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Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...

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Ronald J. Onorato

(Morrison)

(b Hartford, CT, Nov 12, 1864; d Wickford, RI, Jan 1, 1943).

American architect, preservationist, and author. Isham was one of the earliest American architects to specialize in the restoration of colonial American structures. He worked on a large number of 17th- and 18th-century structures in New England, wrote several major works on American architecture, conducted archaeological site work, and also designed new, mostly residential buildings.

Most of his private and professional life was spent in Rhode Island with its large number of existing colonial buildings. The state’s extensive collection of early structures influenced his career, as did other Rhode Island architects who helped generate the Colonial Revival style nationally such as Edmund R. Willson (1856–1906), of the prominent Providence firm of Stone, Carpenter & Willson, with whom Isham trained in the late 1880s. About the same time, he received Bachelor and Master degrees from Brown University, and he married Elizabeth Barbour Ormsbee in 1895.

It is impossible to study colonial American architecture without encountering buildings that Isham restored. While some of his preservation methods and decisions have been superceded by more modern approaches and technologies, he notably produced scores of carefully measured drawings, which are still used by preservationists and historians today. His projects included such significant 17th- and 18th-century structures as Newport’s Colony House, Trinity Church, Redwood Library, and Wanton-Lyman-Allen house (all restored in the 1920s), the Stephen Hopkins House and University Hall at Brown University in Providence, Bishop Berkeley’s Whitehall in Middletown, the Eleazar Arnold House in Lincoln, and the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace in North Kingstown, all Rhode Island. His bibliography encompasses surveys of early Rhode Island and Connecticut homes, scholarly studies on specific buildings, such as the First Baptist Meeting House, Providence, and St Paul’s in Wickford and papers on individual architects such as John Holden Greene....

Article

Peter L. Laurence

Although the theory and practice of renovating cities is ancient, and although the term is still used to refer to similar practices today, “urban renewal” typically refers to the large-scale, federally funded redevelopment projects that took place in US cities in the 1950s and 1960s. Such projects wrought dramatic physical transformations and caused controversial social upheaval. Urban renewal in this sense came into being with the US Housing Act of 1954, although it evolved out of a history of government-funded slum clearance and housing project construction dating back to the 1930s. Following two decades of slum clearance and model housing projects including First Houses (1935), Williamsburg Houses (1937) and Stuyvesant Town (1947), all in New York, the US Housing Act of 1949 was signed into law with broad political support due to a national postwar housing shortage. As the immediate legislative predecessor of urban renewal legislation, the Housing Act of ...