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Lawrence, Theodore (December 26, 1878-1974)



  • Existence: December 26, 1878 - 1974


Born December 26, 1878, in Romania, Theodore Lawrence headed a successful painting company in Kansas City from the 1900s-1970s. As a young man, he served a four-year apprenticeship to a German painting craftsman in Ploiesti, Romania, before going to Paris in 1900 to help paint the Romanian Pavilion at the Paris Exposition. In 1901 he came to the United States to join his brother Leon who was a painting contractor in Denver.

The two Lawrence brothers moved to Kansas City in 1903 to open a painting firm in offices at the Board of Trade Building at 8th and Wyandotte. Leon left the company to move to California in 1906 and Theodore continued management of the company. In 1913, with the financial backing of W.T. Kemper of Commerce Trust Company and the encouragement and influence of Charles W. Armour, head of Armour Co., Lawrence outbid several larger, more established painting contractors to win the contract to paint Kansas City’s Union Station. The job was completed on time under great pressure, and Lawrence’s business then skyrocketed.

Lawrence, who was active in the management of the company until 1970, was a leading figure in Kansas City building circles for many years and his firm painted many of the major buildings constructed in Kansas City in the 20th century.

Lawrence passed away in 1974 at age 95.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Theodore Lawrence Painting Company Collection

Identifier: MS-0148
Scope and Contents The Theodore Lawrence Painting Company Collection was a gift from Barbara Millman, granddaughter of Lawrence, to LaBudde Special Collections in February 2009. Although the collection is scant, it contains significant insight into Lawrence and the successful painting business he developed in Kansas City, Missouri, beginning in 1903. Included is biographical information, correspondence, promotional material, periodicals containing articles on Lawrence, news clippings, photographs and other...
Dates: 1903 - 1976