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87-M130

Coit, Elisabeth, 1892-1987. Papers of Elisabeth Coit, 1899-1987: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
January 1988

© 1988 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 87-M130
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Elisabeth Coit, 1892-1987
Title: Papers of Elisabeth Coit, 1899-1987
Quantity: 4.38 linear feet (3 cartons, 1 folio+ box) plus 2 roll boxes, 2 folio folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, architectural drawings, photographs, etc., of Elisabeth Coit, architect and author.

Processing Information:

Processed: January 1988
By: Jane S. Knowles

Acquisition Information:

Accession number: 87-M130
The papers of Elisabeth Coit were given to the Schlesinger Library by Robert Hawley, Elisabeth Coit's nephew, in August 1987.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Elisabeth Coit is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred citation for publication:

Elisabeth Coit Papers, 1899-1987; item description, dates. 87-M130, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

BIOGRAPHY

Elisabeth Coit, architect and author, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on September 7, 1897. She studied at Radcliffe College, 1909-1911, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts School, 1911-1913, and received her B.S. in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1919. She was draftsman-designer in the office of Grosvenor Atterbury in New York, 1919-1929, and then maintained her own office in New York, 1930-1942, designing houses principally for women clients outside of New York City and business premises in New York. Her study of low-income housing in the United States, "Design and Construction of the Dwelling Unit for the Low-Income Family" was published in Octagon October, November 1941. Coit was architect and technical standards editor for the Federal Public Housing Authority's publication, Public Housing Design, in Washington D.C. (1942-1947), and then research associate with Mayer and Whittersley, 1947-1948. From 1948 until her retirement in 1962, Coit was principal project planner for the New York City Housing Authority. After her retirement, she continued to be active as a housing consultant to government and private organizations.
Coit wrote articles and government pamphlets on housing, 1943-1962, reviewed books for the Architectural Record, and beginning in 1968 was editor of the newsletter of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
Coit was the first woman to receive the Langley Award from the American Institute of Architects (1938-1940). Among her other honors were a medal in the Better Homes in America Competition, 1933 and an award as pioneer in architecture from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1969. In 1955 she was elected a Fellow of the AIA for literature and public service, and received an honorary degree from Wilson College in 1969.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The collection is arranged in two series:
Series I, Personal, 1-33, includes awards; photographs, of Elisabeth Coit, family, and friends; clippings about Coit and her work, correspondence with friends; Coit's sketches, watercolors, and plays for children.
Series II, Professional, 34-98, includes photographs and architectural drawings of houses and offices designed by Coit, 1925-1941, and of public housing and offices for which Coit was consultant, 1961-1972, and photographs of low-income housing 1938-1940, part of Coit's research project. Scattered professional correspondence most dating from after Coit's retirement, includes an extensive exchange, 1947-1974, with a Greek architect, Cleon Crantonellis; Coit's reminiscences of her years (1919-1929) in Grosvenor Atterbury's office were written in 1984. There are also reprints of Coit's publications about low-income housing, NAHRO newsletters, and articles about women in architecture from the 1930s and 40s.

CONTAINER LIST

INVENTORY

Additional catalog entries

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
Architects
Architectural drawings
Architecture--United States--20th century
Architecture, Modern--20th century--Greece
Atterbury, Grosvenor, 1869-1956
Cartoons (humorous images)
Crantonellis, Cleon
Housing
Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Alumni and alumnae
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Metropolitan New York Chapter
Paintings
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Sketches
White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985
Women architects

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