This month, Judith Edelman, esteemed American architect and a crusader for women in architecture, died at 91. Edelman, born in Brooklyn in 1923, was told throughout her education that professors were wasting their time "on you girls" and that architects "don't hire girls," but went on to co-found a highly successful firm—one that designed more than 1,500 NYC apartment units and commercial projects in her lifetime—anyway. In the New York Times' obituary, the paper declares Edelman a "firebrand in a male-dominated field" and calls attention to many fascinating details in the late-architect's legacy:
6. At the 1974 national convention of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Edelman presented data that only 1.2 percent of registered architects in the U.S. were women, and snappily conclude that these numbers "clearly demonstrate that the alleged grievances are not all in the heads of some paranoid chicks." According to the Times, "only coal miners and steelworkers, she suggested, counted a lower proportion."
5. She was called the "Dragon Lady" at the AIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and became the first woman elected to the executive committee of the Institute's New York chapter.
4. In 1972, Edelman helped found the Alliance of Women in Architecture, which at one point, put on a huge exhibition highlighting the work of 66 female architects and designers.
3. Her first job out of architecture school at Columbia University was drawing designs for brickwork for mental hospitals.
2. Edelman's career was the basis for the 1974 children's book, "What Can She Be? An Architect."
1. Her firm was into historic preservation: they restored the world-renown La MaMa theater on Manhattan's Lower East Side and managed to save the façades of nine Upper West Side brownstones and incorporate all of them into one multi-unit building.
Rest easy, Ms. Edelman.
· Judith Edelman, Architect, 91, Is Dead; Firebrand in a Male-Dominated Field [NY Times]
· All Gender Studies posts [Curbed National]