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Eleanor Raymond photographic collection

PC043 (RS17848)


This collection consists of nine portfolio cases of black and white photographs and one folder of reference material. The photographs in the portfolio cases document Eleanor Raymond and her colleagues’ work on thirty-four homes and represent Raymond’s work from between 1919 to 1940. The photographs themselves are mostly undated, but dates of Raymond’s designs have been included in folder descriptions when possible. Photographs include images of house interiors and exteriors and the surrounding landscapes. Eleanor Raymond believed these three elements to be essential to home design and construction.

Historic New England staff members created the reference folder as a supplement to the other items in the collection. This folder includes biographical material and copies of articles about Eleanor Raymond and her architectural work. House Beautiful editor Ethel B. Power is the author of a substantial portion of the magazine articles included.

Of additional interest is the Eleanor Raymond Collection in Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Mass. The collection was donated to Harvard by Raymond and includes additional photographs, project files, architectural drawings, and personal and professional papers including diaries, project notebooks with client names and addresses and cost data for individual projects, journal articles, and a two-volume dissertation by Nancy Gruskin about the life of Eleanor Raymond.


Collection Name
Eleanor Raymond photographic collection
Collection Code
1922-1940, undated
Date Notes
bulk undated
This collection documents Eleanor Raymond’s early architectural career and contains photographs of properties designed by Raymond and her colleagues. Photographs are primarily of homes in Massachusetts and focus on interiors, exteriors, and landscapes.
Physical Description
9 portfolio cases, 1 folder
Finding Aid Info
An electronic finding aid is available through Historic New England’s Collections Access Portal. A paper finding aid is available in the Library & Archives.
Collection Type
Description Level
Custodial History
Collection donor James E. (Jack) Robinson, III shared a Boston office with Eleanor Raymond.
Credit Line
Gift from James E. (Jack) Robinson, III.
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Eleanor Raymond was an architect in the city of Boston, practicing between 1919 and 1973. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1909, was active in the suffrage movement, and practiced during a time when the field of architecture was primarily dominated by men. In 1948, Raymond partnered with Massachusetts Institute of Technology solar energy researcher Dr. Mária Telkes to design the first solar-powered home in the United States. This house, located in Dover, Mass., was known as the Dover Sun House. It was occupied by Telkes’ cousin, Dr. Anthony Nemethy, and his wife and child for three years. Amelia Peabody, some of whose properties in Dover are included in this photographic collection, funded the project.

For most of her career, Raymond specialized in private home construction and renovations. Designing houses for individuals and families was Raymond’s passion, and she articulated the special meaning such work had for her in a 1981 interview with the Boston Globe: "Houses were the things I liked. I couldn’t imagine doing an office building where offices were going to be rented and you would never know the people who were going to be in them. I like the personal contact with whoever is going to use what I design."

During the early years of her career, Raymond had a professional partnership with Henry Atherton Frost, her former professor at The Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, a school for women which was the predecessor to the Harvard University Design School. In 1932, The Cambridge School became an official affiliate of Smith College. In 1928, Raymond opened her own office at 126 Newbury Street in Boston. In 1931, she published the book, Early Domestic Architecture of Pennsylvania. This book was unique in its focus on simple, small houses and outbuildings in the Pennsylvania countryside. Raymond retired in 1973 and set up a fund for female architects at Harvard’s Design School. Raymond was born in 1887 and died at the age of 102 on July 24, 1989.

For more information on her life and work, see the book Eleanor Raymond, Architect by Doris Cole (The Art Alliance Press, 1981) and the many articles from House Beautiful included in this collection. Ethel Power, editor of House Beautiful, was a friend of Eleanor Raymond and wrote many articles about Raymond’s projects. They met as students at the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and formed a professional collaboration; Raymond designed homes and Power wrote about them in House Beautiful. Additionally, she and Raymond shared Raymond’s Boston duplex home at 112 Charles Street. See the chapter "Designing Woman" of the book Singular Women: Writing the Artist for further information on Power and Raymond’s personal and professional relationship.

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1982: Eleanor Raymond 1909. (n.d.). Retrieved from Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. (2014, March 25). Built by women: Dover Sun House, Eleanor Raymond and Mária Telkes [Web log post]. Retrieved from Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. (2014). Retrieved from Frederickson, Kristen, and Sarah E. Webb, Editors (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). Singular women: writing the artist. Retrieved from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (n.d.). MIT Solar Decathalon team history: Solar 6. Retrieved from Taylor, J. (1989, July 28). Obituaries: Eleanor Raymond, 102; architect, designed first N.E. solar house. The Boston Globe, 17.

Material in other collections

Eleanor Raymond Collection in Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School, Cambridge, Mass.


The collection is arranged in nine portfolios and one folder of reference material: Portfolio 1: Olmestead, Barnes, and Ballantine; Portfolio 2: Cox, Goldthwait, Tau Zeta Epsilon House, Raymond, Cross, Notman, and Wile; Portfolio 3: Peabody studio and stables; Portfolio 4: Lennihan, Sugarman, Wile, and Mitchell; Portfolio 5: Mary Byers Smith; Portfolio 6: Frost, Raymond, Miller, and Elliott; Portfolio 7: Safford, Jackson, Cleaves, and Bartell; Portfolio 8: Wales, Emery, and Colonial House B; Portfolio 9: Besse and Ellis; Folder 10: Reference materials

Record details

Raymond, Eleanor (Architect)
Other People
Cole, Doris
Davis, George H.
Frost, Henry Atherton, 1883-1952
Power, Ethel B.
Raymond, Eleanor
Weber, Paul
Other Organizations
Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Harvard University. Graduate School of Design
Smith College
Wellesley College
Descriptive Terms
country houses
historic houses
project architects
residential structures
suburban houses
Material Type
Andover (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Belmont (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Brookline (Norfolk county, Massachusetts)
Cambridge (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Chestnut Hill (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Dover (Norfolk county, Massachusetts)
Haddam (Middlesex county, Connecticut)
Haverhill (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Jaffrey (Cheshire county, New Hampshire)
Medfield (Norfolk county, Massachusetts)
Milton (Norfolk county, Massachusetts)
Newton Center (Newton, Middlesex county, Massachusetts) [part of inhabited place]
Swampscott (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Vineyard Haven (Martha's Vineyard, Dukes county, Massachusetts)
Wayland (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Westford (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
West Newton (Newton, Middlesex county, Massachusetts) [part of inhabited place]
Weston (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Winchester (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
This collection is available for research.
Related Items
Architects file, Eleanor Raymond
Architects file, Architects of Winchester
Periodicals Collection, House Beautiful
Accruals Note
Accruals are not expected.
Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Note
The collection of black and white photographs was originally housed in ten portfolios. The tenth portfolio case was empty. The photographs have been removed from the original portfolios and boxed into nine portfolio cases. Folders 7 and 8 in portfolio 2 are empty.
Conservation Note
The photographs in the collection have been housed in protective sleeves which are stored in portfolio cases.
Language Note
Materials are entirely in English.
Physical Access Restrictions
There are no physical restrictions on this collection. There are no technical restrictions on this collection.
Preferred Citation
Eleanor Raymond Photographic Collection (PC043#). Historic New England, Library & Archives.
Processing Information
This collection was originally processed by Susan Johnson, volunteer, in 2004. The collection was updated and the finding aid was made DACS-compliant by Julia Demir, intern, in 2014, with assistance from Abigail Cramer, librarian/archivist.
Rules and Conventions
This finding aid is DACS-compliant.