University of Chicago Library

Guide to the University of Chicago Department of Geography Records 1902-1975

© 2007 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


University of Chicago. Department of Geography. Records


3 linear feet (3 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The University of Chicago's Department of Geography was the first to be established at an American university, with coursework beginning in the 1902-1903 school year. The department continued to define the field of geography throughout the early and mid-twentieth century. This collection contains departmental statistics, reports, student information and other administrative material, as well as an assortment of correspondence, cartographic material and publications.

Information on Use

Restrictions on Use

Box 2 contains confidential student data and is restricted for 80 years from the date of its creation.

The remainder of the collection is open for research, with no restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: University of Chicago, Department of Geography. Records [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The University of Chicago's Department of Geography was the first to be established at an American university. The first courses were offered in the 1902-1903 school year. Geologist Rollin D. Salisbury and geographer Paul J. Goode were key figures in the establishment and early development of the department. The department expanded throughout the early twentieth century while it played a major role in defining the discipline of geography. Following the retirement of several longtime faculty members, the department was succeeded by the Committee on Geographic Studies in 1986.

Scope Note

This collection contains administrative material related to the work of the Evaluation Committee of the Department of Geography, which issued its report on the department in 1975, as well as an assortment of departmental statistics, course material, publications, student information and cartographic material. Of particular interest is geographer and cartographer John Paul Goode's 1902 list of curriculum suggestions, Bernard J.S. Cahill's diagrams and discussion of the octahedral "butterfly map," and an evaluative committee's 1975 report highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the department.

Related Resources

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Goode, John Paul, annotated list of courses and curriculum suggestions, 1902

Box 1   Folder 2

Fiftieth anniversary material, ca. 1941

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence and departmental statistics, 1973-1974

Box 1   Folder 4

Geography 300-301 course material, 1970-1974

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence and historical list of master's theses, 1975

Box 1   Folder 6

Evaluation Committee of the Department of Geography, correspondence and report drafts, 1975

Box 1   Folder 7

Evaluation Committee of the Department of Geography, correspondence and report, 1975

Box 1   Folder 8

Departmental brochure and draft of brochure content, 1975

Box 2   Folder 1

Correspondence and student data, 1974-1975

Box 3   Folder 1

Fragments of publications, 1906-1929

Box 3   Folder 2

Cahill, Bernard J. S., correspondence and butterfly map diagrams, 1929-1930