Women's History Month
March 12, 2020
Women have made significant contributions to the Martin House for more than 100 years, and this month we honor the achievements of five from a long list of accomplished women.
Isabel Roberts (1871-1955)
A student of architecture in New York City at the turn of the century, Isabel was one of Wright's first employees. This group of young architects, including Marion Mahoney, founded what we know of as the Prairie School. Roberts assisted in the production of numerous art glass designs, possibly including the Martin House.
Marion Mahoney (1871-1961)
The first woman to obtain an architectural license in Illinois, Marion is considered by scholars to be one of the greatest progressive architects in turn-of-the-century Chicago. She spent a great deal of her career in Australia and was Wright's first employee in 1895.
Blanche Ostertag (1872-?)
Much is not known about Blanche, but this artist is the designer of the Martin House wisteria fireplace. Also a poster designer, her media includes etching and pastels, and her subject matter ranged from portraiture to children to cityscapes. Her last known residence was in Chicago, but an obituary has not been located.
Toshiko Mori (1951-present)
Designer of the stunning Greatbatch Pavilion Visitor's Center at the Martin House, Toshiko's works include theaters, libraries, private homes, university institutions, and commercial spaces. She is a Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the principal of Toshiko Mori Architect.
Jo Hormuth (1952-present)
Founder of Chicago Architectural Arts, Jo researched and recreated interior finishes for the Martin House during restoration, including the gold mortar and paint finishes. This multi-disciplinary artist's work resides in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.