Mary A. van Balgooy

Mary is particularly interested the relationship between architectural design and gender roles in the 19th and 20th century, as well as the history of women in the United States over the past three centuries.  She currently completed research on Cliff May’s formative career in San Diego.  “Before LA: Cliff May’s Beginnings in San Diego” (San Diego Journal, 2011) is a follow-up to her award-winning article, “Designer of the Dream: Cliff May and the California Ranch House” (Southern California Quarterly, 2004) and her master’s thesis, “Women and Domestic Architecture in Cold War America: Cliff May’s California Ranch House Designs” at the Claremont Graduate University.

Mary is a frequent speaker and consultant on the interpretation of women’s history and 20th century domestic architecture for such diverse organizations as the American Association for State and Local History, American Alliance of Museums, California Preservation Foundation, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and Sewall-Belmont House (Washington, DC).

She has also served in senior management positions at several institutions including Executive Director of Peerless Rockville, one of the leading historic preservation organizations in Maryland; Collections Manager at the Supreme Court of the United States; , Public Programs Manager at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, and Historic Preservation Officer for Riverside County, California.  She is currently the executive director of the Society of Woman Geographers, a national non-profit organization.  You can reach her at