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Edith Rockefeller McCormick

Edith Rockefeller McCormick Edith Rockefeller McCormick (courtesy of Villaturicum.com)

Name: Edith Rockefeller McCormick

Date of Birth / Location: 1872 / Cleveland, Ohio

Date of Death / Location: 1932 / Chicago, Illinois

Primary Field: Developer

Work History:

  • Devonshire Manor Subdivision in Skokie, Illinois
  • Meadow Lake Garden Apartments in Skokie, Illinois
  • Highlands subdivision in Highland Park, Illinois
  • 3520-3530 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois (designed by designed by architects Rissman & Hirschfeld)
  • 3300 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois (designed by architects Rissman & Hirschfeld)

Additional Information:

A prominent socialite and one of Chicago’s wealthiest women, Edith Rockefeller McCormick (1872-1932), became a real estate developer in the 1920s. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she was the daughter of oil magnate, J.D. Rockefeller, and his wife Laura Spelman Rockefeller. Edith married Harold Fowler McCormick who was son of the founder of McCormick Harvesting Company of Chicago. The couple had an impressive mansion on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and a summer estate in Lake Forest called Villa Turicum. Edith and Harold were social leaders and generous philanthropists. They helped establish an opera company in Chicago and donated land to the Cook County Forest Preserves that would become the Brookfield Zoo. But despite living a life of privilege, Edith suffered from panic attacks and depression. In 1913, she began spending extensive periods in Switzerland, receiving treatment from the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Edith also became a Jungian analyst, treating patients abroad and in the U.S. During her frequent trips to Switzerland, Edith became close with Edwin Dismas Krenn (1892- 1965), a charming and much younger Viennese man who claimed to be an architect. In 1921, Edith Rockefeller McCormick brought Edwin Krenn with her when she returned to Chicago. (Although Edith and Harold McCormick divorced later that year, it is doubtful that she had a romantic relationship with Krenn.) Krenn had an old school friend from Zurich, Edward A. Dato (1889-1864), a Russian Jewish immigrant, who had been working as an engineer for International Harvester since arriving in Chicago. With Krenn’s encouragement, Edith formed an entity called for Mrs. Rockefeller McCormick Properties, with Krenn & Dato as the exclusive agents for the firm. (While each of the former classmates had pooled $2,000 to launch their real estate business, Mrs. McCormick paid Krenn’s share of the start-up money.) Mrs. McCormick established her real estate trust with $5 million of Standard Oil securities. As agents to the trust, Krenn & Dato became Mrs. McCormick’s business partners. The trio played various roles in a range of real estate projects. When Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Krenn & Dato first began developing properties together, they focused on providing affordable middle-class housing. They bought thousands of acres in largely undeveloped suburbs of Chicago including Skokie where they developed the Devonshire Manor Subdivision and Meadow Lane Garden Apartments. Also with EdithÕs backing, Krenn & Dato developed the 200-acre Highlands subdivision of Highland Park. Over the next several years, affordable housing became less of a focus. The partners took on increasingly lucrative projects such as luxury apartments and high-end neighborhoods in Chicago and the suburbs. According to_ The Rockefeller Women: Dynasty of Piety, Privacy, and Service, _ÒKrenn & Dato became one of the nation’s largest subdividers, with more than sixteen thousand Chicagoans purchasing lots worth over $28 million from the firm. Their luxury apartment projects included 3520-3530 North Lake Shore Drive and 3300 North Lake Shore Drive, both of which were designed by architects Rissman & Hirschfeld. Edith Rockefeller McCormick was working with Krenn & Dato to create a utopian community in Wisconsin called Edithton. When she died in 1932, she was bankrupt. As explained by Andrea Friederici Ross, author of Edith: The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick. Although many of her lofty plans never came to be, she left a grand legacy of homes and stories from the North Shore to the city and beyond. (Please credit this research and the content of Edith McCormick’s entry to Julia Bachrach of Julia Bachrach Consulting.)

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Nancy Ann Abshire (Courtesy of CWA)
Nancy Ann Abshire

Name: Nancy Ann Abshire

Date of Birth / Location: Dayton, Ohio

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, Northwestern University; Bachelor of Architecture, University of Illinois; 1965-1969

Firms & Partnerships: C.F. Murphy Associates 1961-1968; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), interior design department, also design architect and project manager on various architectural projects, 1968-2019, promoted to Associate 1988.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Chicago Women in Architecture, Founder AIA, RIBA, NCARB; Executive director of SOM foundation 2010-2019; National Trust of Great Britain; Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago Architecture Foundation, Auxiliary Board Member since 1971

Awards & Honors: SAH award 2010; Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, 2021

Aileen Anderson Colville

Name: Aileen Anderson Colville

Date of Birth / Location: November 1, 1905 / Illinois

Date of Death / Location: September 22, 1983 / Oak Park, Illinois

Firms & Partnerships: Architect for Sears, Roebuck & Co., 1937 (According to "Houses by Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck & Company" by Katherine Cole Stevenson and H. Ward Jandl.) Aileen was part of the Modern Homes Division at Sears, Roebuck, & Co.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Chicago Women's Architectural Club (CWA), Secretary.

