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Jill Lever.

Jill Lever (1935–2017)

British architectural librarian and curator Jill Lever died on November 22, Alan Powers of The Guardian reports. She was eighty-two years old. Through her work on the first printed catalogue of the drawings collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Lever is credited with changing the way that architecture is studied and interpreted in Britain and abroad.

Born on October 9, 1935, in Brighton, East Sussex, Lever began her studies at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament in 1952 and later trained as a librarian in the public library in Brighton, where she met architecture student Jeremy Lever, whom she married in 1957. Lever worked as a librarian for several architectural practices, including Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis, before joining the RIBA library in the early 1960s. Her appointment coincided with the library’s hiring of its inaugural curator of drawings, John Harris. In 1978, Lever received a fellowship to study the storage, cataloguing, and conservation of architectural drawings in the United States, and, in 1979, she helped establish the International Confederation of Architectural Museums.

Following the completion of the catalogues, twenty volumes in all, Lever was awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain in 1984. She also penned numerous scholarly works, including the Illustrated Glossary of Architecture 850¬–1830 (1966), in collaboration with Harris, and Architects’ Designs for Furniture (1982). When Harris resigned from his post in 1987, Lever was named curator and went on to organize a successful exhibition program. Lever retired in 1995 but continued her cataloguing work at the Soane Museum in London and became an interviewer for an oral history project at the British Library.

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