Turpin C. Bannister was born on October 1, 1904. Bannister was a 1923 initiate of the
Turpin C. Bannister was born on October 1, 1904.
Bannister was a 1923 initiate of the Nu Chapter at Denison University. During his early twenties, in 1926, he served on the National Ritual Revision Committee alongside Peter W. Dykema, Charles E. Lutton, and Rollin Pease. These men sought to re-center the organization on the ideals set forth by its Founder, Ossian E. Mills.
Alongside his significant contributions to the 1926 ritual revision, Brother Bannister was renowned in the world of architectural historians. During his tenure as an instructor and historian at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he was instrumental in the formation of a professional organization of architectural historians. At the 1938 Harvard Summer Session, a group of scholars, including Bannister, would launch the conversation that would lead to the organization of The American Society of Architectural Historians in 1940. Bannister served as its first president and editor of the society’s professional journal.
In 1944, Bannister would earn his doctorate from Harvard’s School of Architecture. He produced several books and publications over his lifetime, many focusing on the concept, evolution, and significance of architecture throughout human history. Bannister contributed much to the world’s knowledge of architecture and was awarded the American Institute of Architect’s Kemper Award in 1955. He also held several advisory posts on scholarly boards across the nation. These included The Medieval Academy, The National Park Service, The Historic American Buildings Survey, and The New York Historical Association.
With his early and careful guidance, Turpin Bannister shaped a brand-new profession that is carried on by generations of historians today. His legacy is one of “a kinetic yet gentle individual, a seeker of new knowledge in uncharted fields, an inspired and witty conversationalist and lecturer, and a perfectionist tolerant of the many imperfections of others.”
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