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See Howe, Lois Lilley

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Bauer, Catherine Krouse (11 May 1905–22 November 1964), housing advocate and urban-planning educator, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the daughter of Jacob Louis Bauer, a highway engineer, and Alberta Louise Krouse, a suffragist. Bauer graduated from Vassar College in 1926, having spent her junior year at Cornell University studying architecture. Following graduation she lived in Paris and wrote about contemporary architecture, including the work of the modernist Le Corbusier. In New York from 1927 to 1930, she held a variety of jobs and began a friendship with the architectural and social critic ...

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Bethune, Louise Blanchard (21 July 1856–18 December 1913), architect, was born in Waterloo, New York, the daughter of Dalson Wallace Blanchard, a schoolteacher and principal, and Emma Melona Williams, also a schoolteacher. Called Jennie by family and friends, Louise Blanchard was educated at home and then attended Buffalo High School, where she showed “great aptitude in planning houses and various other structures.” After graduating in 1874, she spent two years in preparation for entering the newly established architecture program at Cornell University but eventually decided instead to become a draftsman for Buffalo architect Richard A. Waite. During her apprenticeship, she learned technical drawing and architectural design, visited construction sites, and studied a wide range of works in the office library. Eventually she became Waite’s assistant. In 1881, recognizing Buffalo’s prosperity and the need for practicing architects, Louise Blanchard decided to open her own office, an event that was announced at the Ninth Congress of the Association for the Advancement of Women and that made her the “first professional woman architect” in the United States. In December 1881 she married and formed a professional partnership with Robert Armour Bethune, a Canadian-born draftsman who had worked in Waite’s office. The firm became Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs in 1883, the year she gave birth to her only child....

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Borden, Gail (09 November 1801–11 January 1874), surveyor and inventor, was born in Norwich, New York, the son of Gail Borden, a pioneer and landowner, and Philadelphia Wheeler. The Bordens moved at least twice in the early 1800s, first to Kennedy’s Ferry, Kentucky, which became Covington soon after their arrival, and then to New London, Indiana, in 1816, where Borden learned surveying. Borden attended school in Indiana during 1816 and 1817....

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Coit, Elisabeth (07 September 1892–02 April 1987), architect and urban planner, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Robert Coit, an architect, and Eliza Richmond Atwood. Her mother died when she was a young girl. After attending Radcliffe College (1910–1911) and the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Art (1911–1913), Coit graduated in 1919 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture....

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Colter, Mary Elizabeth Jane (04 April 1869–08 January 1958), architect and designer, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second daughter of William Colter, the owner of a clothing store, and Rebecca Crozier, a milliner. Both parents were Irish immigrants with family ties to St. Paul, Minnesota, to which they returned when Mary was eleven. Mary discovered two major interests in high school: paintings by local Sioux Indians and the drama of railroads opening the West. She treasured the spiritual quality in the former and relished the spectacle of the latter when in 1883 President ...

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Judith Exner. January 1960. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Exner, Judith Cambell (11 January 1934–24 September 1999), confidante, was born Judith Eileen Katherine Immoor in New York City to Frederick Immoor, an architect who had emigrated from Germany, and Katherine Shea. When Judith was a year old the family moved to Pacific Palisades, California, where she attended Catholic schools and grew up in comfortable circumstances. The Immoors were friends with many Hollywood celebrities, including ...

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Farrand, Beatrix Cadwalader Jones (19 June 1872–27 February 1959), landscape architect, was born in New York City, the only child of Mary Cadwalader Rawle, originally of Philadelphia, and Frederic Rhinelander Jones of New York, both of whom were well-to-do. (She was to take the name Farrand when she married in 1913.) She grew up in New York City, primarily in the care of her mother. Her parents were divorced before she was twelve. Like her social peers, she was tutored at home, where her education was enhanced by her mother’s artistic friends, including ...

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Griffin, Marion Lucy Mahony (14 February 1871–10 August 1961), architect and artist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Jeremiah Mahony, a journalist from Cork, Ireland, and Clara Hamilton, a schoolteacher. Mahony grew up in Chicago in what is now part of suburban Winnetka, Illinois. She showed a facility for drawing and an interest in art that was fostered by her mother....

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Sophia Hayden From The History of the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893, 1893. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-58056).

