The first woman to obtain an architecture license in California; she designed the landmark Hearst Castle. Also designed numerous YWCA buildings, as well as structures for Mills College. She was the first woman honored with the AIA Gold Medal, albeit posthumously.
She was in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at the University of California in Berkeley. She became the first woman allowed to enroll in École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts's architecture program.
She designed more than 700 buildings in California and was the architect for St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, California, and for several of the Asilomar Conference Center's buildings.
She was born into a family of success, with relatives who achieved great military, political, and business stature. Her mother was Eliza Woodland Parmelee, whose father was cotton trader and self-made millionaire Albert O. Parmelee. Her cousin's husband was an architect and inspired her to pursue higher education.