Catherine W. Zipf

Upcoming Events

Please contact me if you are interested in having me participate in your upcoming event.
I can be reached at Twitter and LinkedIn.

January 26, 2022
Mapping the Historic Green Books: The African American Travelers' Guide
UVA Lifetime Learning, online event, 3pm

Along with fellow panelists Dean of the School of Architecture Malo A. Hudson, Vice Provost Louis Nelson, and UVA student Olivia Pettee, Zipf will participate in an afternoon of conversation on her project to document and map Green Book sites across the country. Free and open to the public, but reservations are required.


Past Events 2021

March 17, 2021
D.C.'s Midcentury Master: Chloethiel Woodard Smith and the Livable City
National Building Museum, online event, 6:30pm

Zipf joins fellow panelists Neil Flanagan and Peter Sefton to discuss the career and legacy of modernist architect and urban planner Chloethiel Woodard Smith. Smith was the sixth woman inaugurated into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. At the peak of her practice, she led the country's largest woman-owned architecture firm. Open to the public, tickets required.

February 22, 2021
African-American Travel Guides: Listings from The Negro Motorist Green Book
East Greenwich Historical Society, online event, 7:30pm

The Negro Motorist Green Book contained 24 listings for Rhode Island. Zipf discusses several of those listings and their history to reveal what they tell us about Rhode Island's pre-Civil Rights era. Free and open to the public, please register to receive the login information.


Past Events 2020

February 26, 2020
African-American Travel: Listings from The Negro Motorist Green Book in Newport, RI
Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

During the pre-Civil Rights era, The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled African-Americans to travel safely through segregated towns by providing them with information on where they could eat, stay, and vacation. Zipf will identify and discuss Newport's Green Book sites with an eye towards helping us better understand how African-Americans overcame the legacy of slavery. Free and open to the public.

February 22, 2020
Green Book Film Screening and Discussion
Cranston Public Library, Cranston, RI

Zipf joins Ray Rickman, Executive Director of Stages of Freedom, for a discussion of the history behind the award-winning film, Green Book. Free and open to the public, registration is required.

February 12-15, 2020
Surveys, Seminars, and Starchitects: Gender Studies and Architectural History Pedagogy in American Architectural Education
The College Art Association Annual Conference, 2020, Chicago, IL

As part of a panel entitled "Women in a World Designed by Men", Zipf surveys the range of approaches to teaching gender and the built environment, and assesses the success or failure of current pedagogical strategies. She also addresses the extent to which architectural educational fosters a male-biased view of architectural history, reinforcing the designed-in sexism of the field. Conference registration required.


Past Events 2019

October 24-26, 2019
Finding Hope in 'New Hope': The Diary of a Cuban Plantation
Architectures of Slavery: Ruins and Reconstructions, Charleston, SC

In 1825, the failure of George DeWolf's Cuban sugar crop brought down just about the entire economy of DeWolf's hometown, Bristol, RI. Ten years later, in 1832, as part of a multi-year effort to recover the family fortune, descendants James and Mark Antony DeWolf purchased 200 acres of land in Cuba and hired James's nephew, George Howe, to supervise the construction of the new plantation. Join Zipf for a lively discussion of the relationship between slave-operated plantations in Cuba and their home community of Bristol, RI. Conference registration required.

June 18, 2019
African-American Travel: Listings from The Negro Motorist Green Book in Newport, RI
Crosspoint Church, 14 Rhode Island Ave., Newport, RI

The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled African-Americans to travel during the pre-Civil Rights era by offering information on safe places to eat, stay, and vacation. Zipf will identify and discuss Newport's Green Book sites with an eye towards augmenting our understanding of how African-Americans overcame the legacy of slavery. Free and open to the public.

April 24-28, 2019
Port City Judaism: Design Philosophies and the Woman's Balcony at Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI
72nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Providence, RI

In Touro Synagogue, two design philosophies, Neo-Palladianism and Neo-Solomonic planning, converge in the design of the Woman's Balcony. Zipf examines this convergence and situates Touro Synagogue in a transnational dialogue about New World Judaism. Conference registration required.

