This research project began in 2011 as a master's thesis (M.S. Historic Preservation), which was published in 2012 as Specialization and Significance: Assessing the Career and Works of Minerva Parker Nichols (Master's thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 2012). This thesis is available here.

As I have continued the project after graduation, pulling on each thread in a growing network of people, buildings, and professional associations connected to Minerva Parker Nichols, I have benefited tremendously from the interest and expertise of many others, including William Whitaker, Jeffrey Cohen, Aaron Wunsch, the Trainer family, and the staff and volunteers of Cranaleith Spiritual Center. Most importantly, this project took on new life when I connected with Minerva Parker Nichols' own descendants, including Carrie Baker, who joins me as a full collaborator in this research. I am grateful to everyone involved for their shared passion and support for this project.

This project is an ongoing one; the research continues, and this website will expand and evolve as we learn more about Minerva Parker Nichols' life and work. work.            

Margaret (Molly) Lester is a Research Associate for PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she worked as a freelance architectural historian and preservation planner, an editorial assistant for the University of Pennsylvania’s Change Over Time journal, a national program director for Partners for Sacred Places, and an architectural historian/historic tax credit consultant for Heritage Consulting Group. She is an occasional contributor to the Hidden City Daily, an online publication covering design and preservation issues in Philadelphia, and a former co-chair of the steering committee for the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance. 


She holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Architectural History from the University of Virginia.