SAH Offers Sincere Gratitude to Karen Kingsley

by Pauline Saliga | Feb 24, 2021
Karen Kingsley

Late last year Karen Kingsley announced her phased retirement from the Buildings of the United States (BUS) publishing project so she would have more time to pursue her own research and writing. Karen, who assumed the BUS editor-in-chief position in 2006, has a stellar record of achievement with BUS so let me share “Karen Kingsley by the numbers.” 

Karen Kingsley has accomplished the following:

  • Written two BUS books: Buildings of Louisiana and the Buildings of New Orleans city guide (with Lake Douglas).

  • Managed the editing and production of 17 BUS books, namely Arkansas; Hawaii; Maryland (forthcoming); Massachusetts/Boston; Michigan (revised); Mississippi (new in 2021!); Missouri (forthcoming); North Dakota; Eastern Pennsylvania; Western Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh; Savannah; Texas Central, South and Gulf Coast; Texas East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West; Vermont; Virginia Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest; and Wisconsin.

  • Worked with at least 53 authors at last count.

  • Collaborated with an entire editorial, technical, and fundraising team on the development of SAH Archipedia, the online encyclopedia of U.S. architecture and landscapes that combines Buildings of the United States content with born-digital content into one media-rich, open-access educational resource.

  • Launched the new BUS City Guides with the 2016 release of Buildings of Savannah.

  •  Introduced a new, user-friendly BUS book format with the 2021 release of Buildings of Mississippi.

  •  Will finalize two last books, Buildings of Maryland (forthcoming in late 2021) and Buildings of Missouri (forthcoming in 2022), before leaving BUS in summer 2021.

Although BUS and SAH Archipedia are in the able hands of Gabrielle Esperdy, editor-in-chief, and Catherine Boland Erkkila, managing editor, SAH owes a great debt of gratitude to Karen Kingsley for her years of dedicated service on these publications. In addition, during her fifteen-year tenure, Karen has been a trusted advisor at SAH Executive Committee and Board meetings, raised critical funding for BUS books, supported SAH fundraising efforts for BUS books and SAH Archipedia, has taken leadership roles in the Latrobe Chapter of SAH, and has collaborated with other organizations, such as the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, to create new BUS and SAH Archipedia research fellowships for graduate students. 

Beyond all these accomplishments, Karen has forged life-long friendships with authors, editors, advisory committees, SAH staff, and the SAH membership at large. BUS Advisory Committee member Jeffrey Klee commented on the unique role Karen has played in BUS: 

“Karen is singular in the SAH: a Brit who chose to pursue a career and a life in the American South, studying and teaching American modernism. Surely it was the experience of growing up in the UK that allowed her to see how essential the Pevsner Guides are for students of architecture and surely this strengthened her resolve to keep the BUS moving forward. Karen's commitment to the series kept it running at a time when no part of the process, from recruiting authors to finding donors to getting the manuscripts into print, was easy. Her determination to produce printed books of very high quality has resulted in the series continuing to be a vital and useful part of the SAH, a point of pride for everyone involved. Karen deserves great credit for her steadfast efforts to sustain and strengthen the BUS.”

As we follow Karen’s scholarly path beyond BUS and SAH Archipedia, we wish her safe travels, engaging research work, and publication editors who have at least as much patience and expertise as she brought to the Buildings of the United States series. Congratulations, Karen!

Pauline Saliga, Executive Director
Society of Architectural Historians




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.
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