April 24-28, 2019
Before Antoinette: African-American Travel Guide Sites Along Benefit St.
72nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Providence, RI

Pre-Civil Rights-era travel guides like The Negro Motorist Green Book directed African-American motorists to garages, beauty parlors, hotels, restaurants, and drug stores that would serve their needs. On Providence's Benefit Street, many Green Book sites survive to tell a tale of resistance and survival in an age dominated by racial discrimination. This tour explores sites belonging to this segregated cultural landscape, both extant and demolished, within the context of Benefit Street's notable preservation history. Conference registration required.

April 24-28, 2019
Bristol's Architectural Legacy
72nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Providence, RI

Under the patronage of the slave-trading DeWolf family, Bristol quickly rebuilt itself after the American Revolution in glorious Greek and Gothic Revival styles. Its cosmopolitan attitudes are evident in the many high-style structures that still stand in this historic seaport. After the DeWolf family declared bankruptcy, Bristol regrouped under the leadership of the Herreshoff family, whose boat building business drove Bristol's Victorian and resort era. This tour investigates the history of Bristol's architectural legacy with a special focus on its 19th-century structures. Conference registration required.

March 13-16, 2019
The Ephemeral Landscape of African-American Travel: Documenting Sites Listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book
Preserving the Recent Past 3, Los Angeles, CA

Zipf discusses the challenges in researching sites that were listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book, offering tips for recording data, sharing information, and creating a final output. Most importantly, Zipf provides strategies for how to document places that were never documented in the first place. Conference registration required.


Past Events 2018

October 18-21, 2018
"You Will Find it Handy": Rhode Island's African-American Travel Guide Sites
2018 Urban History Association Conference, Columbia, SC

As the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island has relatively few listings in African-American travel guides like The Green Book. Zipf presents her extensive research on these sites and sets them in context with trends in other nearby states. Conference registration required.

September 27, 2018
"You Will Find it Handy": Rhode Island's Listings in The Negro Motorist Green Book
Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, RI

The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled African-Americans to travel during the pre-Civil Rights era by offering information on safe places to eat, stay, and vacation. Zipf will identify and discuss Providence's Green Book sites with an eye towards complicating our understanding of Providence's twentieth-century history. Free; registration required.

September 29, 2018
"You Will Find it Handy" Walking Tour
Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, RI

Join Zipf for an on-site exploration of sites in Providence that were listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book. Tour fee and registration required.

June 20, 2018
How Do You Create an Archive When There Wasn't One Before?
A Helping History & Heritage Happen Event, sponsored by the Rhode Island Historical Society and hosted by the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, RI

Join Catherine Zipf, Executive Director of the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, for a discussion of the practicalities of archiving a collection from beginning to end. Zipf will discuss how to operate on a budget, where to find experienced personnel and expertise, and what pitfalls might arise during the whole process. A tour of the BH&PS collections will follow the talk.

June 4, 2018
From St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City to Seven Oaks in Bristol, Rhode Island: James Renwick, Jr., and the Gothic Revival
Bristol Statehouse, Bristol, RI

Seven Oaks, Bristol's elegant Gothic Revival Style mansion designed by NYC architect James Renwick, was built for Augustus O. Bourn, founder of Bristol's National Rubber Company and the 36th Governor of Rhode Island. Zipf discusses the history of this notable structure with reference to Renwick's nationally-significant designs. Free and open to the public.

April 5, 2018
"The Doctor is IN": Gender and Feminism in the Work of Charles M. Schulz
Women, Feminism, and Art History: SUNY New Paltz Annual Symposium

Lucy Van Pelt's psychiatric booth functions in opposition to traditional gendered spaces, which reinforce male privilege. Instead, the booth allows Lucy to break gender barriers, permitting her to "play" psychiatrist, doctor, entrepreneur, and judge at a time when women faced barriers to all these professions. Zipf examines these ideas with an eye towards understanding the intersection of space and feminism in the work of Charles M. Schulz. Symposium registration required.

