Recap of SAH 75th Anniversary Reception at Harvard

by SAH News | Nov 13, 2015
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of SAH’s founding at the Harvard Faculty Club on July 31, 1940, SAH held a celebratory reception at the Frances Loeb Library at the Harvard GSD on October 28, 2015. Through the generosity of Ann Whiteside, Librarian/Assistant Dean for Information Services at the Loeb Library, and several donors, more than fifty SAH and SAH New England Chapter members joined SAH President Ken Breisch and SAH Director Pauline Saliga for reminiscences about the Society. (View photos of the reception on Facebook.)

Selections from the special collections of architectural drawings and first editions housed in the Loeb Library were out on view and GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi stopped in to welcome us. Mostafavi urged SAH and the GSD to find ways to build strong ties through programming and future collaborations. Life member and Fellow of SAH Jim O’Gorman shared heartfelt thoughts about the founders of SAH and benefactor member, past president and SAH Fellow Keith Morgan talked about the recent history of the Society and the ways it has changed since he organized the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1990. Many offered toasts to SAH’s longevity and beloved member and mentor Vincent Scully emailed the following toast:

To the Society of Architectural Historians

Hail to the Founders

In 1937 the Bauhaus brings its hatred of history to Harvard. 

But by the following summer the Yard is buzzing with historians from near and far talking about architecture.  Conspicuous among them are Vanderpool of Illinois, Hanfmann and Perkins of Harvard, and Bannister of Rensselaer.

By 1940 they are organized and the American Society of Architectural Historians is founded, with Bannister as President and Conant, Coolidge, and Fiske Kimball among the directors. 

Instantly the Journal appears, the surest weapon in a historian’s hands, and the Founders step forward, wielding the Word.

Hanfmann introduces the Etruscans to the Bauhaus.
And Meeks tells us how to teach a New History of Architecture to architects.

And Hitchcock explores the mystery of Modern forms.
So the Founders prevail, masters of the footnote, advisors of dissertations, the mentors of us all.

Vincent Scully
Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art
Yale University 
October 5, 2015

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
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