The 10 Most Compelling Historic Preservation Reads

From helpful guides to digging deeper.

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We started with a reading list in a previous blog post a few weeks ago with a couple of books about how to research the history of your older home. Today, we’ve put together a few more for you to take a look at if you’re interested in delving in to the world of historic preservation, honing your professional skills, or anything in between.

This list is certainly not comprehensive. In fact, we plan on growing it and would love to hear your recommendations for additions below in the comments. Head to your local or online bookstore to look for these and other related good reads on preservation. Happy reading!

To Get You Started:

1. Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice by Norman Tyler

2. Historic Preservation Technology: A Primer by Robert A. Young

Books to Help You Dig Deeper:

3. The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation by Steven W. Semes

4. Historic Preservation and the Livable City by Eric W. Allison and Lauren Peters

Putting Preservation into Practice:

5. Housekeeping for Historic Homes and House Museums by Melissa Heaver, edited by Byrd Wood (a National Trust publication)

6. A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century by Robert E. Stipe

Some Helpful Guides:

7. A Layperson’s Guide to Preservation Law: Federal, State, and Local Laws Governing Historic Resources by Julia Miller, edited by Byrd Wood (a National Trust publication)

8. What Style Is It?: A Guide to American Architecture by John C. Poppeliers and S. Allen Chambers

9. The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide by Donovan D. Rypkema

10. Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings by Jean Carroon

And for a little lighter reading:

From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story by Ron Tanner

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Some of you may remember the National Trust’s Preservation Books collection. While we are temporarily no longer selling these books through PreservationNation.org, but you can find a list of titles still available elsewhere on the Internet. There are so many helpful and comprehensive publications out there for both the historic preservation novice and professional. Please tell us in the comments about other preservation-related books you'd recommend!

This post originally appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Nation blog, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

  • Emily Rose is a copywriter at the National Trust. She enjoys writing about places of all kinds, the stories that make them special, and the people who love them enough to save them.