Skip to main content

Mary Lou Drosten Architectural Collection

Identifier: Ms-2016-008

Scope and Content

The Mary Lou Drosten Architectural Collection documents Mary Lou Drosten’s personal and professional life as an architect. The collection contains Mary Lou Drosten’s personal papers, including biographic information such as newspaper articles documenting Mary Lou Drosten's contraction of polio and her remarkable recovery. Mary Lou Drosten collected newspaper articles, advertisements, and other material on social inequality. Drosten's primary interest was women's rights, but she also collected materials on racial discrimination. Mary Lou Droston's professional papers include associations and committees such as the Association of Women in Architecture, Huntsville League of Women Voters, and Congress on American Women Leaders. In addition, Drosten maintained project records, including research materials, financial records, contracts, photographs, and detailed drawings.


  • n.d.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Mary Lou Drosten Architectural Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Lou Drosten was born on July 5, 1910 in St. Louis, Missouri. Drosten attended Washington University in St. Louis from 1928-1933. There, she received a B.A. in Architecture. After graduation, Drosten became a caseworker. In 1937, Drosten married Fred Drosten. Mary Lou Drosten and Fred Drosten had four children. Throughout her life, Drosten lived in St. Louis, MO; Oak Ridge, TN; Nicaro, Cuba; Chattanooga, TN; Huntsville, AL; and retired in St. Louis, MO. In Chattanooga, TN, Mary Lou owned Drosten Design and worked on many projects. Some projects of note include a building design for a dental surgeon (1934), 7-room residence for the Drosten family in Chevy Chase (1937), and proposal for a new hospital for polio in Des Moines (1942). Despite Drosten suffering from polio, she continued to work in the architectural field. Drosten died on November 16, 1991.


9 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials





This collection is arranged in original order as detailed by the creator.

Acquisition Information


Separated Materials

The following books were separated from the collection to be cataloged for the Rare Book Collection: Neutra, R. Survival Through Design, 1969. Wright, F.L. An American Architecture. Wright, F.L. The Natural House. The 1940 Book of Small Houses. House & Gardens New Complete Guide to Interior Decoration. Doctor's Offices.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Mary Lou Drosten Architectural Collection was completed in March 2017.


Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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