New York Times / http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/31/obituaries/barbara-baer-capitman-69-dies-created-miami-art-deco-district.html?pagewanted=print&src=pm
Barbara Baer Capitman, 69, Dies; Created Miami Art Deco District
By JOAN COOK
Published: March 31, 1990
Barbara Baer Capitman, whose vision and persistence helped to turn a rundown area of Miami Beach into a vibrant Art Deco historic district, died of congestive heart failure on Thursday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. She was 69 years old and suffered from diabetes and heart tremors.
Ms. Capitman, who had lived in Miami since 1973, applied her talents to arouse renewed interest in 1920's and 1930's buildings throughout the country. Radio City Music Hall and the Chrysler Building are among the best examples of Art Deco.
''My whole life had been Art Deco,'' she once said. ''I was born at the beginning of the period and grew up during the height of it. It's a thing of fate.''
Headed a Preservation League
In 1976 she helped to found the Miami Design Preservation League, which in 1979 won Federal historic designation for the South Beach district of Miami Beach. Her outspoken, unorthodox manner later led to her ouster from the group.
''She would push and agitate and cause trouble until people wouldn't speak to her,'' said Michael Kinerk, chairman of the Art Deco Weekend festival. ''She was interested in results, not social sensitivities.''
The South Beach district is now on the National Register of Historic Places, the only 20th-century district on the register. That status brought Federal tax relief to what had been a depressed area. It is now enjoying an economic and cultural rebirth.
Chapters in Other Towns
Mrs. Capitman, president of the Art Deco Society of America, helped found chapters of the society in several cities, including New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She was the author of ''Deco Delights'' (1989; E. P. Dutton).
She was born in Chicago and attended New York University. She later wrote advertising copy and was a reporter for The Atlantic City Daily World, which has ceased publication.
Her husband, William Capitman, died in 1975. He was a market researcher and economist and in later years a teacher at Florida International University.
Mrs. Capitman leaves two sons, Andrew W., who lives in London, and John A., who lives in Cambridge, Mass., and four grandchildren.
Miami Design Preservation League
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
Miami Design Preservation League is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic, environmental and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District. Originally organized by Barbara Capitman and friends in 1976, it is the oldest Art Deco Society in the World.
MDPL provides cultural and educational programs to Dade County residents, surrounding counties, citizens of Florida and to national and international visitors and tourists. Our programs are developed for the general public and have special appeal to those interested in art, design, architecture, history, preservation, urban and community planning and development.
What we fight for / http://www.mdpl.org/about-us/about-miami-design-preservation-league/what-we-fight-for/
An advocacy program attempts to influence public policy and public actions in a direction consistent with a group’s mission. MDPL’s advocacy program is guided by its advocates’ aim to act consistently with MDPL’s mission statement:
Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic, environmental and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District and all other areas of the City of Miami Beach where historic preservation is a concern.
The MDPL Advocacy Committee suggests these priorities for MDPL advocacy activities:
Preserve and protect the historical and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural District, both of its individual buildings and of the district as a whole;
Support the historic preservation process put in place by the City of Miami Beach and the City’s enforcement of the outcomes of that process in any area “where historic preservation is a concern.”
Propose and support changes in the City’s historic preservation process and land use policies when necessary to carry out and fulfill the mission statement;
Propose and support changes in Florida and national policy when necessary to carry out and fulfill the mission statement;
Preserve and protect historical, architectural, and environmental resources in other areas of Miami Beach, especially when designated as local historic districts by the City of Miami Beach, but including any area “where historic preservation is a concern.”
Act to support residents and property owners, in current and potential historic districts, when citizens act to preserve, protect and promote the historic, architectural, cultural, social, economic, and environmental integrity of any area “where historic preservation is a concern.”