April 26-29, 2018
Roundtable Discussion: Public History and African American Automobility: Researching The Negro Motorist Green Books
Annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History, Las Vegas, NV

The Green Book exemplifies how a marginalized community created and used a powerful network of shared knowledge against the forces of segregation. Zipf joins a panel of scholars who have studied The Green Book and other African-American travel guides to compare their findings and methods, and to consider whether The Green Book can and should be used as a source of historical data. Conference registration required.


Past Events 2017

October 26-29, 2017
Roundtable Discussion: "You Will Find it Handy": Researching African-American Travel Sites
The 17th National Conference on Planning History (SACRPH), Cleveland, OH

Zipf leads a roundtable discussion with noted scholars from around the country who have been researching sites listed in The Green Book. The panel will share knowledge and discuss strategies that have worked (or not worked) in order to facilitate the process of researching these important sites in African-American history. Conference registration required.

October 26-29, 2017
"The Living City": Women, Feminism, and Gender in Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City
The 17th National Conference on Planning History (SACRPH), Cleveland, OH

Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City project argued for a new type of city, where decentralization would guarantee a person's right to individuality. While Wright's ideas were in no way a feminist manifesto, his plan had considerable impact on women and how they should live. Zipf explores the implications of Wright's theories in closer detail. Conference registration required.

October 20-22, 2017
"To the Best of Her Ability": Literature, Feminism, and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Western New York
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Buffalo School of Arts & Crafts, Buffalo, NY

The relationship between the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Women's Right's Movement was particularly strong in Western New York, where women already active in the women's rights agenda found new opportunities within the Arts and Crafts Movement to advance their cause. Zipf will present the history of Alice Hubbard, Adelaide Alsop Robineau, and Irene Sargent as a way of exploring the relationship between these two movements. Conference registration required.

June 6-9, 2017
The Nantucket Preservation Symposium: Architecture, Interiors, Historic Landscapes
Nantucket Preservation Trust, Nantucket, MA

Nantucket contains one of the finest collections of American architecture dating to the Federal and Greek Revival periods. As part of a panel of national experts, Zipf will speak on the significance of trends evident in Nantucket's surviving architectural fabric. Conference registration required.

May 31-June 3, 2017
"You Will Find it Handy": African-American Automobile Travel Guides, 1935-1963
Vernacular Architecture Forum, Salt Lake City, UT

The Green Book and other travel guides made vacationing safe for African Americans during the 20th century, but researching these sites has its challenges. This combination poster session and paper presentation explores the history of these guides and what is learned through such research. Conference registration required.

May 18, 2017
"You Will Find it Handy": Researching African-American Travel Guide Sites in CT and RI"
CT Preservation Conference 2017, Preservation in a Changing Environment, UConn Storrs Campus, Storrs, CT

Many African-American historical sites, particularly those that testify to mid-century African-American leisure and travel history, have been lost to highway and urban redevelopment. Speaking on behalf of a community of scholars investigating these sites, Zipf discusses recent efforts to document these sites in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Conference registration required.

March 25, 2017
"You Will Find it Handy": Researching African-American Automobile Travel Guides and Their Sites
Northeast Chapter of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Sturbridge, MA

Researching African-American architectural history has unique challenges. Speaking on behalf of a community of scholars investigating The Green Book's listings, Zipf will discuss her efforts to document sites in Rhode Island that were included in African-American travel guides. Open to the public; conference registration required.

March 23, 2017
"You Will Find it Handy": Twentieth-Century African-American Travel Guides to Newport
Newport Historical Society, Newport, RI

Published widely during the pre-Civil Rights era, travel guides like The Green Book helped African-American motorists find garages, barbers, beauty parlors, hotels and guest houses, tailors, restaurants, and drug stores who would serve their needs. In this lecture, Zipf explores the history of African-American travel sites in Newport, RI. Open to the public; registration required.


