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The untold story of America's first independent female architect. Minerva Parker Nichols (1862-1949) was the first American woman to practice architecture independently. Her specialty was residential spaces--though her commissions also included an iron foundry and a macaroni factory--and she was a significant figure in the design of the emerging railroad towns just outside of Philadelphia, where she was in active practice from 1883 until 1896. She was also a writer, teacher, and active participant in several reform movements of the era. Creating an archive in the absence of one, this book recovers Nichols's forgotten story to document a career that spanned seven decades, engaging with contemporary questions about absences in the historical record, the challenges of architectural history and preservation, and the need for new tools and frameworks to address these gaps. A catalogue raisonné of her completed architectural works includes illustrations drawn from historical materials as well as newly drawn plans for five of her most significant designs. Archival material, paired with new photography documenting more than 30 extant buildings in the Philadelphia and beyond, offer a full and fully illustrated reconstruction of Nichols's life and career.


This is the first pick for our 2024 New York Architecture + Design Book Club. More info here.

Minerva Parker Nichols: The Search for a Forgotten Architect

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