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Female, born 1897-10-13, died 1987-08-04

Associated with the firms network

Ayer and Lamping, Architects; Ayer, Elizabeth, Associates, Architects; Cross and Cross; Ivey and Riley, Architects; Ivey, Edwin J., Architect, Elizabeth Ayer, Associate; Willatsen, Andrew C.P., Architect

Professional History


Office Assistant, Andrew Willatsen, Architect, Seattle, WA, c. 1921

Draftsperson, Ivey and Riley, Architects, Seattle, WA, c. 1921.

Draftsperson, Cross and Cross, Architects, New York, NY, c. 1922-1923.

Draftsperson, Grosvenor Atterbery, Architect, New York, NY, c. 1922-1923.

Designer, Edwin J. Ivey, AIA, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1921-1940; Ayer worked with Ivey until the his death in 1940. She took over the Ivey firm as Head in 1940. Her obituary indicated that she became partners with the younger architect, Rolland Denny Lamping, in 1945. (See "Elizabeth Ayer Dies; Longtime Architect," Seattle Times, 08/06/1987, p. D16.)

Partner, Ayer and Lamping, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1945-1970. She retired in 1970.

Professional Service

Ayer traveled in Europe in 1927-1928. Ayer was the first woman registered as an architect in Washington, 1930; Member, American Institute of Architects; Member, Seattle Board of Adjustments, 10 years; Member, Lacey Planning Commission, 3 years; Member, Washington State Historical Society; Member, Daughters of Pioneers, Olympia Chapter; Member, Seattle Soroptimist Club; Charter Member, Olympia Genealogical Association;

Professional Awards

Inductee, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Roll of Honor, 2007.


Ayer's papers have been deposited at the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division. Drawings of many of her houses, such as the Hawthorne K. Dent House, Seattle, WA, are held in this collection. It also has a scrapbook that Ayer created of her time as a student in the UW's Department of Architecture. "It includes depictions of her life as a student, as well as minimal newspaper coverage of women in architecture. Students Marshall Gill, Wally Strang, Sam Chinn, Buck Bradley, Bob McClelland, Frederick Lockman, Joe Skoog, Rosalie Haas and Jannus Bonnell are featured prominently, as well as Carl Frelinghausen [sic] Gould (1873-1939), founder of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington. The scrapbook contains candid photographs of architecture students studying and at leisure. Additional photographs depict the students' architectural plans and school projects. Many of the photographs have been annotated by Ayer." (See "Elizabeth Ayer Scrapbook, 1917-1919." UW Libraries Catalog, Accessed 10/21/2011.)



B.Arch., University of Washington, Seattle, 1916-1921; she was the fourth graduate of the UW Department of Architecture and the first woman to graduate. She was admitted to the UW architecture program two years after its inception.

College Awards

Recipient, Kellogg Prize, Third Place Award, University of Washington, Department of Architecture, Seattle, WA, 1919-1920.

Recipient, Kellogg Prize, First Place Award, University of Washington, Department of Architecture, Seattle, WA, 1920-1921.



Her last independent residence was in the 98503 zip code of Olympia, WA. She lived at her death at the Panorama City Convalescent Center, Lacey, WA.


Ayer's family came to the Washington Territory in 1852, making them very early Anglo settlers. Her father was a lawyer and judge, her mother, an artist.


Ayer never married.


Ayer had no children. She was survived by six nieces and nephews.

Biographical Notes

Ayer died of a stroke at age 89. SSN: 532-03-9364.

Associated Locations

  • Olympia, WA (Architect's Birth)
    Olympia, WA

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  • Lacey, WA (Architect's Death)
    Lacey, WA

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PCAD id: 2607