Burnham’s Draft of the 1909 Chicago Plan Reveals Unpublished Social Agenda

Burnham scholar to discuss findings on Oct. 8th at IIT and Oct. 11th at  NU

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Dr. Kristen Schaffer will discuss her research into Daniel H. Burnham’s original draft of the 1909 Plan of Chicago during two public lectures in October, as part of Burnham Plan 100 Centennial celebration.

A leading Burnham scholar, Schaffer is author of “Daniel H. Burnham: Visionary Architect.” While reviewing Burnham’s handwritten draft of the Plan of Chicago in the Art Institute’s Ryerson Library, Schaffer was struck by the passages that were left out of the published Plan.

“Burnham’s views on architecture and his ideas for the city are more fully revealed in his notes, letters and drafts than in the published Plan of Chicago,” says Schaffer, associate professor of architecture at North Carolina State University. “These materials enrich our understanding not only of the public architect and planner, but also disclose the religious beliefs and moral values of the private man.”

Burnham’s draft of the 1909 Plan went beyond recommendations for the lakefront, traffic circulation and civic centers — it also advanced quality of life issues such as provisions for child care for working women, improvement of slum areas, and low cost access to recreational facilities for all of the Chicago’s citizens. Why Burnham’s quality of life recommendations were omitted in the published version is not known today. The draft reveals a planner with a heart as well as a vision for what Chicago could be.

The public is invited to hear Schaffer’s presentation of “Finding Burnham in the Archives: Spiritual Revelations and the Plan of Chicago” on Thursday, October 8 at 12 pm noon in  S.R. Crown Hall, at IIT’s College of Architecture, 3360 S. State St., Chicago, sponsored by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture; and on Sunday, October 11 at 3 pm in Fisk Hall, 1845 Sheridan Road, Evanston, sponsored by Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, The Program in American Studies. Both lectures are free to the public, and are co-sponsored by the Swedenborg Library of Chicago.

About Kristen Schaffer: Kristen Schaffer, Ph.D., Cornell University, teaches History of Architecture and Urbanism at North Carolina State University. She is author of “Daniel H. Burnham: Visionary Architect” (Rizzoli International, 2003). She is among the historians appearing in the recently released film by Archimedia Workshop, “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham & The American City.”

About The Swedenborg Library: The Swedenborg Library hosts ecumenical programs on religious and spiritual topics. Founded in 1871 as the Western New Church Union, the Library is located at 77 W. Washington St. in downtown Chicago. For more information, see www.SwedenborgLib.org.

CONTACT:  Karen Feil of the Swedenborg Library, +1-312-346-7003, info@swedenborglib.org, Kimberly Campbell of IIT, +1-312-567-3279, kcampbe1@iit.edu, Natasha Dennison of Northwestern University, +1-847-491-3525; n-dennison@northwestern.edu