Ellamae ellis league
2016 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement
July 8, 1899
March 4, 1991
City, Town, Region
Ellamae Ellis League was born in Macon Georgia on July 8, 1899 to Joseph OliverEllis and Susan Dilworth Choate. She attended public schools in Macon, graduated from Lanier High School in 1916 and attended Wesleyan College for one year in 1917. On June 27, 1917 she married George Forrest League. They had two children, JeanLeague Newton and Joseph Choate League. The couple divorced in 1922.
When asked about her decision to become an architect she stated:
“With me, I had an incentive you can’t beat; I had two children that I wanted to educate and it was up to me to make a living for them and raise them and just do it.”
“Well, we had six generations of architects in our family, not that I was ever associated with them, but my uncle [Charles Edward Choate] was an architect in Atlanta.”
Unable to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Architecture because of its prohibition against women she got a job at the architectural firm of Dunwoody (W. Elliott Dunwody, Sr.) and Oliphant (William F. Oliphant) in 1922. At first she did office work and later began to taking correspondence courses from the Beaux ArtsInstitute of Design in New York.
In 1928, she made the tough decision to leave her children with her parents in Florida to attend the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Art at Fontainebleau, France. Upon her return to Macon she went to work for Claude W. Shelverton as the firm of Dunwody and Oliphant had dissolved. William F. Oliphant would later join the Shelverton firm. When this firm ceased to exist, she continued her employment with Mr. Oliphant, until he died in 1933. She and her co-worker Delmar Warren were able to complete his commissions but were unable to accept new commissions as there was not a registered architect in the firm.
Ellamae Ellis League made the decision to take the week long Georgia State Architectural Licensing examination which included sections on the history of architecture, design and office practice, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and structural engineering. She passed all of the sections except for engineering sections, which she retook and passed.
By 1933 she had fulfilled the state requirements for registration as an architect and opened her own office in 1934.
In the mid-1940s, to show her respect for the contributions of her fellow employees, she changed the name of the firm from League to League, Warren and Riley (Ellamae Ellis League, Delmar Warren and Oliver M. Riley). Over the years a number of local architects who would go on to have significant careers that apprenticed with her. The list includes Bernard Webb; Francis Hall; Charles Homan; William Hollis; Jack Couch;Charles Brittain and Jordan Jelks. In 1975, after 41 years, she closed in her office.
In 1976, Mrs. League presented the initial installment of her architectural drawings to the Washington Memorial Library. In 1994 her daughter Jean League Newton presented the second installment bringing the total to 9200 architectural drawings for over 700 projects. Represented within this collection are five states Georgia, Florida,South Carolina, Tennessee and Arizona with commissions in 42 Georgia counties.
Of the 70 individual structures that Macon-Bibb County has listed on the NationalRegister of Historic Places – two were designed by League and she was the contributing architect to one historic district and one pending district. She also has two structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Jones County. There could be more but there is no easy way to track National Register nominations by architect. Mrs. League was involved in number of projects to preserve historic buildings such as the Grand Opera House in Macon which earned her the Ivan Allen Sr. Award for Community Services.
When not busy with her firm and various professional obligations she fulfilled her civic duty and served in the following capacities as President of the Macon Business and Professional Women’s Club, a member of the Board of Directors for the Macon LittleTheatre for over 40 years, as a Director of the Mental Health Association for BibbCounty she also served on the State Department of Mental Health’s Citizen’ Council and was a member of the Macon Civic Improvement Committee.
Some of Mrs. League’s professional achievements include
Becoming a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1944
Receiving a letter ofc on gratulations addressed to Mr. League
Establishing the Macon Chapter of the AIA in 1957 and serving as its first president
Serving as vice president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Institute ofArchitects
Becoming the First President of the Georgia Council of Architects (now the Georgia Association) in 1963-64
Chairing North Georgia Committee of Student Affairs from 1964 to 1965
Professional Awards and Honors
1968 – Invested as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
1969 – Received the Wesleyan College Alumnae Awards for Distinguished Achievement
1970 – Ivan Allen Sr. Award for Community Service from the North Georgia Chapter of the AIA
1975 – First Macon Architect to receive the Bronze Medal from Georgia American Institute of Architects
1982 – First Architectural Recipient of the Bernard B. Rothschild Award from the Georgia Association (formerly the Georgia Council of Architects)
Ellamae Ellis League died on March 4, 1991 leaving a tremendous legacy to young women around the world and a love of architect. She is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Georgia.