Eleanor Raymond (March 24, 1887 – July 4, 1989) was an American architect with a professional career of some sixty years of practice. Eleanor was born in 1888 in Cambridge, MA and attended Wellesley College for undergraduate studies. After graduation, she enrolled in the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, a school closely affiliated with Harvard’s School of Architecture at the time. Ms. Raymond graduated in 1919 and joined Henry Artherton Frost. Her main interest was in residential housing. She designed one of the first International Style houses in the United States in 1931. Raymond also engaged in the exploration of innovative materials and building systems. She designed a Plywood House in 1940 as well as one of the first successful solar-heated buildings in the Northeast called the “Sun House” in 1948. Eleanor Raymond was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1961.
Raymond was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1887 and graduated from Wellesley College in 1909. She was among five women architectural design students of Henry Frost and Bremer Pond in 1915. 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 Raymond’s 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.”
- Barnes House Renovation (1929)
- Plywood House (1940)
- Peabody Farm Buildings (1934)
- Sugarman House (1935)
- Elliott House (1935-1936)
- Frost House (1935)
- Miller House (1936)
- Pillsbury House (1937)
- Farnsworth Projects (1939)
- Peabody Plywood House (1940-1941)
- Parker Plywood House (1941, 1945-1946)
- Hammond Compound (1941-1942)
- Peabody Sun-Heated House (1948)
- Pope House (1949-1950)
- Meyer House (1958)
- Nichols Factory Addition (1959-1960)
- Damon House (1961)
- Baxter-Ward Antique Shop (1970)
- Peabody Westville Sporthaus (1972)
- Smith House (1973)
The Dover Sun House
In 1948, she undertook one of her most ambitious works, the Dover Sun House, an innovative house with solar collectors, with Dr. Mária 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.
Raymond died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1989 at the age of 102. Many literary and online sources give her dates of life as 1888 to 1989, but a look at the Social Security Death Index shows that she was born in 1887 and died in 1989, making her 102 at the time of her death.
- Eleanor Raymond. Early Domestic Architecture of Pennsylvania. 1931
- D. Cole’s Eleanor Raymond, architect; Architectural Record 76 (October 1834)
- Farnsworth House is published in Architectural Forum, November 1943, 82-83; “House Once Removed”, by Ethel B. Power, 63.
- Rachel Raymond House is published in House Beautiful, October 1932, 200-207 & 263-264; Architectural Forum, Master Detail Series, 413-418.
- 112 Charles Street is published in House Beautiful, November 1926, 554 & 557-559 & 612; House Beautiful, October 1923, 349-350; House Beautiful, November 1926, 573-576;House Beautiful, November 1924, 462-468 & 514-516.
- Safford House is published in Architectural Record, November 1932, 316-318.
- Raymond Office published in Architectural Record, May 1937, 42.
- Smith House published in House Beautiful, September 1928, 238 & 241-245 & 310-312; House Beautiful, October 1928, 383-387.
- Jackson House published in House Beautiful, January 1927, 24 & 58-59.
- Lennihan House is published in House Beautiful, April 1928, 11; House Beautiful, May 1928, 437-438.
- Mitchell Studio published in House Beautiful, September 1933, 104C-E & 104L.
- Golemba, Beverly E. (1992). Lesser-known Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Boulder u.a.: Rienner. p. 251. ISBN 978-1-55587-301-1.
- Denzer, Anthony (2013). The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design. Rizzoli. ISBN 978-0847840052.
- "Eleanor Raymond (1888-1989), architect". National Park Service. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
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