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Storming the Old Boys’ Citadel: Two Pioneer Women Architects of 19th-Century North America by Carla Blank and Tania Martin


“Women” and “architecture” were once mutually exclusive terms. In an 1891 address, Louise Blanchard Bethune declared, “it is hardly safe to assert” that a connection even exists between the two words. Some women didn’t agree.

Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1823-1902) is credited with works built in the present states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and British Columbia. Born Esther Pariseau in Saint-Elzéar, Québec, the “Mother with a hammer” was honored by the State of Washington as one of two people to represent it in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.

Louise Blanchard Bethune (1856-1913) designed and built works in the Buffalo, New York area, including the Lafayette Hotel, which was one of the eleven most luxurious hotels in the United States when it opened in 1904.

Mother Joseph’s and Louise Bethune’s signature buildings, Providence Academy, Vancouver, Washington, and the Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo, New York, are both listed on the United States’ National Register of Historic Places. Both buildings are cases of historic preservation and adaptive reuse.

Carla Blank and Tania Martin breathe new life into the lives and works of these two remarkable nineteenth-century women.

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architecture, women's history



Baraka Books