Welcome to Special Collections
The Special Collections Research Center is home to the University of Chicago Library's rare books, archives, and manuscript collections. Special Collections is a vibrant, interactive place to conduct research, engage in classes using original sources, and view changing exhibitions.
Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915-1940
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
June 22 - September 11, 2015
In 1915, University of Chicago sociology professor Robert E. Park published "The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment", an article that inspired a quarter-century of social research at the University of Chicago and transformed the discipline of sociology. This explosion of scholarship came to be known as the Chicago School of Sociology. Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Sociology adopted Chicago as their urban laboratory and began to study the city intensively, examining distinctive neighborhoods, institutions and social patterns. Archives in the Special Collections Research Center preserve key records of their research methodology: tools, such as questionnaires and life histories, along with analyses, such as statistical tables and city maps. Archival documents reveal the new sociological research process, from proposal through data collection to final report. The exhibition also displays a series of influential books written by Chicago sociologists, many based upon PhD dissertations, among them Louis Wirth's The Ghetto (1928) and Harvey Zorbaugh's The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929).