From 1947 to 1987, Dr. Bayrd Still served New York University (NYU) as historian, archivist, teacher, and administrator. An authority on urban history and urban development, Dr. Still's interests and commitments extended beyond his academic research and the university to involve landmark preservation in New York City.
Bayrd Still was born on July 7, 1906, in Woodstock, Illinois. He received bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin. Before assuming his professorship at NYU, Still taught at Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Wisconsin, and Duke University.
From 1947 to 1974 Dr. Still was a professor at NYU in the Department of History, for which he also served as chair from 1955-1970. In 1955 Still was appointed head of the undergraduate history department at University College as well as head of the graduate program of history. In 1957 he became head of the all-university Department of History and remained so until 1970. Additionally, he served as acting dean for both the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Arts and Science from 1958-1959, and again from 1959 to 1960. Throughout his teaching career, Still taught at both the University Heights campus and the Washington Square campus.
President James M. Hester established the Office of the Archivist in 1967, appointing Thomas C. Pollock as University Archivist, and Bayrd Still as Chair of the Advisory Committee on the History of New York University. The committee helped to write the NYU history. When Pollock resigned in 1969, Still declined the position of University Archivist, continuing instead as chair of the Advisory Committee. He played a key role in the founding of the University Archives project until 1975, when he became University Archivist.
Still was an authority on United States urban development and westward expansion. Courses he taught included "The History of the American City since 1820" and "The History of New York City." His publications include: Urban America: A History with Documents, Milwaukee, The History of a City, Mirror for Gotham: New York as Seen by Contemporaries from Dutch Days to the Present, and The West: Contemporary Records of America's Expansion Across the Continent, 1609-1890.
In 1961 Still served as supervisor for New York University graduate fellowships with the New York Community Trust. In 1962 Mayor Robert F. Wagner appointed Still to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a position he held until 1965. Still also served on the Mayor's Task Force on Municipal Archives in New York. In 1975 he became the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Brooklyn Rediscovery Project. He was a member of the New-York Historical Society, the American Studies Association, and the Society of American Historians. In the 1980s Still organized and conducted walking tours of NYU and Greenwich Village. Dr. Still died in Woodstock, Illinois, on November 19, 1992.
New York Community Trust, "The Heritage of New York". (New York: Fordham University Press): xviiiKald, Milt "Meeting The Guardian of NYU's Past." Washington Square News. (September 29, 1980): 3 Bayrd Still: vita