Maria Moore (1842-1906). Charles Sr. and Adeline had both died by 1869, and Lohr notes that Moore was raised in the household of his brother-in-law. This was could have been either Sullivan M. Cutcheon or Robert W. Hemphill. Moore received an inheritance from his parents that allowed him to attend, first, Phillips Academy Andover and, second, Harvard College, where he studied art history under Charles Eliot Norton.1

During his time at Harvard, and then afterwards, Moore found employment by writing newspaper copy for Detroit papers. He was the Washington correspondent for the Detroit Evening News. At some point, he began a professional relationship with James A. McMillan as once McMillan was elected to the U.S. Senate, Moore accompanied the Senator as his personal secretary. While in Washington as McMillan's secretary, Moore enrolled at Columbia College and completed a Ph.D. in history by 1900. Moore may have been a significant factor in getting the McMillan Commission established and he was the principle author of the Commission's final report.

After McMillan's death in 1902, Moore returned to Detroit and worked for various businesses, while also writing his History of Michigan. During this time also, he began working of the City of Detroit, and in 1914 became director of the DIA. In 1910, he secured an appointment as one of the founding members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. In 1915, he began a twenty-two year stint as the commission's chairman until he retired in 1937. It was in this position that Moore had significant and lasting impact on the U.S. as it was the commission that controlled the architectural and spatial look of the heritage portions of Washington DC. He retired in 1937 to the home of his son in Washington State.

He died September 25, 1942, and is buried in Middleton, Massachusetts.


1. For genealogy, see C. Kelly Lohr, American National Biography, s.v. "Moore, Charles (20 October 1855–25 September 1942)," https://doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1701456.


Primary Sources


Charles Moore Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; papers relating to the Commission of Fine Arts in National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 66.

Charles Moore papers: 1901-1940, Bently Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There are also Moore papers at the Detroit Institute of Art.


Moore, Charles, The History of Michigan. 3 vols. Chicago: The Lewis publishing Co., 1915.

Moore, Charles. "James M’Millan, United States Senator from Michigan." Michigan Historical Collections 39 (1915): 173-87.

"The Northwest under Three Flags" (1900)

"Report of the Senate Park Commission" (1901)

"Report on the Restoration of the White House" (1902)

Editor, "Plan of Chicago", by Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett (1919)

"A Life of Daniel H. Burnham, Architect and Planner of Cities" (2 vols.; 1921)

"The Family Life of George Washington" (1926)

"Life and Letters of Charles Follen McKim" (1929)

"Washington Past and Present" (1929)

"Wakefield, Birthplace of George Washington" (1932)

Secondary Sources

Lessoff, Alan. “The Early Career of Charles Moore.” Washington History 6 (Fall/Winter 1994-95): 64-80.

Luebke, Thomas E., ed. "Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B.

Scott, Pamela. "Charles Moore" In Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, pp. 84-93. Washington, DC: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013.

Tompkins, Sally Kress. "A Quest for Grandeur: Charles Moore and the Federal Triangle" (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993).

Tertiary Sources

Hannan, Caryn, ed. Michigan Biographical Dictionary: A-I, pp. 138-140. North American Book Dist LLC, 1998.

Lohr, C. Kelly. “Moore, Charles,” American National Biography – Online February 2000.

Charles Moore, obituary. Washington Evening Star, September 26, 1942.

Other Sources


Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Charles Moore," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

Unless otherwise noted all content on the Michigan Transportation History site is Copyright © 2020.
Page last modified on April 16, 2020, at 03:22 PM EST

Page last modified on April 16, 2020, at 03:22 PM EST