The New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians

News and events

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  • 13 Mar 2023 3:27 PM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    The New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to share information on the 44th Annual Student Symposium, which will be a hybrid conference taking place on April 8, 2023. Attendees can choose to join in person at Yale University or on Zoom. Please see the poster below for more details.

    To register to attend the symposium, please click here: registration.

    For any questions about the symposium, please email

  • 8 Feb 2023 7:57 PM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    Monday, February 27

    A brief business meeting will precede the presentation of papers.
    Presented via Zoom; Pre-registration required.


    Dennis De Witt
    Brookline's Mount Vernon Portico Houses

    Three tall columned houses in Brookline’s Green Hill neighborhood, dating from 1794 to 1806, have been identified with the label “Jamaica Planter.”  Two are associated with well known later occupants — architect Henry Hobson Richardson and Boston Grand Dame, Isabella Stewart Gardner. Exploring the  genesis of “Jamaica Planter” revealed only a casually generated term that offered a convenient explanation for some unusual houses.  However, it did not comport with the first of these houses, Senator George Cabot’s “Old Green Hill.”  Its inspiration may have been George Washington’s Mount Vernon portico.

    Dennis De Witt holds Masters degrees in architecture from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Past-President of S.A.H./New England, a former Vice-Chair of the Brookline Preservation Commission, a Director and Past-President of Boston’s Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, and a Commissioner of the Massachusetts Historical Commission. He has been involved with historic preservation for over 50 years. His book-length publications include Modern Architecture in Europe: A Guide to Buildings Since the Industrial Revolution and various studies related to Boston’s 19th century water system, its architects and technology.

    Diana Martinez
    The Olmsteds and the Imperial Prospect

    In March of 1901 the U.S. Secretary of War wrote to the Olmsted firm requesting advice on improvements to Manila. Though Olmsted Jr. declined the job, he deeply influenced Daniel Burnham’s eventual plans. This paper will consider the legibility of U.S. Empire insofar as it is expressed in Olmsted’s work and influence.   

    Diana Martinez is an assistant professor of architectural history and the director of architectural studies at Tufts University. She is completing a book manuscript, Concrete Colonialism: Architecture, Infrastructure, Urbanism and the American Colonial Project in the Philippines.

    Robert Cowherd
    Doing History in the Anthropocene

    Teaching history to undergraduates as they inherit the multiple intertwined crises of the 21st century compels a critical reexamination of what we teach and how. Facing a torrent of information, how do they construct a dependable foundation for collective action? The challenge is to replace conventional teaching and learning mindsets to mobilize a more confident generation of history practitioners. Instead of studying history, college students can get a jump on a lifetime of doing history.

    Robert Cowherd, PhD, is a Professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology. His research and publications focus on the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in Southeast Asia and Latin America. He is the author most recently of "Batavian Apartheid: Mapping Bodies, Constructing Identities" in Southeast of Now and "Decolonizing Bamboo" in Dialectic IX. He is former President of the New England Society of Architectural Historians.

  • 19 Jan 2023 10:48 AM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    The New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to announce its upcoming 44th Annual Student Symposium.

    The Student Symposium features presentations by outstanding students from programs across New England in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture, art history, urban studies, historic preservation, and related fields. This year's event will take place on Saturday, April 8, 2023. The event will be held in a hybrid format, and student presenters can choose to present in-person or virtually. The in-person component of the event will take place at Loria Hall in the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut.

    Student symposium presenters are typically engaged in producing a thesis or dissertation, or are interested in developing work done in connection with a seminar or lecture course. Symposium paper topics may concern the architecture of any era or place; however, presenters should be current students at an academic institution in the New England region. Paper presentations should be 20 minutes in length and accompanied by slides; presentations will be followed by a brief Q&A.

    If you are interested in presenting your work at the symposium, please submit an abstract and short biographical note by February 15, 2023. Update: The deadline has been extended to February 20, 2023. Student abstracts should include the student’s name, the name of their faculty advisor, their field of study, and their institutional affiliation. Abstracts should be less than 300 words in length and should be followed by a short biography of less than 100 words. Please submit as a single pdf document to:

    We will notify students of acceptance decisions by February 24, 2023.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us at with any questions that you may have!