Past Events 2016

October 16, 2016
The Buildings of Mount Hope Farm
Mount Hope Farm, Bristol, RI

Who were Nathanial Byfield, Isaac Royall, William Bradford, Samuel W. Church, and the Haffenreffers? Join Zipf on a walking tour of Mount Hope Farm's beautiful seventeenth and eighteenth-century structures to find out. Free and open to the public, registration required.

September 29 - October 1, 2016
"You Will Find it Handy": African American Automobile Travel Guides, 1935-1963
Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, New Orleans, LA

The Green Book and other travel guides made vacationing safe for African Americans during the 20th century. This poster presentation, co-authored with Anne Bruder and Susan Allen, explores the history of these guides in Rhode Island, Maryland, and Mississippi. Conference registration required.

April 30, 2016
A Classroom the Size of Rhode Island: Recent University Projects
Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, North Kingstown and Exeter, RI

From investigating Newport's 18th-century heritage to re-envisioning Prescott Farm, Roger Williams University's historic preservation students have had a very busy year! Join Zipf as she moderates a panel discussion on the latest university research in RI. Conference registration required.

February 25-27, 2016
Re/Making Queen Anne Square: Doris Duke, Maya Lin, and the Politics of Urban Space in Newport, RI
Suffragette City: Gender, Politics, and the Built Environment, College of Charleston, SC

Between 2011 and 2013, the town of Newport, RI, erupted in controversy over a plan to redesign a local park. Zipf presents the history of this space, its two female designers, and the politics they encountered in their work. Conference registration required.

January 28, 2016
Researching Your Historic Home
Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

Join Dr. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer and Dr. Catherine Zipf as they discuss their recent successful investigations of the histories of historic Newport properties. Five RWU students will discuss their semester-long projects with emphasis on the resources that were most helpful to them in their research. Free and open to the public.


Past Events 2015

December 8, 2015
What's New in Newport's History?
Rough Point, Newport, RI

Join Catherine W. Zipf, Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, and their students from Roger Williams University for an open house presentation of their research on Newport's Colonial-era history and architecture. Free and open to the public.

December 6, 2015
Bristol Past and Present
Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI

Panelists Catherine W. Zipf, Stephan Brigidi, and Kevin Jordan will discuss recent changes to the landscape of Bristol, RI. Free and open to the public.

November 13, 2015
Placemaking in the 21st Century: The Queen Anne Square Controversy in Newport, RI
Mutual Influence: Presentations by Faculty and Students, School of Art, Architecture, and Historic Preservation, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Why all the fuss about Queen Anne Square? Zipf deconstructs and analyzes the controversy surrounding the redesign of this small public space in Newport, RI. Free to the university community.

November 5-8, 2015
Newport, RI,'s Queen Anne Square Controversy: History, Gender, and Urban Design in the 21st Century
The 16th National Conference on Planning History (SACRPH), Los Angeles, CA

In 2011, the Newport Restoration Foundation hired Maya Lin to redesign Queen Anne Square in Newport, RI. Zipf examines the dynamics of this surprisingly controversial decision and its implications for gender equity. Conference registration required.

April 25, 2015
Modern Living in the Woods (tour and talk)
Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, Gloucester, RI

Prefabricated houses nestled in the woods of Gloucester and Scituate show how Modern architecture can be altered without diminishing the original character. This tour will visit two houses from ca. 1960. Conference registration required.

April 15, 2015
Modern Architecture in Barrington and Beyond
Barrington Preservation Society, Barrington, RI

Modern architecture left its mark on the East Bay in ways that are often overlooked or ignored. Zipf explores the movement's impact through the history of local Modern landmarks and their architects. Free and open to the public.

