Tracing the Forgotten Architects and Design Professionals


Gail McMillan, director, Digital Library and Archives (DLA), University Libraries, recently received a $20,000 ASPIRES grant that will fund identifying and locating women architects and design professionals. The project, "Women with T-Squares: Tracing the Forgotten Architects and Design Professionals," is the initial phase of a plan to upgrade programming to improve access to the International Archives of Women Architects (IAWA) and to increase the information available in the IAWA.

ASPIRES, A Support Program for Innovative Research Strategies at Virginia Tech, is supported by funds provided from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

With this funding, DLA will make significant strides in the systematic expansion of the IAWA, improve the record of women's contributions to the built environment, and share new information online. This funded research will contribute to a stronger case for a national grant for preservation and organization of unique and rare primary source materials by deepening the historical record of women in the design professions at Virginia Tech.

The principal investigator, Prof. Gail McMillan, says one goal of the grant is to focus on compiling the record of women in the South Atlantic region that are currently under-represented in the IAWA with fewer than a dozen collections. Similarly, the IAWA Biographical Database of nearly 400 names has only 6% from this region of the United States.

The ASPIRES grant will also support programming improvements to the IAWA biographical database, software developed by DLA in 1999, to bring it up to current national standards for interoperability and to add a user-centered interface.

Support from the following individuals contributed to the success of the proposal:

Terry L. Clements, ASLA, VT Associate Professor
Donna Dunay, VT Professor of Architecture
Marcia F. Feuerstein, VT Assistant Professor, Chair, IAWA Board of Advisors
Eileen Hitchingham, Dean, VT University Libraries
Inge S. Horton, MCP, Dipl.-Ing
Sara H. Turner, Archivist, American Institute of Architects
Tony P. Wrenn, Certified Archivist, Honorary AIA

The following individuals are contributing the discovery of women in architecture in the south Atlantic region:

Jana Davis: South Carolina
Mark Gerus: Florida
Clayton McGahee: Georgia, Virginia
Rishi Pande: programming
Karen Stamp: North Carolina
Jane Wills: Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

Anyone with information about women in architecture, the design professions, and the built environment in the South Atlantic region, please contact Gail McMillan.
by (GMc)