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Architect: Theodate Pope Riddle

(February 2, 1867 – August 30, 1946)

Theodate Pope Riddle was truly a pioneer of her time, fighting the odds to become one of the first American female architects. From a young age, she displayed a strong desire to take control of her own destiny. At 19, she changed her birth name of Effie to Theodate to honor her beloved grandmother. She considered a career as an artist or writer but ultimately decided to follow her passion for architecture and design. 

an old photo of Theodate Pope Riddle

Photograph of Pope posing for painter Robert Brandegee in 1902 – Hill-Stead Museum

Pope went on to design many masterful works in the state of Connecticut, including the Hill-Stead House in Farmington and the Hop Brook School in Naugatuck. Perhaps her most prestigious work was her reconstruction of Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood home in New York City. In 1915, Pope survived the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, a testament to the resilience she carried throughout her life. 

Pope’s legacy lives on today as one of a pioneering woman architect whose works truly rivaled those of her male contemporaries. 

To learn more about Pope’s life and about her classic w0rks, refer to this article published by ConnecticutHistory.org, this article by PioneeringWomen.org, or visit the Hill-Stead Museum website.

Article by Nick Lorenzo, Histoury Marketing and PR Intern

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