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HUMPHREYS, Barbara Alice (nee Humphrys)

Kelliher, Saskatchewan, 1919
Ottawa, Ontario, 2017
Biography synopsis
In 1941 Barbara Alice Humphreys graduated with the University of Manitoba Gold Medal for Architecture, and subsequently navigated a diverse career that spanned over fifty years. She began as an architect in the office of L.Y. McIntosh (Fort William, Ontario). She later assisted in the war effort working for the Architectural Division of Defence Industries Ltd., Montreal, which involved the design and construction of ammunition plants until 1943, followed by Victory Aircraft Ltd., Plant Engineering Division (Malton, Ontario). In Ottawa in 1946, her work under the Veterans' Land Act included planning new subdivisions and interior design of houses. She was later assistant to the Chief Architect Department of Public Works. In her private practice, established in 1954, she designed houses in Ottawa, Manotick and Kingston, and provided consulting services for a subdivision development. Her involvement with heritage buildings and her interest in Canada's architectural history led to a new career as architectural historian. It included consulting work with the National Historic Sites Service (1966) and subsequently the Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings (CIHB), established in 1970, to provide a comprehensive look at Canada's architectural heritage. In the late 1970s she became Chief Architect of the CIHB and further contributed with articles and lectures on design, construction, historic sites and buildings, monuments, and recording methods. She also became sessional lecturer in the school of architecture at Carleton University (1982-87). Humphreys continued to write, lecture and consult on the history, conservation and restoration of Canadian Architectural Heritage. In recognition of her contribution she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), and the Gabrielle Leger Award (1992), Canada's highest honour for individual achievement in heritage conservation. (I. Puchalski)
Media used
University of Manitoba, 1937 - 1941
Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), 1945
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)
File & Archive locations
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Adams, Annmarie & Peta Tancred. 'Designing Women': Gender and the Architectural Profession. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000
Brown, Don. "Architect Being Provided by Veterans' Land Act." Windsor Daily Star 4 Feb. 1946
Joynes, Jennifer R. "Women in the Architectural Profession." Habitat 2.4 (Jul/Aug 1959): 2-6
White Champagne, Alice. "Women in Architecture: Barbara A. Humphreys." Raven Papers: Remembering Natalie Luckyj (1945-2002)). Ed. Angela Carr Manotick, Ont.: Penumbra Press, 2010. 91-109

Writings by
Humphreys, B.A. "It's the Kitchen That Sells When Women Buy Homes." Canadian Builder 2.7 (July 1952): 17-19
Humphreys, Barbara. "Computerized Survey by the Canadian Inventory of Historic Building for Environment Canada." Inventaire informatise des oeuvres d'art: colloque du 1er au novembre 1979, actes: recueil d'etudes = Computerized Inventory Standards for Works of Art: Conference, November 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 19 Montreal: Fides, 1981. 163-165
Humphreys, Barbara. "Heritage by Computer." Habitat 20.3/4 (1977): 44-47
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: Beaux-Arts Style." Canadian Heritage 15.3 (Winter 1989): 43
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: British Classical." Canadian Heritage 14.1 (Spring 1988): 42
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: Gothic Revival." Canadian Heritage 14.3 (Fall 1988): 43
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: Neoclassical." Canadian Heritage 14.2 (Summer 1988): 43
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: Second Empire Style." Canadian Heritage 15.1(Spring 1989): 40
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: the French Style." Canadian Heritage 13.5 (Winter 1987/1988): 41
Humphreys, Barbara. "How to Read a Building: the Italian Influence." Canadian Heritage 14.4 (Winter 1988/1989): 43
Humphreys, Barbara. "Storage Space Should Be Planned." Canadian Builder 2.11 (Nov. 1952): 13-15
Humphreys, Barbara. "Well Designed Bathrooms Give Style That Sells." Canadian Builder 2.9 (Sept. 1952): 42-45
Humphreys, Barbara. "What Windows to Use - Where to Place Them." Canadian Builder 3.4 (April 1953): 28-30
Humphreys, Barbara A. Architecture as Living History [kit] [Montreal]: National Film Board, 1976
Humphreys, Barbara A. "Architecture of the Rideau Canal Region." Canadian Geographical Journal 90.6 (June 1975): 20-29
Humphreys, Barbara A. "The Architectural Heritage of the Rideau Corridor." Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History no.10 Ottawa, Ont.: Indian and Northern Affairs, Parks Canada, 1974. 11-71
Humphreys, Barbara A. "The Nineteenth Century Architecture of Ontario." The Shaping of Ontario: From Exploration to Confederation. Eds. Nick Mika, and Helma Mika Belleville, Ont.: Mika Publishing Company, 1985. 228-232
Humphreys, Barbara A., and Meredith Sykes. The Buildings of Canada: a Guide to Pre-20th-Century Styles in Houses, Churches and Other Structures Montreal: Reader's Digest Association (Canada), 1974
Humphreys, Barbara A., et Meredith Sykes. L'Architecture du Canada: Guide des styles d'architecture anterieurs au xxe siecle Montreal: Reader’s Digest (Canada) Ltée, 1976
Humphries, Barbara. "History That Surrounds Us: How-to-Read-a-Building." Canadian Heritage 13.3 (Aug/Sep 1987): 36-37
Humphrys, B.A. "Canadian School Building Grows Up in Recent Years." Canadian Builder 1.2 (May 1951): 20-21, 54
Humphrys, B.A. "Lets’s Build Homes They Want to Buy." Canadian Builder 1.1 (March 1951): 43-44, 46
Humphrys, Miss B.A. "Color Brings Out Good Features." Canadian Builder 2.4 (April 1952): 23-25
Humphrys, Miss B.A. "Modular Co-Ordination." Canadian Builder 2.1-2 (Jan.–Feb. 1952): 25-26, 46
Spalding-Smith, Fiona, and Barbara A. Humphreys. Legacy in Stone: the Rideau Corridor Erin, Ont: Boston Mills Press, 1999

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