The University and the City: A Centennial View of the University of Chicago

The University and the City" forms the third in a series of four exhibitions and accompanying catalogues offered in conjunction with the Centennial of the University of Chicago. The relationship between the University and the city of Chicago extends far beyond its name and dates to the very founding of the institution. Donatations from all sectors combined to match John D. Rockefeller's promised endowment; this broad base of community support has flourished over the past 100 years.

By choosing to locate the University within the city of Chicago, the founders committed themselves to an institution whose urban identity was at the core of its character. With the World's Columbian Exposition virtually in its back University and the city entered the twentieth century together. The development of urban sociology, partly a response to growth and change in the new century, is only one example of how the faculty, in studying topics such as race, ethnicity, education, poverty, and politics, derive a research focus from the city and return enriched understanding and active participation to it.

The University and the City" examines the intersection of the two institutions through the individuals and issues that brought them together. Civic leaders have always played a major role in the University's governance, serving on the Board of Trustees and providing leadership in fundraising campaigns. As readers of this catalogue and viewers of the exhibition will discover, relationships forged between the University and the city in the realms of commerce, science, religion, education, and culture shaped the life of each. Recognizing these contributions constitutes an important part of the University's Centennial.

The Centennial exhibitions in Special Collections received support from the Office of the President. Jean O'Brien participated in the early research stages of the project. Work on this exhibition and catalogue was begun by Maureen Harp and continued by Ted Fishman, who conducted research and wrote early versions of several sections. Richard Popp performed the research and writing of additional sections and assisted in editing the catalogue and developing the exhibition. All of these activities were directed by Daniel Meyer, who also edited the catalogue. His effort and expertise ensured the successful completion of the project, and they are warmly acknowledged. Kim Coventry coordinated the design and production of the exhibition and the publication of the catalogue.

-Alice Schreyer, Curator, Department of Special Collections

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House at Woodlawn Avenue and 58th Street


State Street, Looking north from Randolph