Architectural Archives

Betty Ray Bernheimer Collection (138)

Student work of one of the first women to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Fine Arts, Department of Architcture, 1931-36.

Biographical / Historical Note

The first woman to receive an architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania, B. Ray Bernheimer (1914-2001) attended Friends Select School and was admitted to Penn in 1932. Only after she arrived on campus sis the faculty realize that the 'B' stood for Betty. She and her only female classmate, Helena Leszczynska, were required to use a drafting room on the first floor of Hayden Hall, separate from the rest of the class in the great second floor atelier, as their presence was deemed a distraction to their male classmates. Bernheimer won the Samuel Huckel Prize in Cret's studio in 1936, and joined Cret's office after graduation.

Upon Cret's death in 1945, his office became Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, and Larson (later H2L2 Architects). Bernhemer remained with the firm her entire career, serving as a project architect for such buildings as Van Pelt Library at Penn (1962), the library at Thomas Jefferson University (1965), and the north dormitories at Haverford College (1967). She retired from H2L2 in 1973.

Scope & Content Note

Inventory [t.k.]


Acquisition: Gift of Betty Rotenberg, 1998.