Louise Blanchard Bethune (1856-1913)


Bethune, Louise Blanchard

Variant Names

Blanchard, Jennie Louise

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 21 July 1856 - d. 18 December 1913)
Gender:    Female
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    Buffalo, NY

AIA Affiliation

Fellow of the Western Association of Architects 1885-1889
Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1888-1904
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1889. (On the merger of the Western Association of Architects with the American Institute of Architects in 1889, all AIA members were made Fellows because WAA members were known as Fellows.)
Louise Bethune was the first woman to become a member of the AIA, and the first woman to become a Fellow of the AIA.

Biographical Sources

Biographical Directories:
Entry in Henry F. Withey, A.I.A., and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (Los Angeles: New Age Publishing Company, 1956. Facsimile edition, Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970)

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

Brochure published by the Buffalo/Western New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (includes list of works)

Talk on Women and Architecture given by Louise Bethune and published in Inland Architect in 1891.

Related Records

Wife and partner of Robert A. Bethune
Partner of William L. Fuchs

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      The AIA Archives holds the extant records of the Western Association of Architects. Louise Bethune's membership and activity in the Western Association were recorded in the WAA convention proceedings which were published in Inland Architect, and in her correspondence with the Western Association. Her election to membership in the American Institute of Architects is documented in the AIA Board Minutes and in the letterpress books of the AIA's outgoing correspondence from 1888. (Incoming correspondence for 1888 has not survived.) Her letter of resignation from 1904 has been scanned with the AIA correspondence file.
     The AIA held its annual convention in Buffalo, New York, in 1888. In the evening on the second day of the convention, the Buffalo architects hosted the attendees at a dinner in the Niagara Hotel. After the speeches, the following exchange closed the evening's proceedings:
     "Mr. Stone: Before we separate let us drink a toast to the lady member of the Buffalo Chapter, Mrs. Bethune.
     "Mr. Moser: Long may she live and may there be many more."
(Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the American Institute of Architects, Held in Buffalo, October 17-18-19, 1888, p. 120.)

Buffalo and Erie County Research Library
      For more information, see http://www.buffalohistory.org/Learn/Research-Library.aspx


McAlonie, Kelly Hayes, Louise Blanchard Bethune: Every Woman Her Own Architect (State University of New York Press, 2023)