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"That Exceptional One: Women in American Architecture, 1888-1988," Exhibition (Ms1991-041)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms1991-041


  • 1988 - 1988

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Historical Information

"That Exceptional One: Women in American Architecture 1888-1988" commemorated the 100th anniversary of the election of the first woman, Louise Blanchard Bethune of Buffalo, New York, to membership in The American Institute of Architects. The idea for this exhibition on a century of achievements by women came from the AIA Women in Architecture Committee.

The exhibit consisted of the following three sections: "Becoming an Architect" covered the establishment of schools of architecture in the United States during the late 19th century; the influence of the Beaux-Arts and Bauhaus movements; the political and social activism of the 1960s and 1970s; and the enrollment gains of women in architecture and other professional school. "Practicing Architecture" profiled women in professional practice-from the early all-female firm of MIT graduates Lois Lilley Howe, Eleanor Manning, and Mary Almy, to current and precedent-setting practitioners, Natalie De Blois and Laurinda Spear. It reflected a wide range of building types, practice types, specialties, and locales. " Gaining Recognition" used an illustrated timeline to document the evolution of women in architecture as their achievements and numbers grew and as attitudes both among and about female architects changed over a century.

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

The material in the collection was donated in 1991 and March 2000 by the Library and Archives of The American Institute of Architects to the International Archive of Women in Architecture housed in the Special Collections at the University Libraries of Virginia Tech.

Related Material

"Many More: Women in Architecture, 1978-1988." Exhibit Files and Panels, 1987-1988.

Katherine Diamond Architectural Collection, 1985-1995

General Physical Description note

100 cu. ft.


Traveling exhibit created by the American Architectural Foundation of the American Institute of Architects about women in American architecture. The exhibit starts with Louise Bethune, who in 1888 was the first woman to join the AIA. Materials include exhibit panels, planning documents and research for the creation of the exhibit.


The collection "That Exceptional One" consists of documents, articles, correspondence, photographs, slides, and other related material documenting the phases of preparation, organization and display of the exhibition. Researcher notes reflect their efforts to identify collections and sources of material on women architects. The slides are examples of the architects work.

Also included in the collection is the physical exhibit.

Processing Information

Processed by Federica Goffi and Gerrianne Schaad, May 2000

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US