Charles Donagh Maginnis got his first job apprenticing for architect Edmund M. Wheelwright as a draftsman. Though he worked in a number of styles, Maginnis became a distinguished proponent of Gothic architecture and an articulate writer and orator on the role of architecture in society. From 1937 to 1939 Maginnis held the office of President of the American Institute of Architects. In 1948 the Institute presented him with the Gold Medal for "outstanding service to American architecture," the highest award in the profession. Maginnis is considered the father of American Gothic architecture.