SAHARA Highlights: Pauline Saliga

by Jacqueline Spafford and Mark Hinchman, SAHARA Co-Editors | Dec 12, 2022

The SAH membership continues to mourn the loss of long-time executive director Pauline Saliga, and reminders of her influence and vast professional contributions are evident through the abundance of heartfelt tributes. This month we would like to dedicate the SAHARA Highlights to Pauline, specifically her role in the conception and development of this resource.

As early as 2006, Pauline was exploring ways to expand on early image exchange models. With the support of a Mellon Foundation grant, she worked with Jeff Cohen, then-SAH President Dietrich Neumann and First Vice President Dianne Harris, and numerous experts in the fields of archives, software and platform design, and digital photography storage and standards to develop a robust online digital image archive that allowed SAH members to contribute and borrow images. It was a unique idea, and through its development, and a rotation of SAH officers, Pauline was the one constant—thoroughly committed to the value of this resource. (For a more in-depth coverage of Pauline’s involvement with SAH’s digital projects, please read Dianne Harris’s forthcoming essay in JSAH.)

In addition to shepherding SAHARA’s development, she was a dedicated contributor. She had a keen eye as a photographer, and put this skill to good use on her travels and building tours. Below is a sample of her contributions, including photography reflecting her own interests as well as content she helped direct to SAHARA. We thank her immensely for her vision and devotion to SAHARA, and to all other SAH endeavors.

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Bruce Goff, John and Grace Lee Frank House, Sapulpa, Oklahoma, 1955. Goff designed this house for the founders of Frankoma Pottery. During her time at the Art Institute of Chicago Pauline worked on the exhibition Design for the Continuous Present: The Architecture of Bruce Goff, and co-edited, with Mary Woolever, Design for the Continuous Present: The Architecture of Bruce Goff, 1904–1982 (Prestel Verlag, 1995) to accompany the exhibition. This publication has been a widely used reference for Goff entries in SAHARA and elsewhere. Photograph by Pauline Saliga, 1996.


bookstore interior
The Prairie Avenue Bookshop, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1990. This architectural bookstore, across the street from the Auditorium Theater, was founded by Marilyn Hasbrouck in the 1950s and moved to several locations. This final location, designed by Hasbrouck’s husband, Wilbert Hasbrouck, closed in 2009. Pauline and her husband, John Gronkowski, were frequent visitors. Photograph by John Gronkowski, 2009.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin East, Spring Green, Wisconsin, 1911. Pauline shared her interest in architecture with her children, Tom and Nadia, who accompanied her on some of the SAH study tours. Photograph by Tom Gronkowski, 2006.

Adler and Sullivan; Frank Lloyd Wright, Charnley-Persky House, Chicago, Illinois, 1891–92. As the executive director of Charnley-Persky House, Pauline ensured it was well-documented and represented, in SAHARA and elsewhere. Photographer unknown, contributed by Pauline Saliga, 2008.

Adler and Sullivan, Wirt Dexter Building, Chicago, Illinois, 1887. In the record for this image Pauline described a fire that started accidentally and burned for three days, causing the building to be demolished. She noted, “It was one of three Sullivan buildings that were destroyed by fire in 2006, the 150th anniversary of Sullivan's birth.” Photograph by Pauline Saliga, 2006.

historic photo of building exterior
Coldman and Despradelle, The Berkeley Building (aka The Decorative Arts Building), Boston, Massachusetts, 1905. In 2013 Pauline worked with colleagues at the Ryerson & Burnham Archive at the Art Institute of Chicago to include a collection of historic architectural photographs in SAHARA. Photograph by Frederick Bemm (from an original taken 1908).

building exterior
Walter Burley Griffin, Arthur Rule House, Mason City, Iowa, 1912–13. In Pauline’s text that accompanies this photograph she notes that the house was frequently visited on SAH study tours, including this 2006 tour with H. Allen Brooks. Photograph by Pauline Saliga, 2006.

H. Allen Brooks in doorway
Purcell, Feick and Elmslie, The Merchants Bank of Winona, Winona, Minnesota, 1911–12. Pauline took this photo of tour leader and architectural historian H. Allen Brooks during the same SAH study tour. They visited Louis Sullivan and Prairie School buildings in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Photograph by Pauline Saliga, 2006.

David DeLong holding lampshade
Bruce Goff, Hopewell Baptist Church, Edmond, Oklahoma, 1948. On another SAH study tour, which focused on Bruce Goff’s work in Oklahoma, Pauline took this photograph of historian David DeLong discussing a light fixture shade made from a tin pie plate.  Photograph by Pauline Saliga, 1996.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610