A study of how the architectural profession emerged in early American history. Mary Woods dispels the tion that the profession developed under the leadership of men formally schooled in architecture as an art during the late 19th century. Instead, she cites several instances in the early 1800s of craftsmen-builders who shifted their identity to that of professional architects. While struggling to survive as designers and supervisors of construction projects, these men organized professional societies and worked for architectural eduction, appropriate compensation, and accreditation. In such leading architectural practitioners as B. Henry Latrobe, Alexander J. Davis, H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Stanford White, Woods sees collaborators, partners, merchandisers, educators and lobbyists rather than inspired creators. She documents their contributions as well as those, far less familiar, of women architects and people of colour in the profession's early days.
Mary N. Woods is an architectural historian and Associate Professor of Architecture at Cornell University.