Architectural historian of the medieval and renaissance periods; Carnegie-mellon University professor, 1958-1993. Saalman was the son of Walter Guenter Saalman and Gertrude Robert (Saalman). As Jews in Nazi Germany, his family fled in 1938 to the United States to escape persecution. Saalman attended the City College (modern City College, City University of New York, CUNY) receiving his A. B. in 1949. He entered New York University where he met fellow student Jeanne Eloise Farr whom he married in1954. A 1952 seminar with Richard Krautheimer led to his interest in Brunelleschi. Saalman wrote his master's thesis in 1955, continuing for his Ph.D. He participated in the excavations at Santa Trinità, Florence, 1957-58, completing his dissertation in 1960 on that church under Krautheimer. Saalman published the findings of his Master's thesis in the Art Bulletin in 1958, which brought him worldwide attention as a scholar. Rudolf Wittkower commissioned Saalman to author the Zwemmer series monograph on Brunelleschi which appeared in three volumes (1970, 1981, 1993). He joined Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, in 1958 as professor of architectural history. In 1962 Saalman wrote the Medieval Architecture survey volume for the Braziller series on architecture. He was Kress fellow in Florence, for the 1964-65 year. His dissertation appeared in a revised form in 1965. He was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1968 and Harvard University, 1969. In 1970 he was named Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture. He continued to lectured in various German universities. In 1984 he was named a Guggenheim fellow. Saalman received the Alexander von Humboldt Prize in 1992. He was named professor emeritus at Carnegie-Mellon in 1993. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage after chairing the Alberti Symposium in Mantua in 1994 and died at his Squirrel Hill (Pennsylvania) home the following year. He is buried at Beth Olam Cemetery, Middletown, RI. Saalman's architectural history showed great insight. His Life of Brunelleschi combined contemporary Italian Renaissance biographies with detailed notes. Saalman saw Brunelleschi less of the founder of the renaissance architectural type, as Jacob Burckhardt had contended, but more as an architect on the cusp a period of innovation (Frommel). It was Alberti, according to Saalman, who was the innovator. Two of his monographs were selected for the Monographs on Archaeology and Fine Arts of the College Art Association.
[dissertation:] The Church of Santa Trinità in Florence. Ph.D., New York University, 1960, published under the same title, New York: Archaeological Institute of America/College Art Association 1965; Medieval Cities. New York: Braziller, 1968; The Bigallo: The Oratory and Residence of the Compagnia del Bigallo e della Misoricordia in Florence. New York: Archaeological Institute of America/ and College Art Association, 1969; Edited, Manetti, Antonio. The Life of Brunelleschi by Antonio Manetti. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1970; Haussmann: Paris Transformed. New York: Braziller, 1971; Filippo Brunelleschi: The Cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore. London: Zwemmer, 1980; Filippo Brunelleschi: The Buildings. London: Zwemmer, 1993; The Transformation of Buildings and the City in the Renaissance, 1300-1500: A Graphic Introduction. Champlain, NY: Astrion Publishing, 1996.
"Howard Saalman, 'Brilliant' Professor had Passion for Life." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 21, 1995, p. D4; "Howard Saalman, Art Historian, 67." New York Times (October 24, 1995): B8; Frommel, Christoph L. "Howard Saalman (1928-1995)." The Burlington Magazine 138, no. 1116 (March 1996): 192-193.