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Thread: Antiques Roadshow, planner style; or "Guess what we just found!"

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Antiques Roadshow, planner style; or "Guess what we just found!"

    One of the planners here was going through a filing cabinet, where he discovered someting very interesting sitting at the bottom. It was a hardcover copy of Daniel Burnham's Plan for Chicago. . Glued to the inside cover were newspaper articles about development in Chicago from 1917.

    The fist page is signed "Mr Alex Friend, 137 E 50th St, Chicago".

    Several pages in, there is a sheet that reads:

    "One Thousand six hundred and fifty copies of this edition were printed in June, nineteen hundred and nine, of which this is numbered (penned) 1096"

    Holy s**t. This isn't a modern reprint. It's an original, first run copy of the Burnham Plan, and it's sitting on my desk now.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    If your department puts it up for sale on ebay, maybe you could all go to APA national next year.

    Nice find!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    That is a definite holy **** moment!

    Wow...I'd love to have a look at that plan!
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Cyburbian El Feo's avatar
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    Wow - you know it's authentic, but I think you should call in the History Detectives to verify it. Who knows, you just might end up on an episode? As an added bonus, you might get to meet that tasty Elyse Luray...
    "The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist." -- Mark Steyn

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    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    On ABE a 1970 reprint runs about $250

    BURNHAM, Daniel H. Report on a Plan for San Francisco. By Daniel H. Burnham. Assisted by Edward H. Bennett. Presented to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors by the Association for the Improvement and Adornment of San Francisco. Edited by Edward F. O'Day. September MCMV. "Published by the City," San Francisco 1905. is listed at $1500.

    Sounds like you have made great find!

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    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    Don't tell anyone...oops, too late.

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    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Originally posted by El Feo
    Who knows, you just might end up on an episode? As an added bonus, you might get to meet that tasty Elyse Luray...
    MEOW! Hot and nerdish! That is the way I like 'em.

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    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Great find, Dan!

    Now what?

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Great find, Dan!

    Now what?
    The book has the name of an old planning director (1950s) from my agency in it. My guess is that he got the book from the first owner, before it was considered a historic document.

    I brought up the subject of stewardship to the PD. We've got a HUGE planning library in the department, but it's not intended to act as a rare book library. Is there someone else (Levine School of Urban Studies at Cleveland State? Kent State Urban Design Center?) that could be a better caretaker of the Chicago Plan?)

    I'd love to scan the thing and put it online if I had the time. Maybe just take 3.2 megapixel photos of each page. Any copyright would have expired in 1984.

    Right now, one of the senior planners is reading it cover to cover, and getting a valuable education in City Beautiful-era planning.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    That is truly awesome. I like your idea of putting it online. Wouldn't the Chicago museum be interested in looking after something like that?

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    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    Originally posted by CityGrrl
    That is truly awesome. I like your idea of putting it online. Wouldn't the Chicago museum be interested in looking after something like that?
    Good point. I believe that the Chicago Art Institute owns a copy, as there are pages displayed in the hallway downstairs around the corner from the Thorne Rooms. I'm not sure about the Chicago Historical Society, but you can bet that they have one somewhere. They can probably give you an idea of the value.

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    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan


    Right now, one of the senior planners is reading it cover to cover, and getting a valuable education in City Beautiful-era planning.
    Make sure this person or anyone else handles it with silk gloves on. Also, make sure the lights are turned down relatively low when they read it.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    maudit anglais
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    Originally posted by Planderella
    Make sure this person or anyone else handles it with silk gloves on. Also, make sure the lights are turned down relatively low when they read it.
    Should they play some Barry White too?

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by CityGrrl
    That is truly awesome. I like your idea of putting it online. Wouldn't the Chicago museum be interested in looking after something like that?
    I'm not considering the APA. They probably have a copy in their library already, and besides, they haven't exactly been all too supportive of Cyburbia. Immature, I know, but still ...

    The best thing to do might actually be to hold on to it. We'll still have access to the document, area planners that might be interested could have a look, and we could get it in digital form so others can see it. In the long run, though, the book will need to be in a temperature and light-controlled environment. The binding and cover are worn, but otherwise it's on good shape. There's no torn or missing pages, and no dog-ears or creases.

    How do you preserve a rare book, yet keep it accessible? Thinking about it, I don't think Burnham meant the Plan for Chicago it to be some sacred text to be locked away in a holy location, to be looked at rarely, and by only the highest priests.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I think you have the right idea in asking a local university or historical society to hold it in their archives, where it will have the appropriate security, climate controls, etc. Scanning it and putting it online would be a huge benefit to the planning world. Do it!

    (If you are interested in a trade, I have a very rare original copy of the 1966 Comprehensive Plan of the City of Whitewater. It is in excellent condition and is far rarer, as only about twenty copies were ever made. Even trade?)

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