  • 14 Sep 2022 7:12 AM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    On October 8th, the Preservation Society of Newport County invites members and guests of NESAH to tour areas of The Breakers never before seen by the public.

    Image credit: Sebastien Dutton / The Preservation Society of Newport County


    Saturday, October 8, 2022
    1:00 - 4:00 PM
    The Breakers, 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport RI 02840

    History of the Breakers:

    The Breakers is the legendary Newport residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and his family. Constructed in 1893-1895, the house contains 70 rooms including some 23 family bedrooms and guest rooms as well as 33 servant bedrooms. After World War II, houses like The Breakers were seen as obsolete, windows to a fading lifestyle and era. With the foresight of the late Countess Laszlo Szechenyi (born Gladys Vanderbilt), she loaned her childhood home to be used as a house museum. Following the opening of The Breakers to the curious public in 1948, the Vanderbilt family decamped to the third floor of the house – originally designed for the Vanderbilt boys, guests, and staff – and lived there seasonally when in Newport. The residency of the Vanderbilt family and their descendants continued on for the next 70 years, while hundreds of thousands of visitors toured the floors below every year.

    Tour details:

    To provide an introduction to the history of the house, all attendees will take a tour of areas of the house already opened to the public: the grand rooms on the first floor, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and the Parisian decorator Jules Allard and Sons, as well as the principle bedrooms on the second floor, designed by Boston interior designer Ogden Codman, Jr. Attendees will then choose one of two additional tours that will provide the rare and unique behind-the-scenes opportunity to view the third floor family bedrooms or the servants quarters. All tours will be led by knowledgeable guides from the Preservation Society.

    When the last Vanderbilt descendants moved out of The Breakers in 2018, the PSNC was left to decide what the future will hold for the third floor. Following the tours, attendees will be invited to a discussion on the future of the third floor bedrooms and the servants quarters. The discussion will be moderated by Leslie Jones, Curator and Director of Museum Affairs for the Preservation Society of Newport County. Light refreshments will be served during the discussion.

    Ticket price:

    $25 to register

    $15 for up to one additional guest


  • 21 Aug 2022 6:24 PM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    NESAH invites you to join a special talk and tour offered by our friends at the Center for Painted Wall Preservation (CPWP)!

    The event will take place on Saturday, September 24 and features an introductory talk about the history of painted walls followed by tours of four private homes, two in Vermont and two in New Hampshire, that feature outstanding examples of painted walls from the late-18th and early-19th centuries. These private homes are not typically open to the public, so this is a rare opportunity to see these historic houses and their amazing painted walls. 

    Read about the tour here for more information. Registration for the tour is through the CPWP, and you can sign up online here.

  • 21 Mar 2022 10:25 AM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    The New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to share information on the 43rd Annual Student Symposium, which will be a virtual conference taking place on April 9, 2022. 

    To register to attend the symposium, please click here: registration.

  • 9 Mar 2022 10:23 AM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    Monday, March 28, 2022

    7:00 pm
    Presented via Zoom.

    Pre-registration for this free event is required. Please register here!

  • 1 Feb 2022 10:21 AM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    NE/SAH is pleased to host a lecture from our 2021 John Coolidge Fellowship recipient, Sarah Horowitz of Boston University. Pre-registration for this free event is required.

    Monday, February 28, 2022

    7:00 pm
    Presented via Zoom. Pre-registration for this free event is required. Please register here!
  • 20 Sep 2021 4:17 PM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    Monday, October 18, 2021

    7:00 pm
    Presented via Zoom

    Pre-registration for this free lecture is required. Please register here!

  • 17 Jun 2021 4:05 PM | Jennifer Gaugler (Administrator)

    The New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to share information on the 42nd Annual Student Symposium, which will be a virtual conference taking place on June 26, 2021. 

    To register to attend the symposium, please click here: registration.

    To view a program including the detailed schedule for the symposium, please click here: program.

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