University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History


Emeriti Faculty - Chester H. Liebs

Chester H. Liebs, Professor Emeritus of History

Area of expertise

Historic Preservation, International Heritage Education, Cultural Landscape History (U.S. and Japan), Bicycle Use and Compact Cities, Industrial Archeology, Commercial Archeology, Landscape Photography, International Exchanges

Contact Information

Email: Chester Liebs

Chester H. Liebs, landscape historian, preservationist, and international heritage educator, received a BA in History from the City College of New York (1968) and an MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University (1977). He began teaching part time at UVM in 1972 while serving as Assistant Director of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and became a full-time faculty member and founding Director of the Department’s Historic Preservation Program in 1975, and Professor Emeritus in 1996.  Recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships to Japan (1994-95 and 2006-07), Liebs has also served as Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of the Arts, and Columbia University, and Adjunct Professor and George Pearl  Fellow  in the University of New Mexico’s Graduate Certificate Program in Historic Preservation and Regionalism. A National Trust for Historic Preservation Advisor Emeritus, Vermont Public Radio Commentator, co-founder and past president of the Society for Industrial Archeology and the Society for Commercial Archeology, and former board member of US/ICOMOS, the Vermont Humanities Council, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, he continues to consult and lecture nationally and internationally on conserving historic towns and cities, heritage corridors, and intangible cultural heritage. Among his works are Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture (1985, 1995), and Secrets of Japanese Cities the World Admires (published in Japanese, 2011). He was also a major contributor to The Buildings of Vermont (Glen Andres, Curtis Johnson, 2014; the Society of Architectural Historian’s national guidebook series).  Recognition for Liebs’ work includes a National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award (1996), the National Council for Preservation Education’s James Marston Fitch Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), and awards from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Vermont Council on the Arts, and the Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud FoundationHis photographs documenting the American cultural landscape will be part of the exhibit “Notes sur l'asphalte: Esquisse d'une Amérique mobile et précaire” debuting in Montpellier, France in 2017.


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