Eleanor Raymond (1888-1989), architect
John Lovejoy Abott House
Photographs courtesy of the Andover Historical Society
Eleanor Raymond was born in Cambridge in 1888 and graduated from Wellesley College in 1909. She graduated from the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture for Women in 1919, where she developed her interest in the relationship between architecture and landscape architecture. She opened her own office in 1928 after working with well-known architect Henry Atherton Frost for several years. Raymond was drawn to the simple vernacular structures expressive of rural American life, avoiding the grand facades and the exclusively modern styles that were popular with her contemporaries. In 1931, after five years of work, Raymond published Early Domestic Architecture of Pennsylvania, in which she explored what she called the unstudied directness in fitting form to function of very early American architecture. The book was one of the first systematic inventories of vernacular American architecture and defined Raymonds career. Raymond became known for primarily residential designs that took cues from early American architecture, as well as for her restoration and remodeling work, which approached modern-day adaptive reuse. Raymond always worked within the three fields of a house--the exterior, interior, and landscape--and maintained that the architect must always know how the client will use the house. Much of her work was commissioned by women from her social group in Boston and Cambridge, although the two properties featured here were not. One client called her an architect who combines a respect for tradition with a disrespect for its limitations. In 1948, she undertook one of her most ambitious works, the Dover Sun House, the first occupied, solar-powered house in the country, with Dr. Maria Telkes from the MIT Solar Laboratory. Eleanor Raymond amassed more than 50 years of professional experience in the practice of architecture and in 1961 was made a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
The John Lovejoy Abbot House and the Solomon Higgins House are both located within the Central Street Historic District in Andover, MA at 57 and 59 Central St., respectively. They are private residences and are not open to the public.
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