Mayor William Peduto honored Frank Toker on Friday, Sept. 28 with a proclamation citing his contributions to the city of Pittsburgh through his books, courses on Pittsburgh and lectures about the city throughout 44 years of teaching. Peduto also declared Sept. 28 to be “Franklin Toker Day in Pittsburgh.” Toker retired this summer from the University of Pittsburgh.
Toker, a native of Montreal, has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, master’s degree in history of art from Oberlin College and doctorate in history of art and architecture from Harvard University. He taught at Carnegie Mellon University from 1974 to 1980 and then at the University of Pittsburgh from 1980 to 2018, where he is now an emeritus professor. He lived and worked in Florence and Siena, Italy, from 1968 to 1974.
While in Florence he was the director of the excavation under the Cathedral of Florence (the Duomo). Toker and his wife, Ellen, moved to Pittsburgh in 1974. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Toker has published several books, most notably “Pittsburgh: A New Portrait” in 2009; “Fallingwater Rising” in 2003; and two volumes on “Florence: The Duomo Project.”
Toker won several prizes and awards during his career. He was named a Distinguished Professor of Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2017. Toker was a Guggenheim Fellow and won the Alice Davis Hitchcock prize from the Society of Architectural Historians for his book on “The Church of Notre Dame.”
He was the president of the Society of Architectural Historians in the late 1980s.