Woman of the Century/Minerva Parker Nichols
NICHOLS, Mrs. Minerva Parker, architect, born in Chicago, Ill., 14th May, 1863. She is a descendant of John Doane, who landed in Plymouth in 1630 and took an active part in the government of the Colony. Mrs. Nichols' grandfather, an architect. Seth A. Doane, went to Chicago, when they were treating with Indians, and settled there. Her mother was actively engaged and interested in her father's labors, and early developed a marked talent for mechanical and artistic work. Her father, John W. Doane, a rising young lawyer, died in Murfreesborough, Tenn., during the Civil War, having gone out to service with the Illinois volunteers. Mrs. Nichols possesses the sturdy strength of character of her Puritan ancestors, inheriting a natural bent for her work, and encouraged and fostered by the interest of her mother, she has devoted the entire time to the cultivation of that one talent, and her work has been crowned with as much success as can be expected from so young a member of a profession, in which success comes only after years of patient study and experience. She has devoted several years to careful study in the best technical schools. She studied modeling under John Boyle and finally entered an architect s office as draughtsman, working for several years. She has devoted most of her time to domestic architecture, feeling that specialists in architecture, as in medicine, are most assured of success She built, however, the Woman's New Century Club, in Philadelphia, Pa., a departure from strictly domestic architecture. It is a four-story structure, in Italian Renaissance style. She is very deeply interested in the present development of American architecture, and devotes her life and interest as earnestly to the emancipation of architecture as her ancestors labored for the freedom of the colonies from England, or for the emancipation of the MINERVA PARKER NICHOLS. slaves in the South. Her husband is Reverend William J. Nichols, of Cambridge, Mass., a Unitarian clergyman located in Philadelphia, Pa. They were married on 22nd December, 1891. Her marriage will not interfere with her work as an architect. Besides her practical work in designing houses, she has delivered in the School of Design in Philadelphia a course of lectures for women on historic ornament and classic architecture. Among other important commissions received by her is one for the designing of the international club-house, to be called the Queen Isabella Pavilion, in Chicago, for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. In connection with that building there will be a hall, to be used as the social headquarters for women in the exposition grounds. She has had many obstacles to overcome, the chief of which was the difficulty in obtaining the technical and architectural training necessary to enable her to do her work well. She believes that architects should be licensed. Among the very first of women to enter the field of architecture, she was surprised to find that her sex was no drawback. Encouragement was freely given to her by other architects, and builders, contractors and mechanics were ready to carry out her designs. Her success is shown in the beautiful homes built on her designs in Johns- town, Radnor, Overbrook, Berwyn, Lansdowne, Moore's Station, Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania cities and towns.