The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Learning Resources


The print resources in this bibliography rely in part on the “Bibliographical Essay” in Carl Smith’s, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006) and from “Planning Chicago” by Carl Abbott, an interpretive essay in the Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). The print resources were compiled by Rachel Bohlmann, The Newberry Library.  To access reading lists prepared for younger readers by the Chicago Public Library and Chicago public schools click here.

The Plan Itself

1909 Plan of Chicago

The visionary Plan of Chicago creates pictures of a City Beautiful, calls upon civic character to realize the goal, and characterizes Chicagoans as a people who can and will act in the best public interest to realize the vision. [Plan of Chicago]

Print: Burnham, Daniel H. and Edward H. Bennett. The Plan of Chicago. Chicago: Commercial Club, 1909.

Only 1,650 copies were printed but two excellent, fully illustrated facsimile editions exist, the first was published by De Capo Press (New York, 1970), the second by Princeton Architectural Press (New York, 1993).

Encyclopedia of Chicago: Plan of Chicago

Brief overview with a link to the complete digitized version of the Plan of Chicago. [Burnham Plan Overview]

Encyclopedia of Chicago: Plan of Chicago Interpretive Essay

This interpretive digital essay analyzes the Plan and its place in the evolution of Chicago's built environment, written by Carl Smith, Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. [Plan of Chicago: Interpretive Essay]

Chicago’s Greatest Issue, An Official Plan

Printed and distributed in 1911 by the Chicago Plan Commission, this pamphlet was one of many tools used to promote the Plan to the general public. [Chicago’s Greatest Issue]

The Wacker Manual

Compiled by Walter D. Moody, Wacker's Manual of the Plan of Chicago was written to educate children about their role "in creating the greater Chicago of the future." [Wacker’s Manual of the Plan of Chicago]

Print: Moody, Walter Dwight. Wacker’s Manual of the Plan of Chicago: Municipal Economy. Chicago: W.D. Moody, 1912.

While this text, published by the Chicago Plan Commission for use in public schools, is long out of print, copies of the 1912 and other editions can be found in libraries and used bookstores.

People Who Created the Plan

Print: The papers of Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett are in the Ryerson and Burnham Archives of the Art Institute of Chicago. These papers pertain to the careers and lives of both men, and they contain an abundance of materials relating specifically to the Plan, a small portion of which are viewable in the “Interpretive Digital Essay: The Plan of Chicago” (see above). The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago also hold the specially bound first copy of the Plan that was presented to Burnham, the originals of many of Jules Guerin’s illustrations and Fernand Janin’s drawings, and numerous maps and diagrams prepared for the Plan.

The Chicago History Museum holds the papers of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the organization that commissioned the Plan, and its Chicago Plan Commission Lantern Slide Collection has many images prepared by the Commission. The Ryerson and Burnham Archives also have lantern slides used in promoting the Plan in its Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection.

Daniel H. Burnham

City of Chicago – Landmarks Commission

Entry includes brief biography of Daniel Burnham and links to Chicago landmark buildings designed by Burnham. [Chicago Landmark’s | Daniel Burnham]

Print:  Hines, Thomas S. Burnham of Chicago: Architect and Planner.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

This fine book is the current standard biography and is readily available.
Moore, Charles.  Daniel H. Burnham: Architect, Planner of Cities.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1921, 2 vols.

This full, if uncritical, account of Burnham’s life also contains a good selection of photographs. Da Capo Press reprinted it in 1968.
Schaffer, Kristen.  Edited by Scott J. Tilden.  Daniel H. Burnham: Visionary Architect and Planner.  New York: Rizzoli, 2003. 

In her introduction Schaffer argues that Burnham’s reputation has suffered from underestimation of his creativity and personal attacks, most famously by Louis H. Sullivan in his The Autobiography of an Idea (New York: Pres of the American Institute of Architects, 1926; reprint, New York: Dover, 1956).  Schaffer’s outstanding introduction to the Princeton Architectural Press edition of the Plan (mentioned above), "Fabric of City Life: The Social Agenda in Burnham's Draft of the Plan of Chicago,” is especially noteworthy in offering the best analysis of the differences between Burnham’s draft and the published version edited by Charles Moore.

Edward H. Bennett

Draper, Joan E.  Edward H. Bennett, Architect and City Planner, 1874-1954.  Chicago:
Art Institute of Chicago, 1982.

A catalog that accompanied an exhibit at the Art Institute.

The Commercial Club of Chicago

Johnson, Vilas.  A History of the Commercial Club of Chicago.  Chicago: Commercial Club, 1977.

About the Plan

Print:  Smith, Carl.  The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

This new work by the author of the electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago’s “Interpretive Digital Essay: The Plan of Chicago” (see above), includes an extensive bibliographical essay that includes many of the works listed in this bibliography.

The Plan of Chicago, 1909-1979.  Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1979.

