Ida Ryan was born in Waltham Massachusetts in November of 1873. Her primary education was completed in her home town and by the time she completed high school, had a great interest in architectural design. She continued her education at MIT where she studied under Constant-Desire Despradelle, who was one of MIT’s noted architectural professors. She was given multiple awards throughout her college career for being an outstanding student and her various projects. Ryan became the first woman to complete the Master of Science degree from MIT and was also the first woman to receive a master of architecture degree.
Ryan continued her career by opening her own practice in Waltham, the first of its kind. Her focus was the design of modest housing. Ryan brought in fellow classmates to form the first, all-female architectural firm in the US. The firm worked on a number of homes in the Waltham area including the home of industrialist, B. C. Ames.
The architects contribution to this country went beyond the scope of architecture. She was very active in the women’s suffrage movement and became a member of the Waltham Equal Suffrage League. Her services continued during World War 1 where she worked on the Army and Navy Canteen on the Boston Common and further when she became an employee of the War Department.
|Veterans Memorial, St. Cloud, Florida|
Ryan remained unmarried during her lifetime and lived and worked in Orlando till her death in February of 1950. Ryan was a notable architect not just for her work but her pioneering efforts to pave the way for women architects to follow.