The Ryerson and Burnham Archives
of the Art Institute of Chicago
announce the digitization of another major image collection: 5,000 plates from the venerable Chicago-based periodical Inland Architect and News Record. This exceedingly rich visual record from a seminal period in American architecture can now be accessed by the public through the Digital Collections Database (DCD) on the Libraries' website. The multi-year project makes another important architectural archive available for use by scholars and the public, further enhancing what is already one of the richest online resources for art and architecture, built with the goal of providing access to the many rare images and texts in the Art Institute's Ryerson and Burnham Archives.
"The Digital Collections Database was launched in 2008 and has been growing steadily ever since," said Jack Perry Brown, Director of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. "But the completion of the digitization of the Inland Architect plates represents a significant milestone for the database, which is among the largest such digital collections in the United States. These images not only recorded but also shaped architectural practice in the United States during an explosive period of growth. For scholars and the public, the Inland Architect images will prove a fascinating and incredible resource."
American architects working in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries turned to the trade publication Inland Architect and News Record for ideas, inspiration, and education, as it best represented the latest developments in the profession straight from the heart of the leading city of American architecture. Published between 1883 and 1908 by the Chicago-based Inland Publishing Co., the magazine featured prime examples of structures from all over the United States: commercial real estate; public buildings such as churches, schools, libraries, and railroad stations; important state and national government commissions; and residential architecture, ranging from middle class houses to apartments to elite mansions and estates. Almost every architectural style of the period, from Chicago School to historic revival, is meticulously documented. Readers of Inland Architect were able to see the full anatomy of architectural projects, including exteriors and exterior views, interiors and interior details, and various architectural renderings of both built and unbuilt projects. A large number of images from the magazine document what are now historical landmarks when they were first constructed.
The Inland Architect and News Record database of more than 5,000 images can now be easily searched by architect, project name, location, date, or other key words--including any combination of such terms--through the DCD website. With the addition of the Inland Architect images, the DCD now includes more than 25,000 digital images and PDF files of photographs, slides, architectural drawings and prints, correspondence, manuscripts, pencil sketches, books, postcards, three-dimensional objects, and printed materials such as newspaper clippings and brochures.