This exhibition catalog contains a number of valuable essays on the Plan, including one by historian Neil Harris on the creation of the Plan.

Akeley, Roger P.  Implementation of the 1909 Plan of Chicago: An Historical Account of Planning Salesmanship.  M.A. Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1973.

An examination of the Plan’s promotion.

Chicago’s Built Environment

Print:  Mayer, Harold M. and Richard C. Wade.  Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.

The best general history of the extraordinary evolution of Chicago’s built environment, of which the Plan was only a part.

Condit, Carl W.  Chicago, 1910–1929: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

__________.  Chicago, 1930–1970: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974.

The classic, two-volume study of Chicago in the six decades after publication of the Plan.
Bluestone, Daniel M.  Constructing Chicago.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991.
Cronon, William.  Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West.  New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.

Bachin, Robin F.  Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago,1890–1919. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.  

Bluestone, Cronon, and Bachin’s works represent the best more recent works on the building of the city in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Aspects of Chicago’s Urban Environment and Chicago Regional Planning

Maps in the Public Square

An Atlas of the Next Chicago Region is an online exhibit that combines the creative possibilities of the latest mapmaking technologies with public policy discussion to illustrate the impact of progress and change on the region’s built and natural environment. [Maps in the Public Square]

LISC Chicago's New Communities Program

The New Communities Program is a long-term initiative of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago to support comprehensive community development in 16 Chicago neighborhoods. [New Communities Program]

Chicago Metropolis 2020: Metro Joe

Like the promoters of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, who introduced ideas about great city planning to students through the Wacker Manual, Metro Joe’s Interactive Guide to the Chicago Region, enhances understanding of the people, geography and development of the Chicago region. [Metro Joe]

Print:  This selected list only suggests the full range of scholarship in this area of study, and is organized chronologically.

Meyerson, Marvin and Edward C. Banfield.  Planning, Politics, and the Public Interest: The Case of Public Housing in Chicago.  Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1955.

Abrahamson, Julia.  A Neighborhood Finds Itself.  New York: Harper, 1959.

Rossi, Peter and Robert Dentler.  The Politics of Urban Renewal: The Chicago Findings.  New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961.

Buder, Stanley.  Pullman: An Experiment in Industrial Order and Community Planning.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Molotch, Harvey Luskin.  Managed Integration: Dilemmas of Doing Good in the City.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.

Cain, Louis P.  Sanitation Strategy for a Lakefront Metropolis: The Case of Chicago.  De Kalb: Northern Illinois Press, 1978.

Goodwin, Carole.  The Oak Park Strategy: Community Control of Racial Change.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Rosen, George.  Decision-Making, Chicago Style: The Genesis of the University of Illinois Campus.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980.

Hirsch, Arnold R.  Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983; reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Mohl, Raymond A. and Neil Betten.  Steel City: Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906–1950.  New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986.

Bennett, Larry.  “Beyond Urban Renewal: Chicago’s North Loop Redevelopment Project,” Urban Affairs Quarterly 22 (December 1986).

Ebner, Michael H.  Creating Chicago’s North Shore: A Suburban History.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Keating, Ann Durkin.  Building Chicago: Suburban Developers and the Creation of a Divided Metropolis.  Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1988.

Hoch, Charles and Robert A. Slayton.  New Homeless and Old: Community and the Skid Row Hotel.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

Suttles, Gerald.  The Man-Made City: The Land-Use Confidence Game in Chicago.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Gilbert, James.  Perfect Cities: Chicago’s Utopias of 1893.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Wille, Lois.  Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Historic Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront.  Chicago: Regnery, 1972; reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Stamper, John W.  Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue: Planning and Development, 1900-1930.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Miller, Ross.  Here’s the Deal: The Buying and Selling of a Great American City.  New York: Knopf, 1996; reprint, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2003.

Flanagan, Maureen.  “The City Profitable, the City Livable: Environmental Policy, Gender, and Power in Chicago in the 1910s,” Journal of Urban History 22 (January 1996): 163-192.

Wille, Lois.  At Home in the Loop: How Clout and Community Built Chicago’s Dearborn Park.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1997.

Reiff, Janice.  “A Modern Lear and His Daughters: Gender in the Model Town of Pullman,” Journal of Urban History 23 (March 1997): 316-341.

Abbott, Carl.  “Planning Chicago” in the Encyclopedia of Chicago.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Keating, Ann Durkin.  Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook.

Skogan, Wesley G.  Chicago Since 1840: A Time-Series Data Handbook.  Urbana: University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs, 1976.
Both the Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook, published annually, and Skogan’s book are useful resources for information on life and population, as are annual reports from various departments of the City of Chicago. Both the Chicago History Museum and the Municipal Reference Library at the Harold Washington Library Center hold many of these reports, and the Chicago Public Library has put some of them online. []

Urban Planning in America

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850–1920: a Study Collection from the Harvard Graduate School of Design

This collection of 2,800 lantern slides represents an historical view of American buildings and landscapes built during the period 1850–1920. The collection offers views of cities, specific buildings, parks, estates and gardens. [American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850–1920]

Blueprint for America

Blueprint for America is the cornerstone of the AIA’s 150th Anniversary Celebration. Intended to inspire communities to come together around architecture, Blueprint provides the opportunity for individuals to collaborate with AIA architects and share their ideas for creating livable communities. [Blueprint for America]

Print:  This selected list only suggests the full range of scholarship in this area of study, and is organized in large part, chronologically.

