THIS volume is the first publication of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts to be issued since the death of Walter Muir Whitehill on March 5, 1978. Yet even though he is not here to see the book in finished form, it is still very much his volume. From the very beginning, the idea of holding conferences on various aspects of Colonial history and then publishing the papers given at those conferences was Walter’s. It is, therefore, most appropriate to present this volume to the Society and to the public in memory of him.

Walter was Editor of Publications for our Society from 1946 to 1978 and during that time saw to the publication of sixteen volumes of Transactions and Collections. One might suppose that he would have eased up during his last years as Editor, but nothing could be further from the truth, for the decade of the 1970’s has been the most productive one in the history of our Society. Walter always said that Colonial Society publications came in bunches, like bananas; certainly this was true in the 1970’s. During the years 1973, 1974, and 1975 seven volumes appeared—two conference volumes, two volumes of The Journals of Ashley Bowen, one volume of The Notebook of the Reverend John Fiske, and two volumes of Harvard College Records. Though the Society has published nothing since 1975, no less than ten projected volumes, all conceived by Walter, are in various stages of preparation. When these volumes appear and are added to those already published, the whole corpus will be striking evidence of Walter’s extraordinary productivity in his last years.

This volume, Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, is the fifty-first to be published by our Society. It contains seven of the eight papers delivered at the conference on Massachusetts Colonial architecture held on September 19–20, 1974, at the Society’s house at 87 Mount Vernon Street and at the Club of Odd Volumes. In addition to these papers the book contains as well two Appendices with abstracts of the history of important examples of early Colonial houses and transcriptions of seventeenth-century building documents. To plan the conference and to edit the volume of papers that it produced, the Society was fortunate in obtaining the services of our fellow-member Abbott Lowell Cummings, currently Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and the leading authority on the conference subject. Abbott Cummings’ productivity in the field of Colonial architecture is not limited to the present volume, however; this same year the Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press will publish his study entitled The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625–1725. Taken together, these two volumes represent a distillation of over thirty years of dedicated research in the field of Colonial architecture, starting with a Master’s thesis at Oberlin College in 1946 and continuing down to the present.

Our Corresponding Secretary, Sinclair Hamilton Hitchings, has also made important contributions to this volume. After his retirement from the Boston Athenæum, Walter Whitehill was free to travel frequently, both in this country and abroad. During his absences from Boston, he needed a deputy to carry on the editorial work of the Society. This function Sinclair Hitchings has performed with rare sensitivity to editorial problems. When it comes to awarding credits for the excellence of this publication, Sinclair deserves a generous share.

I know how proud Walter would have been of this volume. Let us hope that succeeding ones will maintain the high standard of editorial excellence that he set for our Society.

Frederick S. Allis, Jr.

Editor of Publications

87 Mount Vernon Street

Boston, Massachusetts

January 1979