Pauline Saliga, Executive Director, SAH | Aug 07, 2019
It is with great sadness that the Society of Architectural Historians notes the death of Claude Conyers, the original commissioning editor at Oxford University Press (OUP) for SAH’s Buildings of the United States (BUS) series. An enduring supporter of the series until it moved to University of Virginia Press in 2006, Conyers worked closely with BUS’s founding co-editors, the late William H. Pierson Jr., artist and art history at Williams College, and the late Adolf K. Placzek, former director of the Avery Architectural Library at Columbia University. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Buildings of the United States series, Damie Stillman, who worked with Conyers on BUS books in the late 1990s and early 2000s, offered this remembrance of him,
“Claude Conyers, who died in April 2019, was enormously significant for the birth and early development of SAH's major series Buildings of the United States (BUS). As our editor at Oxford University Press, he was not only a champion of the series but was instrumental in the conception of the volumes, their format, and their character. It was he who shepherded the first volumes to publication, and in many ways he helped set the tone for one of SAH's most important contributions to the study of architecture in America.”
In 1994, a year after the first four BUS volumes on Alaska, Iowa, Michigan, and the District of Columbia were published, Oxford University Press and the BUS series were awarded the prestigious R.R. Hawkins Award for the outstanding scholarly publication of 1993 at the Association of American Publishers/Professional & Scholarly Publishing conference. Conyers’ acceptance speech provides a contextual history of OUP and a detailed vision for the BUS series. As current SAH Archipedia Editor, Gabrielle Esperdy noted, Conyers was prescient in his prediction that BUS books would continue to appear for decades to come as he said, “initially in print and subsequently in digitized form.” Little did he know that in 2019 we would still be releasing new volumes and SAH Archipedia would relaunch as a robust, open access, mobile friendly resource with both BUS book content and new, born-digital research combined.
Executive Director, SAH