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Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection

Identifier: Ms-1990-057

Scope and Content

The Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection spans the years 1924 to 1956 with the majority of projects completed in greater southern California. Additionally, the designs of architect Lilian J. Rice are included. This collection contains both independent and collaborative design projects by Chadeayne and Rice. Materials in the collection include watercolor drawings, tracings, blue prints photographs, magazine clippings and display boards for approximately 125 projects.

The collection is divided into three series:

Series I: Personal & Professional Papers (1924) consists of Chadeayne’s student work; watercolor designs; portrait photographs of Chadeayne as well as her co-worker, Greta Grossman; and magazine clippings from Ladies Home Journal.

Series II: Project Records (1926-1952) includes project notes, finished project photos, display photos and Chadeayne’s drawings.

Series III: Art & Artifacts (1927-1937) contains, one watercolor drawing of the Townley residence and one historical color map of Monterey, California.


  • 1924 - 1956


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note - Olive Chadeayne

Olive Chadeayne was born on February 9, 1904 in Ossining, New York. Educated in California, Chadeayne began studying architecture at the University of California (currently UCLA) in 1922 later completing her coursework at Berkeley when the UCLA architecture program was shut down. Chadeayne graduated with a B.A. in Architecture from Berkeley on May 12, 1926 and went on to complete her graduate work there in 1927.

Los Angeles based architecture firm, Pierpont & Walter Davis hired Chadeayne shortly after graduation in 1927. During the time Chadeayne spent at the firm she worked on a number of small residential projects improving her drafting abilities. In 1935 Chadeayne met and became close associate to architect Lilian J. Rice (1888-1938). For three years Chadeayne collaborated with Rice, designing two schools, small offices and other assorted buildings. Their association was cut short when Lilian Rice passed away suddenly in 1938, Chadeayne went on to complete a number of Rice's unfinished work projects.

In 1940 Chadeayne began taking on private contract work for the first time and accepted a teaching position at Cornell University. There, she taught house planning in the College of Home Economics. By July 1942 however, Chadeayne returned to California taking work as a production illustrator for the Lockheed engineering department in war service. While working for Lockheed Chadeayne also handled side projects for various firms in the Los Angeles area concentrating primarily on residential and educational facilities. In 1945 Chadeayne left Lockheed.

By 1951 Chadeayne was hired at Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM). Her job at the company required extensive travel to educational facilities in various stages of building development. As a result of her travels, Chadeayne became a highly skilled specifications writer for DMJM. Her ability to write technically became her greatest professional asset.

“I tried to write specifications so that the ordinary workmen could understand them. I found that the specifications were the standard by which the building was built and that some of the workmen couldn’t understand…So I tried to write them in a way that anybody could…”

From 1958 to 1965 Chadeayne worked at Los Angeles based firm, A.Q. Jones & Frederick Emmons. She worked on a number of projects including a U.S. Air Force hospital, Naval housing and most significantly, the U.S. Consulate in Singapore. By 1966 one of Chadeayne’s most prominent architectural endeavors began when she was hired to write specifications at the Bank of America Headquarters in San Francisco, California.

By 1970 Chadeayne retired formally but continued working part time until 1973 as a consultant for renowned architecture firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM). There she wrote furnishing specifications for a bank project in Buffalo, NY.

Throughout her career and in retirement Chadeayne held membership with the AWA (Association of Women Architects) and the Los Angeles chapter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects). Chadeayne took an active in role in AIA serving as chairwoman for the membership committee and later on the Codes Committee ensuring utilization of California building regulations statewide.

In her free time Chadeayne enjoyed cooking and gardening. She spent significant time traveling with friends and family visiting such places as Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan. She died on February 23, 2001 at the age of 97 in Tracy, California.

Works Consulted

Chadeayne, O., Horton, I. S., O'Hara, E., International Archive of Women in Architecture, & American Institute of Architects. (1993). Olive Chadeayne, architect: Transcript of an oral history interview with Inge Horton and Elizabeth O'Hara for the International Archive of Women in Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and AIA San Francisco, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects. S.l: s.n.

Horton, Inge Schaefer. (Eds.). (2010). Early women architects of the San Francisco Bay Area : the lives and work of fifty professionals, 1890-1951. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. Inc.

Biographical Note - Lilian Rice

Lilian Rice (1889-1938) was born in National City, California in 1889. She attended the University of California at Berkley for architecture and in 1910 became one of the first females to graduate from the program. Rice’s greatest professional achievement came from her work as resident architect in the design of the upscale southern California community, Rancho Santa Fe.

Recognized for her work with Spanish colonial architecture, Rice advocated utilizing natural and local materials to blend surrounding landscapes into her designs. This practice was particularly evident in her work on the Rancho Santa Fe community.

“Every environment here calls for simplicity and beauty: the gorgeous natural landscapes, the gently broken topography, the nearby mountains. No one with a sense of fitness, it seems to me, could violate these natural factors by creating anything that lacked simplicity in line and form and color.”

In addition to her work on the Rancho Santa Fe community, Rice designed San Dieguito Union High School in Encitas, California later serving as an original trustee for the Rancho Santa Fe school district.

Lilian Rice died suddenly on Dec. 22, 1938 at the age of 49.


Cox, Lilian. (2009, October). Famous female architect finally gets a biography. The Coast News. Retrieved from

Eddy, L. L. (1985). Lilian Jeannette Rice: The lady as architect (A University of San Diego Thesis By Lucinda Eddy). University of San Diego, San Diego, CA.


9.8 Cubic Feet (2 boxes; 28 oversize folders)


The Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection includes drawings for residences, schools, churches and businesses primarily located in southern California. In addition to Olive Chadeayne's work, the collection also contains over twenty-five drawings by American architect Lillian Rice.


There are three series in The Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection:

Series I: Personal & Professional Papers and Series

Series II: Project Records, is arranged alphabetically by client/project title. Blue prints are stored separtely from tracing and dizao papers. Blue line/diazo drawings are stored with tracings, separted by interleaving tissue.

Series III: Arts & Artifacts are arranged chronologically according to project.

Source of Acquisition

The Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection was donated to Special Collections in multiple accruals between 1990 and 1994.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some of this collection has been digitized and is available online.

Related Archival Materials

See also: "Olive Chadeayne, architect: transcript of an oral history interview with Inge Horton and Elizabeth O'Hara for the International Archive of Women in Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and AIA San Francisco, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects." cataloged in the Special Collections Reading Room SPEC LARGE NA2125.C3 C42 1993

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

A preliminary inventory of the Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection was completed in 1990. The collection was fully processed and described in September 2010.


Olive Chadeayne Architectural Collection, 1924-1956
Dayne E. Mauney, Volunteer
2010 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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