The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is an international not-for-profit membership organization that promotes the study and preservation of the built environment worldwide. The Society’s 3,500 members include architectural historians, architects, preservationists, students, professionals in allied fields and the interested public. Founded in 1940, membership in SAH is open to everyone, regardless of profession or expertise, who is interested in the study, interpretation, and protection of historically significant buildings, sites, cities and landscapes

SAH had its beginnings during the summer session at Harvard University in 1940, when a number of professors and students in the field of history met for informal, extracurricular talks, discussions, and study trips. The enthusiasm that these activities generated led to the formal organization of the Society in late 1940. Initially, the Society was known as the American Society of Architectural Historians.

From its inception, four key goals informed the Society’s mission: (1) to provide multiple forums for presenting, interpreting, and debating architectural history; (2) to foster an appreciation and understanding of the built environment throughout history; (3) to encourage and disseminate research in the field of architectural history; and (4) to promote the preservation of significant monuments worldwide.

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To achieve that mission, the members of the Society continued to meet annually to deliver scholarly research papers, to participate in study tours of the region, and to manage the usual governance matters required of a professional society. In 1941 the first issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians was published. Realizing that the interests of the members were diverse and international in scope, in 1947 the Board of Directors of the Society voted to drop the word “American” from its name and to approve steps toward incorporation in the state of Connecticut.

In 2000 the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) celebrated sixty years of service to the field of architectural history and its related disciplines. The Society’s membership of approximately 3,500 individuals includes professors of architectural and art history, architects and other design professionals, preservationists, museum curators, students, and many others who share a passionate interest in the subject. Institutional members, numbering more than 900, include other learned societies, university libraries, art and historical museums, and preservation organizations around the world.

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The Society of Architectural Historians was founded in 1940 to advance knowledge and understanding of the history of architecture, design, landscape, and urbanism worldwide. The Society serves scholars, professionals in allied fields (including architecture, historic preservation and planning), and the interested general public by:

  1. Sponsoring the pursuit and presentation of scholarly research;
  2. Sponsoring forums for the exchange of ideas through its annual scholarly meetings and occasional symposia;
  3. Providing publications that disseminate scholarly work, professional information, and general information related to the field and of interest to the public through its publications, JSAH, the SAH Newsletter and the Buildings of the United States series;
  4. Acknowledging outstanding scholarly accomplishments in the field through publication awards and fellowships;
  5. Fostering scholarship, research, and education about the history of the built environment;
  6. Organizing study tours of significant buildings and sites both in the United States and abroad;
  7. Supporting the preservation of historic places and cultural heritage.


The annual SAH meeting this year is being held in Chicago from April 21-25, 2010 and since Chicago is a green city, the meet is focusing on GREEN this year.


Registration for the SAH Annual Meeting in Chicago is now open. Click here for information about registration rates or registering by fax or mail. For more details visit the official website:

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