Early New England Church Architecture with Prof. Michael Lewis

2B sq

On May 15th, Professor Michael J. Lewis, the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art History at Williams will speak to us about Early New England Church architecture.  The Early New England Church is remarkable in every small-town.  These universally white structures were erected by local builders, joiners and occasionally by itinerant master carpenters. With no trained architects or schools of architecture in the country at the time, inspiration came from traditional designs and pattern books.  These structures are revered for their physical beauty, simplicity and elegance – and for their role in the early history of this country, the early churches of New England hold a special place in the American consciousness.

According to Steve Rosenthal, a photographer of New England Churches, “These are the buildings which give New England towns and villages a unique sense of place and define, in many minds, the New England character …  Collectively, they are as important to the cultural and architectural history of these villages as are the great cathedrals to the cities of Europe.”

Michael J. Lewis has taught American art and architecture at Williams College since 1993.  After receiving his B.A. from Haverford College in 1980, and two years at the University of Hannover Germany, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.   He has taught at Bryn Mawr College; McGill University, Montreal; and the University of Natal, South Africa.  A critic of architecture, he writes for a wide variety of publications.  He is the author of, among others, Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind (2001), The Gothic Revival (2002), American Art and Architecture (2006), and the prize-winning August Reichensperger: The Politics of the German Gothic Revival (1993).  His research interests include  architectural theory; utopian and communal societies; and the nature of creativity.  In 2008 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the completion of City of Refuge: the Other Utopia, a study of millennial town planning.  Lewis was named Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art in 2008.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events occur after the Sunday morning worship service, but there is no expectation that you need attend the worship service in order to come to the second hour event. These events are held in Community Hall towards the back of the building, near the parking lot. Events usually start at 11:20 am. There is coffee before hand, starting about 11:00 am.

You do need not be affiliated with First Church to attend and participate in second hour events.

If you missed this fascinating talk, you can watch it below, thanks to our partners at Willinet!