Emily Sibley Watson's family
James G. Averell (1877-1904)
Photo of James G. Averell, MAG Archives
Emily Sibley Watson’s son by her first marriage. J.G., as he was called, was a promising architect when he died from typhoid at age 26. From an early age, J.G. accompanied his mother on her travels in the United States and Europe and he participated in the 1893 Trip Along the Nile. He was educated at the Fort Hill School in Rochester, St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and Harvard College. Throughout, he studied violin, including under the tutelage of Rochester orchestral leader Herman Dossenbach, and performed with various musical groups.
Following graduation in 1899, he returned to Rochester and worked intermittently in the architectural firm of Bragdon and Hillman. A course of advanced study in architecture at Harvard was followed by a European tour and then a position with Herbert D. Hale's Boston-based architecture firm.
After his death, J.G.'s architecture books were given by his mother, Emily Sibley Watson, to Claude Bragdon. In 1913, Emily Sibley Watson donated the Memorial Art Gallery to the University of Rochester in his memory. His newly-acquired collection of prints formed the beginnings of the print collection at the Memorial Art Gallery.
May Bragdon, Claude's sister, writes about his death in her diary entry of November 21, 1904, page 138 of February 26, 1904-June 8, 1905: "Very much shocked to hear of the death of "J.G." Averell yesterday, of typhoid fever, at his Mother's, Mrs. Watson's. He was such a fine strong handsome, athletic such fellow and just boning down to his architecture after a year abroad - with everything before him - it does seem such a pity!"