Whitney Gould, a longtime architecture critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a 1974 Nieman Fellow, died at her home in Milwaukee in early December. She was 76.
Early in her career, Gould was one of Wisconsin’s first environmental reporters, and her award-winning coverage helped lead to the banning of the pesticide DDT. Gould was best known as the influential urban landscape writer and architecture critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a position she held from 1995 until her retirement in 2007.
Mary Louise Schumacher, a former art and architecture critic at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a 2017 Nieman Fellow, said, “For years, architects, city planners and designers across Milwaukee braced themselves for the paper on Mondays, when Whitney’s columns would appear. She was incredibly tough, a force, but known for her fairness and generosity, too.”
Born and raised in Madison, Gould attended UW-Madison, where she wrote a humor column—called “Solid Gould”—for The Daily Cardinal student newspaper. Following her graduation in 1965 with a degree in art history and German, she briefly pursued graduate studies in art history at Columbia University and wrote ad copy for J.C. Penny. She returned to Madison and—following in the footsteps of her mother, Elizabeth Gould, who was an art and music critic for the Wisconsin State Journal—began her journalism career in 1966 at The Capital Times as a general assignment reporter. She soon became Madison’s first environmental reporter, providing substantial coverage of how DDT was impacting animal and bird life.
After a stint as The Capital Times’s editorial page editor following her Nieman fellowship year, Gould joined the Milwaukee Journal as an editorial writer in 1984. The Journal merged with its sister paper, the Milwaukee Sentinel, in 1995, and she became the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s first urban landscape writer and architecture critic. After her 2007 retirement, she remained an active Milwaukee citizen as a member of the City Plan Commission.
Gould is survived by her sister, Penny, and a niece.