Contact: Michael Tullier, APR, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
March 16 update: due to developments surrounding the coronavirus and the cancellation of on-campus events as a result of the outbeak, we are considering ways to bring Kaufmann's lecture to our social media platforms. Please stay tuned for an announcement on the matter.
On Wednesday, March 25, Thomas Kaufmann, author of the book “Historic Alabama Bells,” will share the story of Alabama’s historic tower clocks and bells — from Early Alabama, the Civil War and Civil Rights, including rare and highly significant tower treasures, largely unknown and hidden away in Alabama’s towers, domes, steeples and cupolas across the state.
His lecture, part of the Read Alabama 200 Speakers Bureau series, begins at 1:30 p.m. in 130 Willcox Building C — the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science’s Multipurpose Room.
Kaufmann, an architectural historian and preservationist, is the library supervisor for the school’s library. Prior to his appointment as library supervisor, he served on the school’s Architecture Department faculty and taught courses on architectural studio, architectural history and historic preservation.
He holds a bachelor’s of architecture degree from Auburn University and a certificate in classical architecture from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art in New York City — where he served as a Fellow Emeritus for several years.
His book, “Historic Alabama Bells,” published in 2019, is the fruit of seven years of climbing into attics, domes, towers and steeples to collect the stories behind some of the state’s most iconic and historic bells. These bells — some dormant, others pealing still — were forged by the Reveres in Boston.
These bells called Alabamians to worship, celebrated weddings and tolled at funerals. They sounded the death knell for countless parishioners during the havoc of the Civil War, watched over the Freedom Riders and shook from the blast of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. And while their clear tones have rung out in remembrance of so many of the state’s solemn and sacred moments, many of them have fallen into neglect, their silence serving as its own reminder of the urgent need for preservation.
Kaufmann’s lecture is presented by Read Alabama 200, Tuskegee University Library Services and the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science. For more information about the series and future speakers, visit https://alabama200.org/engage/discover/read-alabama-200/.
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