The Board of Directors names as Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians individuals who have distinguished themselves by a lifetime of significant contributions to the field. These contributions may include scholarship, service to SAH, or stewardship of the built environment.
Robert B. Rettig
In addition to a long and distinguished career as a scholar and historic preservationist, Robert B. Rettig has been an indispensable member of the architectural history community through his extraordinarily valuable service to non-profit cultural organizations—especially the Society of Architectural Historians. After receiving his BA in Architectural Studies and Masters in Fine Arts from Harvard University, Bob began his work as a preservationist at the Cambridge Historical Commission in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he edited or co-authored three of the four volumes of the encyclopedic Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge. His Guide to Cambridge Architecture, Ten Walking Tours followed quickly as did a special issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians devoted to Boston’s Victorian-era architecture. From the start of his career, Bob has generously given his time, energy, and managerial expertise to the profession, serving as an officer and/or director of more than half a dozen organizations. He was the founding president in 1972 of the New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and, in 2001, he helped to establish the chapter’s student fellowship, subsequently named in his honor, to support a student’s attendance at the SAH Annual Meeting. An accomplished scholar and preservationist, Bob’s unheralded work for non-profits has been his true gift to the profession.
A pioneer in the field of vernacular architecture, Dell Upton transformed architectural history by expanding our sense of the sites that deserve attention and—significantly—by introducing sophisticated interpretive strategies that helped those sites speak. An inspiring teacher, he has directed the dissertations of 30 scholars, the first of whom proudly stands before you now. Given that his former students currently bring an Uptonian perspective to their work on four continents, Dell has had a substantial influence on the practice of architectural history world wide. A voracious intellect and generous spirit, he has long encouraged his students to tackle topics anywhere in the world. In the process, he has expanded his own horizons far beyond his initial ground-breaking work on colonial Virginia, becoming an early advocate for global histories of architecture. His publications have garnered many awards, notably the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award for Holy Things and Profane and the Spiro Kostof Award for Another City. Closely associated with the Vernacular Architecture Forum, especially as founding editor of the Vernacular Architecture Newsletter and its exhaustive bibliography, Dell has also served the SAH frequently and well: as local conference chair; on the board; on the Hitchcock, Downing and MacDougall award committees and on the Nominating committee, often as chair; on the SAHARA editorial committee; and as the organizer of a remarkable study tour of Civil-Rights memorials and African-American urban landscapes in the South. In all these ways, Dell Upton has earned the honor of being named a Fellow of the Society.
First as book review editor and editor of the Journal, then as vice-president and president of the Society, and then as a continuing active member, Patricia Waddy has been concerned with the intellectual vitality of SAH. Particularly noteworthy was her work with the other officers in meeting the many challenges in moving the organization’s headquarters from Philadelphia to Chicago, where it now occupies the historic Charnley-Persky House, a prestigious setting exemplifying its mission.
No less distinguished are her scholarly achievements. Her study of seventeenth-century Roman palaces has elevated the art of space-planning to a new level of appreciation, emphasizing the role of the designer’s artistry in the creation of a plan. Basing her methodology in the rigorous accumulation and scrutiny of archival construction documents, mundane household accounts, and forgotten manuals of etiquette, she formulated a new analytical strategy for the interpretation of room plans, one that re-animates those spaces with the life and decorum of both men and women in a patrician society. So formidable is her deployment of primary sources to undergird her argument that an Italian scholar publicly referred to it as “terrificante.” At the same time, she advocates a down-to-earth view of even the most exalted ranks. Where did the princess’s children play? Where did the cardinal bathe? Where did the servants live and work? Her insistence that we focus on use in our study of domestic space has helped transform the kinds of questions we now routinely ask in our analysis of Early Modern architecture.