The HABS and the 'HABs NOTS':
Documenting the Architecture of Newburyport
in the Historic American Buildings Survey
by R.W. Bacon
The HABS and the HABs Nots takes a look back at the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the federal program that advanced historic preservation in the 1930s. For viewing pleasure, the book presents the crisp analog photos and elegant measured drawings for surveys conducted in Newburyport, Mass., a small coastal city known widely for the riches of its authentic 18th- and 19th-century domestic architecture.
The "HABs Nots" Gallery then takes a look at the future of preservation in the once down-and-out but rejuvenated port city. The city's smaller-footprint historic homes, never the subject of the HABS-like attention lavished upon Georgian and Federal-style showplaces, fill the city's 750-acre National Register Historic District and contribute to its ambiance. Yet their authenticity is at the greatest risk of being lost to the "march of progress."
For additional context, the book includes chapters on the economic history of Newburyport; the origin of the HABS program; and the earlier efforts at documentation. Also included is an illustrated guide to 300 years of house styles in Newburyport, plus a bibliography-by-topic for history enthusiasts and preservation advocates.
This new book will be available for purchase at Preservation Week 2017 events. Online purchase information is forthcoming.
See and read the front and back cover here.
8.5 x 11.0 casebound; 160 pages;
ISBN: 978-0-9977528-1-6; LOC: 2016920943
About the author: Reginald W. Bacon is a museum and history professional with specialties in 17th- and 18th-century New England architecture and domestic life – and early 20th-century vaudeville and circus. His first career as a journalist, editor, and designer informs his current work in the museum field. A 35-year career as a touring professional acrobatic juggler and jazz/ragtime musician informed his performing arts research. He is the author of ten books on under-the-radar history, performing arts, and editorial/graphics topics. In a "busman's holiday" sort of way, he serves on the board of directors of several history and preservation organizations, including on the "working board" of the Newburyport Preservation Trust.