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Born: 2/5/1914, Died: 2/13/2001

One of the first women to receive an architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Betty Ray Bernheimer attended Friends Select School and was admitted to Penn in 1932. She and her female classmate, Helena Leszczynska, were reportedly required to use a separate drafting room away from the rest of the class, as their presence was deemed a distraction. Among her most memorable teachers were John Harbeson and Paul Philippe Cret. Bernheimer won the Samuel Huckel Prize in Cret's studio in 1936, and joined Cret's office after completing her degree that year. After Cret's death in 1945, she remained with the successor firm, Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson (now H2L2 Architects).

Betty Bernheimer married Sol Rotenberg in 1941, and raised their four children while continuing her full-time architectural work. She remained at H2L2 for her entire career, serving as project architect for such buildings as the north dormitories (Lunt, Comfort, and Jones) at Haverford College (1967), the Van Pelt Library at Penn (1962), and the library at Thomas Jefferson University (1965). She retired from practice in 1973.

Written by Emily T. Cooperman.

School Affiliations

  • University of Pennsylvania

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