Sarah is an independent art historian and editor in Chicago. Her experience as a researcher and educator has focused on the connections between architecture and modernity since the industrial and scientific revolutions of the late-18th century. As an editor, she emphasizes academic and museum publications in the humanities.

Two of Sarah’s digital humanities projects can be viewed online right now. One is The Vanishing Porch in Perspective, a #MeToo/#TimesUp-inspired website she developed as a companion for an academic article she wrote about the Farnsworth House. The other is Afterimages, an online exhibition about the intersection of democratic free expression and historic preservation in Chile that Sarah developed in collaboration with Dr. Catherine Burdick.

Humanities Commons administrators highlighted both sites during their session at CAA’s 2018 annual conference (see slides 28 & 29 here for more details). You can also listen to Sarah talk about her project site design in this Platypus blog post: HC User Spotlight: Sarah M. Dreller.

Sarah is currently developing a second collaborative digital humanities project with Dr. Burdick that will present historical information about four Chilean national monument. Additionally, she also has two long-term hybrid traditional-digital humanities projects of her own in development. One will be an academic journal article with an online companion website entitled “The Space-Time of Sigfried Giedion’s Space, Time and Architecture.” This study will consider the ways in which Giedion represented or misrepresented theories of space-time and relativity for his own rhetorical purposes. Sarah’s other project, which she started recently, will investigate the role of women in NASA’s Art Program around the time of the moon landing.

She is a member of the Women Also Know History network. Here is her individual scholar page.

Sarah uses her humanistic practice to help demonstrate how modern art and architecture are relevant to contemporary life. Read more in this July 2017 interview by Design Feast.

Sarah taught art history and historic preservation courses at universities in Maryland and Illinois from 2004 until August 2017. Before that she was a historic preservation project manager in San Francisco. Sarah is a qualified Architectural Historian under the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards 36 CFR Appendix A to Part 61(c).

She has won awards for her research, teaching, and historic preservation work.

Sarah browses NASA mission images for fun and generally loves anything having to do with space—especially sci-fi films of all kinds. She is determined to attend Space Camp one day.


PhD – Department of Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago
MArchHist – Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
BA – International Affairs (history & economics), Florida State University

Editing Certificate – Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, University of Chicago
International Certificate of Spanish Language – Department of Philology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Additional Coursework
architectural design studio, design theory, and materials & methods – School of Architecture & Community Design, University of South Florida
studio art photography – School of Art & Art History, University of South Florida

Other Publications

Selected scholarship authored individually
Review of Building the Skyline: The Birth and Growth of Manhattan’s Skyscrapers, by Jason M. Barr. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 76, no.4 (December 2017): 562-64.

“Curtained Walls: Architectural Photography, the Farnsworth House and the Opaque Discourse of Transparency.” ARRIS: The Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians 26 (2015): 22-39.
— CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18089
— #MeToo/#TimesUp-inspired companion website: The Vanishing Porch in Perspective

Architectural Forum, 1932-64: A Time Inc. Experiment in American Architecture and Journalism,” Ph.D. diss. University of Illinois at Chicago, 2015. CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18087

“Henry R. Luce: The Personal and the Professional.” Review of The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century, by Alan Brinkley. Jhistory, H-Net Reviews. February, 2011. CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18097

“Architectural Photography.” In The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture Vol. 1, edited by R. Stephen Sennot, 59-61. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2004. http://bit.ly/2DOYv4r

“Bertram G. Goodhue’s ‘Alexandrian’ Style: The National Academy of Sciences Building, 1919-24,” Master’s thesis. University of Virginia, 1999.

[contact Sarah for complete list]

Selected preservation planning documents authored collaboratively
Primary author/architectural historian for “IBM/Hitachi Campus Historic Resource Evaluation” Vol 1 & 2. Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2003-04. http://careyco.com/projects/ibmhitachi-campus/

Primary author/architectural historian for award-winning “San Jose Japantown Historic Context and Reconnaissance Survey” Vol 1 & 2. Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2003-04. http://careyco.com/projects/japantown-san-jose/

Architectural historian for award-winning rehabilitation and adaptive reuse project, including a National Register of Historic Places nomination, a Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit application and a California Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program application. “Old Engine Co. No. 2.” Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2002-03. http://careyco.com/projects/460-bush-street/

Dreller, Sarah M. “West Grounds.” In “Evolution of the University of Virginia Grounds, 1917-31” University of Virginia Historic Cultural Landscape Survey. Office of the University Architect, Charlottesville: 1999.

Dreller, Sarah M., Fiona Robertson and Martha Teall. “Meriwether House, Keswick, Albemarle County, VA” (a.k.a. Cloverfields). Historic American Building Survey, Number: HABS VA-1358. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.: 1998. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/va1821/

[contact Sarah for complete list]


The Vanishing Porch in Perspective, a #MeToo/#TimesUp-inspired companion website for “Curtained Walls” hosted by Humanities Commons [launched February 2018, project role: author]

Afterimages, an online exhibition about the intersection of democratic free expression and historic preservation in Chile, hosted by Humanities Commons [launched November 2017, project role: digital humanities advising & editing]
— Sarah’s Platypus blog post about Afterimages

In Development
FONDEF Built Heritage Reference Collection, an online presentation of historical information about four Chilean national monuments, hosted by Humanities Commons [launch anticipated December 2018, project role: web site designer and editor]

“The Space-Time of Sigfried Giedion’s Space, Time and Architecture,” an academic journal article with an online companion website [project role: author]

Women and the NASA Art Program, c.1969 , a hybrid traditional-online research project [project role: author]

Sarah M. Dreller

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