Coit, Elisabeth

Elisabeth Coit

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Dates of Birth and Death

September 7, 1897-April 2, 1987


Winchester, Massachusetts


  • MIT, B.A. in architecture, 1919
  • Boston's Museum of Fine Arts School, 1911-1913
  • Radcliffe College, 1909-1911

Years of practice

1919–1987 (estimated)


  • Principal project planner, NYC Housing authority
  • Clarence S. Stein, architect
  • Research Associate, offfice of Mayer&Whittlesey
  • Milton L. Grigg, architect
  • E. Coit, architect

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 1939
  • Became AIA fellow in 1955


New York, Virginia, institutional, residential


Early life and Education

Elisabeth Coit, architect, author, and affordable housing advocate, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on September 7, 1897. She studied at Radcliffe College, 1909-1911, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts School, 1911-1913, and received her B.S. in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1919. She organized small but thriving Dutchess County poultry farm and supervised periodically from 1929 to 1936. She died April 2, 1987.

Career in Architecture

She was draftsman-designer in the office of Grosvenor Atterbury in New York, 1919-1929, and then maintained her own office in New York, 1930-1942, designing houses principally for women clients outside of New York City and business premises in New York. Coit studied 150 public and private developments from the Eastern Seaboard to the Midwest (AIA Langley Scholarship) from 1937-39, and  went on a housing study trip to Puerto Rico in 1949. She was a research associate on projected NJ housing development (Milton L. Grigg, architect) in 1942. She was also a research associate in the office of Mayer & Whittlesey, and also performed housing research for Clarence S. Stein, architect, 1947-48

Major Buildings and Projects

  • House for Miss Anna B. Van Nort, Yorktown Heights,1927
  • Alternation to house of Philip Maguire, Shrub Oak, NY, 1933
  • Boat house on estate of Charles T. Main Holderness, NH, 1932
  • Alteration to house of I.G. Mudge Yorktown Heights, NY, 1928
  • House for Miss Mary Burnham, Yorktown Heights, NY, 192i7
  • House for the Rev. Morgan P. Jones, Holderness, NH, 1929

Press and Awards

  • “Design and Construction of the Dwelling Unit for the Low-Income Family” published in Octagon Oct, Nov, 1941
  • Langley Award from the American Institute of Architects (1938-1940). Coit was the first woman to receive this award
  • Medal in the Better Homes in America Competition, 1933
  • Pioneer in Architecture award from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1969
  • 1955 elected a Fellow of the AIA for literature and public service
  • Honorary degree from Wilson College in 1969

Institutional Affiliations

  • AIA Multiple-Unit Housing Committee, 1941
  • mall House Committee, 1939-42 (Chairman, Exhibit committee, 1942)
  • FPHA, 1942-4i7, wartime emergency appointment, Technical Division. Worked on standards and evaluation of public housing and organized an information service for foreign architects, technical missions, etc., traveling throughout the US
  • New York City Housing Authority, 1947 -. Liaison work with architects under contract to the Authority. Responsible for first published edition of Memo to Architects, and subsequent revisions.
  • Architect and Technical Standards Editor for the Federal Public Housing Authority’s publication, Public Housing Design, in Washington D.C. (1942-1947)
  • Principal Project Planner for the New York City Housing Authority
  • Editor of the newsletter of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials starting in 1968