Lois Lilley Howe (1864-1964), architect
Lois Lilley House
Photograph by Sarah Burks.
Two houses in Brookline, MA designed
by Howe & Manning, Pill Hill and Cottage Farm
Photographs courtesy of Greer Hardwicke
Although Lois Lilley Howe, the first woman elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, did not design this home, she lived here beginning in 1889 through her most productive years as an architect until her death in 1964. Howe entered the MITs two-year course in Partial Architecture in 1888. When she graduated, she worked as a draftsman with a local Boston firm. In 1891, Howe entered the nationwide design contest for the Womans Building at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. She came in second place behind her classmate Sophia Hayden and received $500. She earned her first commission to build a house in 1894 and six years later established one of the longest-lasting and most prolific womens architectural firms with Eleanor Manning (1884-1973), another MIT graduate. Thirteen years later Mary Almy (1883-1967), also of MIT, joined. At a time when women architects were consistently limited to residential design, the firm of Howe & Manning distinguished itself by championing the problems of urban housing. Manning designed the first public, low-income housing in Boston, and Howe focused on small, affordable houses in the suburbs. Howe received at least 33 commissions in Cambridge alone, and several there and in other Boston-area suburbs are listed in the National Register. Howe contributed to the advance of architectural technology, writing an article about her innovative use of plaster in Architectural Review and Architectural Record in 1907. Howe, Manning & Almy became known for using the Colonial Revival for both building and renovating. Howe published Details of Old New England and Houses with Constance Fuller in 1913. The firm was dissolved 1937, but Howe continued to work with Mannings private firm and lived to 12 days short of her 100th birthday.
The Lois Lilley Howe House is located at 6 Appleton St. in Cambridge, MA. The property is not open to the public. To see homes designed by Lois Lilley Howe, click here.
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