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Gertrude Lempp Kerbis

Gert_Chris Deford (3) Gertrude Lempp Kerbis. Courtesy of Chris Deford.

Name: Gertrude Lempp Kerbis

Date of Birth / Location: 1926 / Chicago, IL.

Date of Death / Location: June 14, 2016.

Education: Wright Community College in Chicago; University of Wisconsin. Bachelor's in Architectural Engineering, University of Illinois, 1948. Kerbis studied under Walter Gropius at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, 1949-1950. Master's of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), 1954, where she studied under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Firms and Partnerships Carl Koch (1948–1949); Bertrand Goldberg (1949–1950); Loebl Schlossman & Bennett (1950–1951); Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1954–1959); Naess & Murphy (1959–1962) and (1965–1967); Kerbis started her own firm, Lempp Kerbis in 1967.

Professional Organizations & Activities: Co-founded the Chicago Women in Architecture Club (CWA) in 1973. Gert was the first female president of the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago. One of the first women in Chicago to begin her own architectural practice. Was also one of the first architects in general to act as both an architect and developer for one of her own projects (i.e. Greenhouse Condos). She taught at Harper Community College (Palatine) for 25 years. Lecturer at University of Illinois at Chicago; lecturer-at-large at Ball State University; lecturer-at-large at the Art Institute of Chicago; lecturer-in-the-field for Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; and an Associate Professor at William Rainey Harper College. Kerbis contributed to the designs of Lustron House, the US Air Force Academy, and O'Hare International Airport. She was a pioneer in working for the equal status of women in the field of architecture, founding the groups Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA) and the Chicago Network. Gert was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 1970. She served as director of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1970-74.

Awards & Honors: In 2008, Gert Kerbis was given a Lifetime Achievment Award from the AIA Chicago Chapter. She was the first woman and only the third person to get this honor.

Primary Field: Architect

Work History:

  • Lake Meadows Clubhouse, approximately 3233 South King Drive Chicago, Illinois, 1960 (with SOM).
  • Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton Street Skokie, Illinois, 1962 (with SOM).
  • Seven Continents Restaurant at O'Hare International Airport, (with CF Murphy).
  • Greenhouse Condominiums, 2131 North Clark Street Chicago, Illinois, 1976

Additional Images:

Exterior of the O'Hare Rotunda Building (1961). Courtesy of Helmut Jahn.
Interior of the O'Hare Rotunda Building (1961). Courtesy of Helmut Jahn.
The Greenhouse Condominiums (1976). Courtesy of Anthony Rubano.
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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.