Edith C. Antognoli_image Edith C. Antognoli (circa 1965). Courtesy of the Park Forest Star.
Edith Antognoli

Name: Edith Antognoli

Date of Birth / Location: January 2 1912 / Georgetown, British Guiana

Barbara Armstrong

Name: Barbara Armstrong

Iris Ashwell (1952)
Iris Ashwell

Name: Iris Ashwell

Date of Birth / Location: August 16, 1897 / British Columbia, Canada

Date of Death / Location: November 5, 1987 / British Columbia, Canada

Education: University of British Columbia; Iowa State College; Ashwell also studied for two years in England with the urban planner Thomas Mawson.

Firms & Partnerships: Chief Land Planner for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), late 1940s-early 1950s.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Professional Women's Council Western Society of Engineers; American Society of Planning Officials; Professional Women's Club of Evanston, Illinois.

Photo of Anna Carmen Baird Walsh in “A Composite Woman,” American Lumberman, November 27, 1920- Courtesy of Julia Bachrach Consulting
Anna Carmen Baird Walsh

Name: Anna Carmen Baird Walsh

Date of Birth / Location: 1872 / Quincy, Illinois

Date of Death / Location: August 17, 1936 / Chicago, Illinois

Professional Organizations & Activities: Member, National Women's Association of Commerce; Board member, Aviation Club of Chicago; Director, Woodlawn Trust and Savings Bank; Member, Men’s Association of Commerce

Adelaide Eunice Benham Hulla

Name: Adelaide Eunice Benham Hulla

Date of Birth / Location: 1871 / New York

Date of Death / Location: 1961

Education: Wellesley College, 1884-1890; AB from Cornell University, 1887-1890; Bachelor's of Science in Architecture, Chicago School of Architecture (a joint program with the Armour Institute, now Illinois Institute of Techonoly IIT, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), 1902. Thesids: "A Group of University Buildings."

Firms & Partnerships: According to 1938-39 Cornell Alumni directory, Adelaide was in joint practice of architecture at 104 S Dearborn in Chicago, Illinois and in the 90 Schiller Building, Chicago, Illinois with her husband John Hulla.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Adelaide was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. (Courtesy of Martin Tangora)

Helen Bishoff

Name: Helen Bishoff

Firms & Partnerships: Interior Architect for Marshall Field & Co. in 1939

Katherine Brewster with her children Sara and Edward- Courtesy of Chicago History Museum
Katherine Brewster

Name: Katherine (Kate) Lancaster Brewster

Date of Death / Location: September 24, 1947 / Lake Forest, Illinois

Professional Organizations & Activities: Member of the Lake Forest Garden Club; Member of the Garden Club of America; President of the Chicago Public School Art Society

Awards & Honors: Legion of Honor for her work with the Chicago chapter of France Forever.

Fran Caldwell

Name: Fran Caldwell

Isabel Ling Chan

Name: Isabel Ling Chan

Education: Cheng-Kung University, Taiwan (undergraduate); University of Minnesota (graduate)

Professional Organizations & Activities: American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Pao-Chi Chang- Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Pao-Chi Chang

Name: Pao-Chi Chang

Firms & Partnerships: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Alfred Swenson Pao-Chi Chang Architects

Professional Organizations & Activities: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Professor; One of the founders of Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA)

Mary Colter

Name: Mary Colter

Firms & Partnerships: Mary Colter was named the official Architect and Designer for the Fred Harvey company in 1910, she held the position until she retired in 1940.

Sue Ann Conover

Name: Sue Ann Conover

Date of Birth / Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Date of Death / Location: 2017 (Rockford, IL)

Education: Bachelor's of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1979

Professional Organizations & Activities: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA)

Crawford_ in front of Lindberg Engineering Co.|Mary Ann Crawford_LINDBERG ENGINEERING_WESTERN AND CAMPBELL_CHICAGO_02|Crawford_6531_WAUKESHA_CHICAGO|Amy McCormick tomb 1_by Crawford Mary Ann Crawford in front of the Lindberg Construction Company building that she designed. Courtesy of the Chicago Daily Tribune.
Mary Ann Elizabeth Crawford

Name: Mary Ann Elizabeth Crawford

Date of Birth / Location: 1901 / Girard, Illinois

Date of Death / Location: December 19, 1988 / Springfield, Illinois

Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1929; Master's of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1930.

Firms & Partnerships: Holabird and Root, 1930s; Rand McNally, 1930s; Historical American Building Survey Work, 1930s; Montgomery Ward, n.d.; Private Practice, beginning in 1959; Designed offices, factories, displays, and machinery for Lindberg Engineering Company in the 1940s.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Chair of the Women’s Architectural Club; Officer for the Society of Western Engineers; Licensed Architect with the State of Illinois, 1941; Licensed Engineer with the State of Illinois, 1943. In 1978, some of Crawford's student drawings were featured in the "Chicago Women Architects: Contemporary Directions" exhibition at Artemisia Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. In 1980, her drawings were the focus of a solo exhibition titled "American Beaux-Arts" at the Frumkin-Struve Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.