The principals were Thomas Crane Young, FAIA (1858-1934) and William Sylvester Eames, FAIA (1857-1915). Young was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and came to St. Louis to attend Washington University, then spent two years at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1880, and briefly worked for the Boston firm of Van Brunt & Howe. Eames had come to St. Louis as a child, attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, and served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Buildings for the city.
They formed a partnership in 1885. Their first works were elaborate mansions for Vandeventer Place and other private places in St. Louis, which led to an important series of landmark downtown warehouses, later collectively known as Cupples Station. Eames was elected President of the American Institute of Architects in 1904-1905. Through the 1900s and 1910s the firm designed several St. Louis skyscrapers and built a reputation for offices, schools, and institutional buildings constructed nationwide.
Eames died in 1915. Young's last building was the colossal 1926 St. Louis Masonic Temple on Lindell, and he quit practice in 1927. Their papers are held by the Art and Architecture Library at Washington University.
Eames was the uncle of American designer Charles Eames.