Lois Lilley Howe (1864-1964)


Howe, Lois Lilley

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 25 September 1864 – d. 13 September 1964
Gender:    Female
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    Boston, MA

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1901-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1931

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Repeat of 1956 biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Lois Lilley Howe was the second woman to join the American Institute of Architects. She was the first woman to be elected to Fellowship, though not the first woman to be a Fellow. The AIA's first woman member, Louise Blanchard Bethune, joined the AIA in 1887 and became a Fellow in 1889 when all AIA members were automatically made Fellows as part of the merger with the Western Association of Architects.

Biographical Directories:
Entry in Sarah Allaback, The First American Women Architects (University of Illinois Press, 2008)

Related Records

Partner of Eleanor Manning
Partner of Mary Almy

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file contains membership application, correspondence about Institute matters, Fellowship nomination, request for emeritus (retired) status, obituaries.
      Correspondence from 1907 in the membership file for Ida Annah Ryan claims that although Howe joined the AIA at the national level, the local chapter refused to admit Howe to membership in the chapter because she was a woman. There is no direct correspondence from the chapter about this in the AIA Archives. Several chapter members who were active in chapter committees signed Howe's AIA membership application, and presumably they would have also argued for her admission to the chapter. Howe was definitely not a chapter member until 1916. She appears in the AIA membership directories as an AIA member but not in the list of chapter members from 1902 to 1915. In 1916, all members were required to have a chapter assignment. The Boston chapter list in the 1916 directory shows her as one of the members-at-large newly assigned to the chapter. Member-at-large was usually a category for members who did not live near any existing AIA chapter.