SESAH Newsletter: Spring 2020
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Letter from the President - SESAH 2020 Annual Conference Information

Letter from the President


Dear SESAH members and friends,

These are confusing, hectic, but strangely quiet times. All our lives have been affected in important ways in the last month by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us are having to learn new digital strategies for doing our work remotely. Several national architectural history conferences scheduled for April and May, including SAH’s Seattle conference, have been cancelled or shifted to a virtual format.

Annual Meeting in Natchez

We want to assure you that the SESAH board is closely watching the situation regarding our own annual meeting. We don’t know for sure what the landscape will look like in the coming months, but for now we expect and hope that by this fall the virus will be better understood and controlled and that travel restrictions will have been lifted. Toward that end, we will continue to plan for our annual meeting to be held in Natchez, Mississippi, September 30-October 3, 2020 by reviewing paper abstracts and award nominations in the coming months. We have, however, extended the deadline for the Call for Papers to May 15 to allow you more time to prepare your paper abstracts, and our Papers Committee will respond to potential presenters by June 8. We hope this extension gives us all something positive to plan for: “what’s next?” instead of “what now?”

Website Revisions
Last fall, even before the virus forced us all into a world of virtual socializing, teaching, and learning, our inveterate secretary Lydia Soo, and web-weaver Mikesch Muecke, along with dozens of board members and committee chairs began the tedious but necessary process of updating and revising every page on our SESAH website. As with all websites, over the years information changed but didn’t get updated on every page. New fellowships were added, new committee chairs rotated on, and new ways of receiving abstracts were instituted, but artifacts of previous pages remained and needed to be brought up to date or removed. Many of us have been through grinding year-long website updates in our workplaces, but we SESAHers banded together in a can-do volunteer effort to accomplish this in about three months! In late March, Mikesch posted the finishing touches, and it’s something to be proud of. The eye-catching design is familiar, but the information on each page is accurate and easily shared with colleagues and students—check it out at and send Mikesch and Lydia a note to congratulate them on this achievement.
Recording our own SESAH History
Notice also several additions to the website that will increase its usefulness as a reference for our own organizational history. Under the About tab, founding SESAHer Rob Craig contributed a “History of SESAH” that recounts how SESAH came to have three pillars in its mission: Arris, the annual conference, and support for SAH’s Buildings of the United States (BUS) series. Rob and SESAH Secretary Lydia Soo also jointly compiled a helpful list of Past Officers of SESAH, also available on the About tab—this list will help us keep a better sense of our own history as we move forward. I hope future newsletters will contain memories from other longtime SESAH members. If you’ve been ‘round these parts for 20 years or more (I myself am coming up on that milestone in a couple of years), send us a 500-700 word narrative of your SESAH experience at
Other helpful new reference tools:

  • Under the Annual Conferences tab we have been adding downloadable pdfs for each past conference allowing us to digitally archive the Program, Schedule, Abstracts, Study Tour materials, and other miscellany for our conferences. This is material that many of us keep on our bookshelves or in our files and which exists in our paper archive at Georgia Tech University but will now be more easily accessible for all of us even if we didn’t attend a conference. Notice when you visit this page that we still need material for many conferences before 2007, so if you have digital material you can add, contact Lydia Soo at
  • Past SESAH Newsletters, organized chronologically as downloadable pdfs under the Publications/SESAH News tab. Also still under construction.
  • Past Recipients of SESAH Travel Grants and Fellowships. If you received a student travel grant before 2002 and want to add your name, contact Lydia Soo at
  • All past awardees for Publications and the Best of the South awards under the Award Opportunities tab.

Coming Soon: Arris 30 

The latest issue of Arris, the Journal of the Southeast chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, is expected to ship to your mailbox by the end of April. Thanks to new editor Mark Reinberger for his work to bring this issue to print! Mark and co-editor Vandana Baweja are already putting together Arris 31, so if you have an article to submit, contact them at or Reminder: If you have moved in the last year or so, please update the SESAH membership roll so you will receive your Arris. Email membership coordinator Ruben Acosta at

Like many of you, I look forward every year to the SESAH conference as a time to catch up with longtime friends and make new friends too, so after this long and disconcerting season of change and anxiety, we look forward to seeing all of you safe and sound at our annual “family reunion” in Natchez, Mississippi.
Take care,
Jennifer Baughn



October 1-3, 2020

Natchez Grand Hotel and the Natchez Convention Center


State News


The Historic Natchez Foundation has announced the creation of a center dedicated to the vision established by former directors Ron and Mimi Miller.  The new center, named the Miller Center, will be the research arm of the Historic Natchez Foundation. The center will conduct scholarly research, create publications, host scholars and organize lectures, conferences and special events.  More information about the center can be found here, as well as on the webpage for the Historic Natchez Foundation

If you are looking for a way to honor past SESAH president Michael Fazio's memory, Michael requested donations to AIA Mississippi to fund the remaining required to publish Buildings of Mississippi, the book he co-authored with current SESAH president Jennifer Baughn. Our goal is to raise $5,000. When asked how we should spend any overage, Michael said "get it on the desk of decision makers."  Read more about the book on the AIA Mississippi website,  Donations in Michael's memory for the publications of Buildings of Mississippi may also be made directly to SAH by contacting Carolyn Garrett at SAH: (312) 573-1365 or

The Tennessee Historical Commission has published The Courier newsletter three times a year since 1964. Recently updated to include more images and article on work in the office, the online edition is available on the Tennessee Historical Commission's webpage.  One of the highlights of the current issue is the new historic preservation plan for the State Historic Preservation Office.  SESAH member and current treasurer Robbie Jones, as part of his day job for New South Associates, was the project manager and co-author.  An article on the plan is in The Courier and the entire plan is available here

Nine properties were recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places from Tennessee.
They include the Sitka School in Gibson County, Crescent School in Greene County, Stanton School in Haywood County, Ripley Fire Lookout Tower in Lauderdale County, Englewood Water Tower in McMinn County, Gladys “MaDear” Bennett House in Shelby County, Webb Hotel in Warren County, an update to Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area, and an update to the Hincheyville Historic District in Williamson County. Highlights of these National Register listings can be found here

Important Upcoming SESAH Deadlines:

2020 SESAH Annual Conference Call for Papers Deadline
Extended to May 15

2020 SESAH Publication Awards Call for Nominations
June 1

2020 SESAH Best of the South Call for Nominations
July 8

SESAH Conference Travel Grants
Stage 1 Deadline Extended to May 15th

Other Important Deadlines: 

2021 SAH Session: Architecture of Extraction in the Atlantic World
June 3
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