about the author

Kirin J. Makker is an Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies at Hobart William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.  This blog is her “thinkspace” for a book she’s writing called, The Myths of Main Street.  During 2013-2014, her research is being supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities residential fellowship at Winterthur Library and Museum in Delaware.  Other fellowships she has secured to support this research include Columbia University Library Research Grant, a Wardlaw Fellowship from Baylor University, and a Hagley Library exploratory grant.  She posts a few times/year about her ongoing research related to this project.  To learn more about the book, go here.

Kirin holds three advanced degrees:  an M.A. in English Language and Literature (UMass Amherst), an M.Arch. (UMaryland College Park), and a Ph.D. in Regional Planning (UMass Amherst).  Way back, when she was an undergraduate at the University of Texas (Austin), she studied English and History.  Besides this project, she is finishing a book about the history of the village improvement movement in the United States (forthcoming from the Library of American Landscape History).

At Hobart William Smith (HWS) she teaches architectural design, visual communication, and American planning history, where she has been on the faculty in the Department of Art and Architecture since 2008.  Before teaching at HWS, she taught at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts (2004-2008).  To learn more about the architectural studies program in which she teaches, go to http://www.hws.edu/academics/architecture.  To read more about her teaching and creative practice, see her Faculty bio on the HWS website.



5 thoughts on “about the author

  1. As someone who has been interested in “Main Street” architecture for 35 or so years and has been helping Darius populate his Mesker and other manufacturers databases, I look forward to your blog entries. The diversity of the other storefront manufacturers and the hybrid buildings that combine components from local, regional, and national manufacturers is quite amazing. Sadly, most National Register nomination forms that I’ve seen for commercial buildings and districts do not include much information, or worse, incorrect information about the origins of the buildings’ components even when that information is obvious. I’ve often lamented that many professionals in the history and preservation communities are completely unaware of the origins of the historic buildings that they strive to preserve so any effort to spread the word about this is a positive.
    Roger Waguespack
    Austin, TX

    • Thanks Roger, for the comment. I’m hunting through Trade Catalog Collections and slowly compiling a list of these smaller companies. I hope to do a few posts on how to find information out about these foundries and locating those wonderful foundry marks on buildings. Glad to find a kindred spirit interested in this stuff!

    • AND — when I’m more organized and able to share my list in a way that it might make sense to you, we should compare notes! I’d be very interested to see what companies you have located besides the Meskers’. thanks again for commenting!

  2. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve looked at several trade catalogs that are available as pdf downloads from Google Books. From what I’ve seen, the listings are for some of what I consider the larger regional and national companies, but not the smaller, more local ones.

  3. Also, I saw your UT Austin connection. I worked in the Main Building for 30 years starting in 1980. I worked in the Business Affairs area, but soon after I started, I would go over to the Architecture Library in Battle Hall at lunch where I stumbled upon the 1977 APT reprint of the 1905 G.L. Mesker Catalogue.

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