The first woman to serve in a leadership position on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel is a preservationist and advocate for the arts, and the author of twenty books, media programs, and numerous articles on the arts, architecture, design, and public policy. She received a doctorate from New York University in 1963 and became a staff assistant at the White House involved in the development of the White House Fellows and Presidential Scholars Programs. In 1966, Diamonstein-Spielvogel became the first director of cultural affairs for the City of New York, a position she held for five years, followed by fifteen years on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (1972–87) and eight years as chairman of the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation (1987–95). She was also a founding board member of the New York Landmarks Conservancy and chairman of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center. She is a member of the New York State Council on the Arts and an advisor on public art and architecture to the New York Port Authority at the World Trade Center. She has taught at Hunter College, the New School-Parsons School of Design, and Duke University. Diamonstein-Spielvogel is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and has received honorary degrees from the Maryland Institute of Art and Baltimore College of Art. Her papers are in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University.