Huyler C. Held was a co-founder of the Preservation League of New York State and was the head trustee of the Gerry Charitable Trust, which funds preservation-related projects.
Huyler C. Held was a trust and estates lawyer who served on numerous charitable boards and was an important figure in the preservation movement in New York. Held was born on April 13, 1925, to a well-off Long Island family.1 His father, also a lawyer, was an avid collector of early Americana and once served as president of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, a role that his son would also hold in the 1970s. As a child, Huyler accompanied his father on weekend antique hunts. Educated at the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, Held served in the U. S. Naval Reserve and received his law degree from Columbia University.2
Held practiced law until his death at a succession of New York City law firms. As an estate lawyer, he had many long-term clients and helped establish numerous charitable funds. He also lent his legal expertise to the many charitable organizations he served.
Remembered as a witty, cosmopolitan, and exacting board member, Held served on the boards of churches, charities, conservancies, and related organizations throughout the state. Among the boards on which he served are the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Fountain House, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, the Nature Conservancy of New York State, the New York Botanical Garden, the Preservation League of New York State, St. James’ Church, New York State Archives Partnership Trust, the John Merck Fund, Eppley Foundation for Research, and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts.
Held passed away on April 16, 2012, in his home in New York City.
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities
Preservation League of New York State
Trustee Council Member
Gerry Charitable Trust
Held maintained residences both on the Upper East Side of New York City and on Long Island and was concerned with the preservation of historic architecture statewide. In 1974, Held was among the co-founders of the Preservation League of New York State, the principal statewide preservation organization. He served the League as a trustee for many years and then as a trustee council member until his death. Held was also past president of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. In this role, he devised a program to acquire, restore, and sell historic houses with deed restrictions to ensure their continued preservation.3 He also helped build the Society’s collection of historic photographs.
After the death of Roger Gerry, a noted preservationist in his own right, Held was named the head trustee of the Gerry Charitable Trust. Under Held’s leadership, the Trust funded numerous preservation projects in New York City and throughout the state. Among the beneficiaries were Preservation Vision NYC, which brought together many of the City’s preservation leaders to chart the future of the movement; the Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture’s endangered sites database; the Historic House Trust; the Brooklyn Historical Society; and exhibitions of period décor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York.
Held was also concerned with preserving memories and archives. As head trustee of the Gerry Charitable Trust, Held asked longtime Roslyn resident and preservationist Ellen Fletcher Russell to write a book, Roslyn Restored, that recorded for posterity the campaign led by Roger Gerry and Peggy Gerry to preserve the historic homes of the Village of Roslyn, New York.4 Held’s efforts also ensured the acquisition of historical photo archives by the Long Island Society for the Preservation of Antiquities.5 He also served as a board member of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.
- “Huyler C. Held,” New York Times, 18 April 2012 New York Times. Article retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Fountain House, “In Memory of Huyler C. Held (1925-2012),” 19 April 2012 Fountain House: Inspiring Communities for Mental Health. Article retrieved 9 March 2016.
- The New York Community Trust, Huyler Clark Held: 1925 - 2012: Founder of the Huyler C. Held Memorial Fund, Which Supports Cultural Institutions in New York City (New York: The New York Community Trust, May 2013) The New York Community Trust. Brochure retrieved 9 March 2016.
- The New York Community Trust, Huyler Clark Held: 1925 – 2012: Founder of the Huyler C. Held Memorial Fund, Which Supports Cultural Institutions in New York City (New York: The New York Community Trust, May 2013) The New York Community Trust. Brochure retrieved 9 March 2016
- “Huyler C. Held,” New York Times, 18 April 2012. The New York Times. Article retrieved 9 March 2016
- David C. Berliner, “Antiquities Society Hopes to Sell Restored 1695 House for $75,000,” The New York Times, 4 December 1977.
- Joe Scotchie, “How Roslyn Restoration Got Started: Book Examines the Gerry Legacy,” The Roslyn News, October 8, 2004
- “New Exhibit: Long Island at Work and Play,” New York History Blog, 19 December 2012 NewYorkHistoryBlog.org. Article retrieved 9 March 2016