Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2009 Preservation Award Winners
Anne Andrus Grady
Anne Andrus Grady

Individual Lifetime Achievement

Anne Andrus Grady has been a remarkably influential figure in historic preservation in Massachusetts for the past 30 years. One of the first graduates of Boston University’s Preservation Studies program, she has authored historic resource surveys, National Register and National Historic Landmark nominations, and in-depth historic structures reports for many of the state’s most prominent buildings. In total, she has studied and advised on the preservation of more than 100 buildings, among them such well-known landmarks such as Boston’s Old South Meeting House, the Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington, the Gropius House in Lincoln, and the Spencer-Peirce-Little House in Newbury.

Before her career in preservation, Ms. Grady worked as a medical laboratory technician, a background that may explain the scientific bent of her approach to preservation. Arguably her greatest achievement to date has been in the field of dendrochronology. Although it has long been known as a means of accurately dating historic structures, for various reasons dendrochronology had not been practiced successfully in New England. In coordinating the establishment of the New England Dendrochronology Working Group, and in securing expertise and funding, Ms. Grady was instrumental to the success of the breakthrough project that established tree-ring dating as a viable research tool in Massachusetts in 2001. Since then, working closely with expert dendrochronologists from this country and abroad, Ms. Grady has led projects that have confirmed, revised, or newly determined the dates of construction of more than 50 buildings at last count, including many of the earliest buildings in Massachusetts. She has continued to promote tree-ring dating through her research, presentations and publications, and was co-organizer of a Historic Deerfield symposium on the subject in 2005.

Ms. Grady has been affiliated with a number of preservation organizations. In addition to her work as an independent consultant, she worked for nearly a decade as an architectural research historian on the staff of SPNEA. She has served on the board and as an officer of the New England Chapter of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. She spent most of her term on the Lexington Historical Commission as its chair. She is also a past commissioner of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, on which she served as the representative of the Society of Architectural Historians. And since 1998 she has been an elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Her invaluable contributions to historic preservation in Massachusetts make her a most deserving recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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