Buffalo Women’s History: Architect Louise Blanchard Bethune



Louise Blanchard Bethune was born  Jennie Louise Blanchard in Waterloo, NY in 1856.  She lived in Buffalo from 1866 until her death in 1913.  After graduating from Buffalo High School in 1874, she took a position as an apprentice for Waite & Caulkins, an architectural firm in Buffalo.

In 1881, she opened her own firm and became the first professional female architect in the United States. Her husband joined the firm soon afterwards, and in 1890 they added William Fuchs as a partner.  The firm of Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs built numerous buildings throughout Western New lafayette-hotel-copyYork and beyond.  Their most well-known accomplishment was the Lafayette Hotel, for which Louise was the primary architect.

In 1885, Louise helped organize the Buffalo Society of Architects, and in 1888 she became the first woman member of the American Institute of Architects.

Image sources:

[Louise Bethune image]. National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 12, pub. 1904, p. 9.

Postcard. Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo, N.Y. No printer and no date. Postmarked January 2, [no year].

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