Ehrlich and Piland
In 1923, Peters designed this twelve-plex apartment house, located at 720-22
West 37th for Charles E. Phillips, a local builder. Relatively large apartment
buildings such as this enabled Peters great flexibility for her design. Phillips
contracted with Peters for the design of several apartment buildings in
The Architectural Career
of Nelle Peters
BY GEORGE EHRLICH AND SHERRY PILAND*
Comparatively few American architects achieve recognition beyond
their own locale and time; indeed, most continue to be virtually
invisible regardless of longevity or competency. Consequently, Nelle
Peters had been forgotten less than fifty years after her prime as an
architect, which occurred in the mid-1920s. Nevertheless, one might
have thought that being a successful woman in a "man's profession"
*George Ehrlich, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, is a Professor
of Art History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Sherry Piland, M.A.,
University of Missouri-Kansas City, is currently pursuing doctoral-level studies at
Florida State University. An architectural historian, she has served on the staffs of the
Landmarks Commission of Kansas City, Missouri, and of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
This article is a revision of a paper presented in 1985 at the annual meeting of the
Society of Architectural Historians, in Pittsburgh, PA.