Burgess's professional archive in the University of Chicago Library is filled with maps, mostly of Chicago. They range from hand-drawn student products to professional products drawn and lettered by draftsmen. The student maps are in colored pencil, crayon and even stickers. The draftsmen's maps are inked in, sometimes shaded with little dots and crosshatching with Zip-a-Tone, now obsolete.
Typically, the maps plotted some social phenomenon, depending upon what data were available, across the city's Community Areas. Suicide, homicide, family income, educational attainment, homeownership, you name it. The sociologists looked for patterns. Did the distribution of income, for example, conform to the concentric circles pattern of urban development proposed by Burgess?
In every course I gave I am sure there were one or two students who made maps. I think the maps of juvenile delinquency were the first ones undertaken. They were followed by maps showing the distribution of motion picture houses. Then came maps showing the distribution of patrons of the public dance halls. . . We were very impressed with the great differences between the various neighborhoods in the city, and one of the earliest goals was to try to find a pattern to this patchwork of differences, and to 'make sense of it.'
Ernest W. Burgess, 1964