Foundational Books and Essays
The kick-off statement of the Chicago school was Robert Park's 1915 essay, "The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment," in which Park lays out a program for scientific research. He presents a general argument, but he implies that the investigation should be carried out in Chicago. In 1925, Ernest Burgess published "Growth of the City: Introduction to a Research Project," which also became a landmark in urban studies. Burgess had been Park's student, but when he wrote this essay he was a faculty member. Then, in 1938, Louis Wirth published "Urbanism as a Way of Life," which may be seen as a capstone to the Chicago school. Like Burgess, Wirth had come to the department as a student, but after he got his Ph.D., and after he taught briefly at Tulane, he was brought back to become a faculty member.
Like these essays, there is a group of books that anchor the Chicago School. British sociologist, Martin Bulmer, who wrote The Chicago School of Sociology, identifies the first two major empirical studies. ". . . The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, published in 1918-1920, marks the ascent of Chicago to a position of national and international leadership." Bulmer notes that "the next major piece of empirical research to appear (was) The Negro in Chicago (1922)."
Park and Burgess co-authored a textbook, Introduction to the Science of Sociology, which became popular in colleges and universities across the nation. Students referred to it as "the green bible."