Professor of Architectural History at Tufts University, expert on Boston architecture. In 1953, Floyd graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Art Studies. Four years later, she graduated from the University of New Mexico with a master’s degree in art history. In 1974, she earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. Soon after, Floyd became involved in historic preservation, attempting to prevent the destruction of several old buildings, often with the Boston Architectural Center. Floyd would often give walking tours of Boston. Additionally she would lead an annual tour of mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. She was critical to the preservation of Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham. Floyd was also one of the four founding members of Friends of Longfellow House. In 1977, Floyd began teaching at Tufts University, founding the architectural studies program. She primarily taught classes on American art and architectural history, with her most popular being on Boston and Cambridge architecture.
In 1981, Dean Frank Colcord of Tufts University appointed Floyd to the Campus Planning and Development Committee. Two years later, under this committee, Floyd began cataloging the buildings on campus to create an architectural inventory. From 1983 to 1987, Floyd served as the chair of the Fine Arts Department. During this time, she worked to establish the Tufts University Art Gallery.
In 1989, she published Architecture Education and Boston: Centennial Publication of the Boston Architectural Center, 1889-1989, cataloging her extensive research in the city of Boston. Five years later, Floyd wrote Architecture after Richardson: Regionalism before Modernism -- Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow in Boston and Pittsburgh. Floyd examines other critical American architects, Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow, in the architectural shaping of the United States. Published in 1997, her last work prior to her death was entitled Henry Hobson Richardson: A Genius for Architecture.
Floyd died of cancer on October 18, 1997 in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon her death, she passed on her extensive collection of photographic slides to Tufts University. Beginning in 2010, staff at the Tisch Library and the Visual Resources Manager in Art History cataloged and digitize these slides. Two years after her death, in honor of her many years at Tufts, the Department of Art and Art History created the Margaret Henderson Floyd Memorial Lecture. In 2006, the Architectural Studies Prize was established in her name.
- [dissertation:] A Terra Cotta Cornerstone for Copley Square: An Assessment of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by Sturgis and Brigham (1870-1976), in the Context of it English Technological and Stylistic Origins. Boston University, 1974;
- Harvard: An Architectural History. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1985;
- Architecture Education and Boston: Centennial Publication of the Boston Architectural Center, 1889-1989. Boston: Boston Architectural Center, 1989;
- Architecture after Richardson: Regionalism before Modernism -- Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow in Boston and Pittsburgh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994;
- Henry Hobson Richardson: A Genius for Architecture. New York: Monacelli, 1997.
- “About This Project.” The Margaret Henderson Floyd Slide Collection, Accessed July 19, 2020. https://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/metadataservices/mhf/about.html;
- “Architecture after Richardson.” University of Chicago Press. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/A/bo3643601.html;
- “Margaret Henderson Floyd.” Academic, Accessed July 19, 2020. https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/3969177;
- “Margaret Henderson Floyd Architectural Slide Collection, 1955 -- 1998” Tufts Digital Library, https://dl.tufts.edu/concern/eads/nk322q623/fa.