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

Dan

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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.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
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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!
 

NHPlanner

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That is a definite holy **** moment!

Wow...I'd love to have a look at that plan! :)
 

jmf

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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!
 

Dan

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Zoning Goddess said:
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. :)
 
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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?
 

DecaturHawk

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CityGrrl said:
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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Dan said:


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.
 

Tranplanner

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Planderella said:
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? ;)
 

Dan

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CityGrrl said:
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.
 

Cardinal

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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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