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PRESIDENT'S LETTER

 

Hail to the New Chief!
Please join me in congratulating Kenneth Breisch on becoming national President of the Society of Architectural Historians! As many of you know, Ken is a noted author and educator, as well as an SAH/SCC Advisory Board member.

Ken received his undergraduate degree, M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and he taught at the University of Delaware, University of Texas, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). In 1999, he joined the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California to start the Historic Preservation Program, now known as the Heritage Conservation Program.

Ken is the author ofSmall Public Library in America: A Study in Typology(MIT Press, 1997). He has also co-edited two books on vernacular architecture for The Vernacular Architecture Forum, where he has served on the board of directors.

Ken is about to publish a Library of Congress book on libraries and a volume on the Los Angeles Public Library. Over the years, his research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of Michigan.

He also has served as a member of the Santa Monica Planning Commission and currently sits on that city’s library board.

Recently, SAH/SCC had the pleasure of co-sponsoring (with USC) a party at the Gamble House (Charles and Henry Green, 1908) celebrating Ken’s ascendance. After sending off an invite to our members, I received a number of emails and calls thanking me formyservice as President and wondering what I was going to do next. After some awkward silence, I had to inform these well-wishers that Ken was president ofSAH NATIONALand (for better or for worse) I was still president of the SAH/Southern California Chapter.

So, in addition to congratulating Ken, this also seems like an appropriate time to clarify a few misconceptions about our organization. The Society of Architectural Historians is a national organization based in Chicago. It also has several regional chapters—the Southern California Chapter being one of the larger individual chapters. Membership in one is not the same as membership in the other. Both organizations are worthy of your support.

SAH National is responsible for the annual national conference and has recently added photo database access and other benefits to membership. The Southern California Chapter is its own separate 501c3 nonprofit organization. The Chapter conducts educational programming about Southern California’s architectural heritage. We receive no money or other fiduciary support from national, and vice versa.

In recent years, Ken has expressed interest in increasing the interaction between the national organization and the chapters. SAH/SCC welcomes this opportunity and we look forward to working with Ken in this regard.

Ken is no doubt a worthy leader and scholar. But I also think that Ken’s installation as President of SAH National speaks volumes about how far the West has come in demonstrating that it has a viable, rich, and important architectural heritage. Each of you has played an important role in making that happen. So let’s all celebrate!

Cheers and congratulations to Ken Breisch!

Sian Winship

 
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