Ada Louise Huxtable

One of the premier names in architecture criticism passed this Monday, at the age of 91. Ada Louise Huxtable was the first full-time architecture critic for the New York Times, joining the newspaper in 1963 (see her obituary in the New York Times here). Her direct and colorful style makes her criticism a pleasure to read. Weighing in until the very last, just last month she criticized the controversial relocation of books from the New York Public Library in order to reclaim space (her article in the Wall Street Journal here, see an article on the controversy from NPR and one on the new renovation renderings). She weighed in on the destruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station, and bemoaned the loss of other railroad stations across the nation, praising reuse during the mid-1970s, when the railroad’s future seemed uncertain. Huxtable questioned historic preservation, looking into the whys behind it, instead of rubber stamping a clean mimicry of the past. A life of much thought, conviction, and writing is a life well lived.

The Getty Research Institute will be home to Huxtable’s archives. Nice legacy.

New York Public Library rendering of historic stacks with dumbwaiter system.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.