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
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
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!