Louise Bethune life and biography

Louise Bethune  picture, image, poster

Louise Bethune biography

Date of birth : 1856-07-21
Date of death : 1913-12-18
Birthplace : Waterloo, New York, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arhitecture and Engineering
Last modified : 2010-07-21
Credited as : Architect, married architect Robert Bethune, member of the American Institute of Architects

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Louise Bethune, born Jennie Louise Blanchard on July 21, 1856 in Waterloo, New York – died December 18, 1913, was the first American woman known to have worked as a professional architect.

The Blanchard family moved to Buffalo, New York when Louise was a child. She graduated from the Buffalo High School (now Hutchinson-Technical High School) in 1874 and began her architectural career in 1876 as a draftsman for English-born architect Richard A. Waite. In 1881, she opened her own office in Buffalo, earning her distinction as the nation's first professional woman architect. Shortly after, she married fellow architect Robert Bethune. The couple had one son, Charles, in 1883.

Eventually Louise and Robert worked together under the name Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs. They were among the first in the United States to design a structure with a steel frame and concrete slabs. Louise designed few private residences because the compensation was poor. Most of the firm's commissions were industrial, commercial, educational, and public facilities in the Buffalo area.

She was the first female member of the American Institute of Architects and was named a Fellow of the AIA in 1889. Buffalo's Lafayette Hotel, completed in 1904, is her masterpiece. Increasing scholarly attention to Bethune resulted in the first known doctoral dissertation on her, in 2007. She is also identified as the first woman in Buffalo to purchase a bicycle.

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