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Hayden, Sophia Gregoria (17 October 1868–03 February 1953), architect, was born in Santiago, Chile, the daughter of George Henry Hayden, a dentist; her mother (full name unknown) was of Spanish descent. In 1874 Sophia Hayden went to live with her grandparents in Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston. After graduating from West Roxbury High School in 1886, she immediately entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and became the first woman to enroll in the architecture program directed by Eugène Létang, who had been trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This program concentrated on the planning and rendering of monumental buildings but also offered courses in architectural history and structural engineering. Hayden’s thesis project, which employed a neoclassical style, was titled “A Design for a Museum of Fine Arts.” She received the bachelor of architecture degree with honors in 1890, becoming the first woman to complete Létang’s four-year architecture course. After graduation, she taught mechanical drawing at the Elliot School in Jamaica Plain but declared her intention to practice architecture....

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Howe, Lois Lilley (25 September 1864–13 September 1964), Eleanor Manning (27 June 1884–? 1973), and Mary Almy (23 July 1883–? 1967), architects, who as Howe, Manning & Almy constituted the only all-female architectural firm in Boston between 1895 and 1937, although Howe had begun her career in 1893. With some notable exceptions, all of the partners focused their professional work on house designs for suburban clients, and nearly 500 projects were executed during the life of the firm, mostly in the wider Boston area....

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King, Mrs. Francis (17 October 1863–16 January 1948), garden designer and writer, was born Louisa Boyd Yeomans in Washington, New Jersey, the daughter of Alfred Yeomans, a Presbyterian minister, and Elizabeth Blythe Ramsay. Educated in private schools, in 1890 she married Francis King, a Chicago mercantilist. They established a home, “Orchard House,” in the central Michigan town of Alma, located about forty miles west of Saginaw. The couple had three children....

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See Howe, Lois Lilley

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Sara Holmes Boutelle

Morgan, Julia (20 January 1872–02 February 1957), architect, was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of Charles Bill Morgan, a mining engineer, and Eliza Woodland Parmelee. At an early age Julia heard about Paris and the École des Beaux-Arts from Pierre LeBrun, her cousin’s husband, an architect of distinction in New York. Her education at the University of California at Berkeley, however, was in engineering, as there was no architectural school in the West. She graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1894. Influenced by her professor of descriptive geometry, architect ...

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Nichols, Minerva Parker (14 May 1861?–17 November 1949), architect, was born near Peoria, Illinois, the daughter of John Wesley Parker, a schoolteacher who died serving in the Civil War, and Amanda Melvina Doane, an architect-builder’s assistant, a seamstress, and a boardinghouse manager. The first ten years of her life Nichols lived in central Illinois near her grandfather, Seth Brown Doane, an architect-builder, who was assisted by his daughter. As Nichols later recalled, her mother was familiar with “the plane and the saw as well as the compass and T square” ( ...

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Catherine Dyer Klein and Karen Bachman Barnett

Proskouriakoff, Tatiana (23 January 1909–30 August 1985), artist, architect, and archaeologist, was born in Tomsk, Siberia, the daughter of Avenir Proskouriakoff, an engineer and chemist, and Alla Nekrassova, a physician who graduated with the first class of women from a Russian medical school. The parents were aristocrats. The family traveled to the United States in late 1915, when Avenir Proskouriakoff was sent to supervise the manufacture and sale of weapons to Russia. When Tatiana and her older sister Ksenia contracted diphtheria and scarlet fever, they and their mother returned to Russia. The following spring they joined their father in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the Russian Revolution broke out, the family elected to remain in their adoptive country. Tatiana Proskouriakoff attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated in 1930 with a bachelor of science degree in architecture. Though she never pursued architecture as a profession, her training and artist talents came into play later....

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Riggs, Lutah Maria (31 October 1896–08 March 1984), architect, was born in Toledo, Ohio, the daughter of Charles B. Riggs, a physician, and Lucinda C. Barrett. She attended public school and the Manual Training High School in Indianapolis. In 1914 she moved to Santa Barbara, California, with her mother and stepfather, Theodore Dickscheidt. There she attended the local teachers’ college. After receiving her teaching certificate, she obtained a scholarship that enabled her to enter the architectural program at the University of California at Berkeley. She studied at Berkeley in a Beaux Arts program developed by John Galen Howard. She received her architectural degree in 1919 but continued on with her studies through 1921. After working as a draftsperson in several San Francisco and northern California architects’ and engineers’ offices, she returned to Santa Barbara in late 1921....

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Shipman, Ellen Biddle (1869–29 March 1950), landscape architect, was born probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of James Biddle, a career officer in the U.S. Army, and Ellen McGowan. Her family’s domicile was determined by her father’s military orders. A book titled Reminiscences of a Soldier’s Wife...