Introduction to Planning History in the United States.  Edited by Donald A. Krueckeberg.  New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1983.

Two Centuries of American Planning.  Edited by Daniel Schaffer.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

These two fine collections of essays are the place to begin reading in this field.

Jacobs, Jane.  The Death and Life of Great American Cities.  New York: Modern Library, 1961.

Mumford, Lewis.  The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects.  New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1961.

Scott, Mel.  American City Planning Since 1890.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.

Scully, Vincent.  American Architecture and Urbanism.  New York: Praeger, 1969.

Foster, Mark S.  From Streetcar to Superhighway: American City Planners and Urban Transportation, 1900–1940.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981.

Boyer, M. Christine.  Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American City Planning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983.

Hayden, Dolores.  Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life.  New York: W. W. Norton, 1984, 2002.

Foglesong, Richard E.  Planning the Capitalist City: The Colonial Era to the 1920s. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Hall, Peter.  Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century.  New York: Blackwell, 1988.

Schultz, Stanley K.  American Cities and City Planning, 1800–1920.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

Peterson, Jon A.  The Birth of City Planning in the United States, 1840–1917.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Isenberg, Alison.  Downtown American: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Talen, Emily.  New Urbanism and American Planning: The Conflict of Cultures.  New York: Routledge, 2005.

Legacies of the Plan

Johnson, Elmer W. Chicago Metropolis 2020: The Chicago Plan for the Twenty-First Century.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

General Reference

Chicago Public Library

A search of the Chicago Public Library catalog will yield articles and books with more detail on Chicago’s past, present and future.  CPL patrons can also access the Library's research databases, in particular the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive and the Chicago Defender Historical Archive.  A CPL library card number and zip code are required for database access. [CPL Catalog]

Encyclopedia of Chicago

The Encyclopedia of Chicago is a dynamic and unprecedented metropolitan history. Thousands of historical resources-including articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers-related to Chicago's colorful and complex history are at your fingertips. [Encyclopedia of Chicago]

City of Chicago Landmarks

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks website provides information, maps, and guides to Chicago’s architectural landmarks and important architects, and includes a searchable database of the city’s architecturally and historically significant buildings. [Chicago Landmarks]

Chicago Maps at the University of Chicago Library

The University of Chicago Map Collection is one of the largest university map libraries in North America.  A large selection of Chicago maps from different eras, census maps, and social science maps are available online. [Chicago Maps]

American Memory

American Memory provides free and open access to written and sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that chronicle the historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America. [American Memory]

Historic Preservation

National Park Service: Heritage Documentation Programs

The nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documents, this collection contains digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies and data pages. It includes hundreds of entries from the Chicago region. [Heritage Documentation Programs]

Chicago History

Timeline of Chicago History

A chronological listing of events in Chicago history assembled by the Chicago Public Library, with links for further exploration of topics.  [Timeline of Chicago History]

The Columbian Exposition

The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a pivotal moment in Chicago's history. Not only did the world take notice of Chicago, but Chicago left its mark on the world. Learn more about the impact of the fair on Chicago and explore the fair on your own with the Interactive Map of the Fairgrounds and the Image Gallery. [The Columbian Exposition]

Educators Resource Guide

The Burnham Plan Centennial:
Bold Plans. Big Dreams

Incorporate the study of metropolitan Chicago into daily teaching with this collection of resources that links to lessons, activities and multiple educational resources across a variety of academic disciplines. [Download PDF or View Program  On-Line]

Feature Resources

The Plan of ChicagoThe Plan of Chicago

The online Encyclopedia of Chicago has a wealth of information including a fully digitized copy of the Burnham Plan.

Cloumbian Exposition

The Columbian Exposition

Explore Daniel Burnham’s vision of an ideal city with an interactive map of the World’s Fair of 1893.

Metro joeWho is Metro Joe?

Think you know Chicago and the 'burbs?  Play this online game that challenges your knowledge of the Chicago region.

New Publications

Commemorating the Centennial

The Centennial inspired an affordable soft-cover Plan of Chicago: Centennial Edition and a host of other new publications including the Plan of Chicago @100: 15 Views of Burnham's Legacy for a New Century, Beyond Burnham:  An Illunstrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region and the Plans of Chicago. 

The Burnham Blog

Several articles were written about Centennial education programs throughout 2009 on the Burnham Blog. To read these articles and browse other related posts, click here.

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