April 3-4, 2015
Feminism and Architecture: Women, Architecture, and Academia
Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY

Decades after the radical feminist movement, women are still marginalized in architectural history curriculums. This talk examines the challenges involved in resolving this problem and offers suggestions for change. Free, registration required.

January 25, 2015
Not Everything in Rhode Island is Old: Bristol's Modern Heritage
Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, RI

Learn more about the impact of Modern architecture on small towns like Bristol, RI. The talk will feature works by notable architects Norman Herreshoff and Philemon Sturges. Open to the public, lunch fee.


Past Events 2014

April 26, 2014
Preserving Rhode Island's Modernist Heritage (roundtable discussion)
Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, Warren, RI

Modern architecture is omnipresent in Rhode Island, even in its religious architecture. This roundtable discussion will explore ways to foster the continued preservation of RI's modern heritage. Conference registration required.

April 8-11, 2014
Becoming 'Ochre Point': The Origins of a Gendered Landscape in Newport, RI
Vernacular Architecture Forum, Stockton, NJ

The Ochre Point neighborhood in Newport, RI, offers an opportunity to discover how gendered landscapes were created. This paper examines trends in land ownership, building construction, and occupation through the lens of gender. Conference registration required.

March 26, 2014
Saving Longfield, Again
Bristol Rotary Club, Bristol, RI

A key landmark in Bristol, the Gibson House, is falling into ruin. Zipf discusses the situation and offers suggestions for where to go next. Rotary membership required.

March 15, 2014
Mapping Colonial Newport: The Challenges and Triumphs of Digital Research
Northeast Chapter of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Sturbridge, MA

Digital research projects are not all that they seem. This talk explores the highs and lows of Zipf's effort to map Colonial Newport. Conference registration required.

February 1, 2014
Beyond Newcomb: Women and Art Pottery Across America
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Newcomb College benefitted from earlier efforts by women in the American art pottery movement. This talk examines how those influences both converged and diverged within the college's pottery program. Free and open to the public.


Past Events 2013

October 3-6, 2013
Becoming 'Ochre Point': The Origins of a Gendered Landscape in Newport, RI
Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Toronto, ON

How do we recognize gendered landscapes? How are they formed? This paper explores the history of the Ochre Point neighborhood in Newport, RI, to find out. Conference registration required.

September 26-28, 2013
Topics in Preserving Mid-Century Architecture (session leader)
Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, Charlotte, NC

Current research on the preservation of mid-century buildings reveals several interesting trends. Zipf moderates three presentations that explore this vital topic. Conference registration required.


Past Events 2012

October 27, 2012
Kay/Catherine's Patronesses: A Walking Tour of Women and Newport Architecture
Newport Historical Society, Newport, RI

Many women, like Grace Rives and the Lieber sisters, built architecturally interesting homes in the Kay/Catherine neighborhood of Newport, RI. This tour rediscovers their history by examining these extraordinary structures firsthand. Open to the public, registration and fee required.

October 22, 2012
Making a Home of Her Own: Newport's Architectural Patronesses, 1850-1940 (reprise)
Barrington Preservation Society, Barrington, RI

More than 150 women built a home in Newport, RI, during the nineteenth century. In this talk, Zipf explores their remarkable history and demonstrates how their work led to the rise of the Gilded Age. Free and open to the public.

October 12-13, 2012
Virtual Colonial Landscapes: Reconstructing Newport's Urban Community in GIS
New England American Studies Association, Providence, RI

Modern mapping technology offers the possibility of re-creating landscapes long gone today. This talk explores how this technology has helped and hindered the development of a virtual landscape for Colonial Newport, RI. Conference registration required.

September 24, 2012
Making a Home of Her Own: Newport's Architectural Patronesses, 1850-1940
Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, RI

More than 150 women built a home in Newport, RI, during the nineteenth century. In this talk, Zipf explores their remarkable history and demonstrates how their work led to the rise of the Gilded Age. Free and open to the public.