CR4 - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion ®


WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

Previous in Blog: Louise N. Leakey - Paleontologist (1972- )   Next in Blog: Frances Oldham Kelsey (Born June 24, 1914)
Close
Close
Close
2 comments

Sophia Hayden Bennett - Architect (October 17, 1868 - February 3, 1953)

Posted January 09, 2008 6:00 AM by julie

Sophia Hayden Bennett was born in Santiago, Chile in 1868. Her father was an American from New England and her mother was South American. When Hayden was six years old, she was sent to Boston, Massachusetts to live with her paternal grandparents. She became interested in architecture in high school and was determined to pursue it as a career. She entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1886 and graduated with honors in 1890, as the first American woman to receive an architecture degree.

After completing her studies, Sophia Hayden Bennett could not find employment as an architect because she was a woman so she accepted a position teaching drawing at a Boston high school. The following year she entered and won a design competition for the Women's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. She was just 21. Hayden won the competition with a three story, white building in Italian Renaissance style with arches and columned terraces. She received $1,000 at the time for the design, when male architects earned ten times as much.

There is a striking resemblance between Bennett's thesis project for A Fine Arts Museum and the Woman's Building; both feature an Italian Renaissance detailing, straight-forward massing, and both make use of projecting pavilions and skylights. Hayden's building received an award "for delicacy of style, artistic taste, and geniality and elegance of the interior hall." Critics, however, insisted it looked too feminine. One said, "graceful timidity or gentleness, combined however with evident technical knowledge, at once differentiates it from its colossal neighbors and reveals the sex of its author." The Women's Building was torn down after the Exposition ended and Hayden, frustrated with the way she had been treated, retired from architecture.

Eight years later, Hayden married William Blackstone Bennett, an artist. She lived a quiet life in Massachusetts until February 3, 1953 when she died in Winthrop, Massachusetts

Resources:

http://web.mit.edu/museum/chicago/bennett.html

http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/biographies/hayden-s.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Hayden_Bennett

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Sophia Hayden Bennett - Architect (October 17, 1868 - February 3, 1953)

09/05/2009 6:04 PM

Bennett was not the first woman to receive a degree of architecture in America. It was Mary L. Page at the University of Illinois in 1878.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Sophia Hayden Bennett - Architect (October 17, 1868 - February 3, 1953)

03/06/2010 5:37 PM

She was the first woman to graduate from MIT in architecture.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 2 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: Louise N. Leakey - Paleontologist (1972- )   Next in Blog: Frances Oldham Kelsey (Born June 24, 1914)

Advertisement