David Phillips: Chicago Park District Photographs

Dates: 1872-1963
Size: 0.5 linear feet in 1 box
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: spe-p00144
Provenance: Donated by David Phillips in 2017
Custodial History: Learning of the Chicago Park District’s transfer of its historic archives to Chicago Public Library Special Collections, Mr. Phillips combed through his impressive personal collection and gathered together images of Chicago parks to donate to CPL. This is the resulting collection.
Access: Materials are open without restrictions.
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: David Phillips Photographs, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Processed by: Johanna Russ, 2020. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Johanna Russ, 2021.

Abstract

This collection of photographs features 23 of the Chicago Park District's earliest parks, showing park construction, fieldhouses, aerial views, and people enjoying the parks. Celebrated photographers appear in the collection including J.W. Taylor, Kaufmann & Fabry, and George Lawrence. Of particular note are the panoramic views of park construction by J.W. Taylor taken in 1904 that capture the South Park Commission implementing its revolutionary plan to build small parks close to overcrowded, working class, immigrant neighborhoods.

Biographical/Historical Note

David Phillips was born February 25, 1931. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and became interested in photography at a young age. He was chief photographer for Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis before moving to Chicago and becoming a freelance photographer. In addition to a successful commercial photography business, Phillips became a collector of historic photographs and photographic negatives. This work in historic photography led him to write three history books and to produce television shows on the history of Chicago and various aspects of photography and cinematography history. Phillips also taught photography courses at Illinois Institute of Technology, and he curated a number of photographic exhibits on Chicago history.

Scope and Contents

While some of the images in this collection also appear in the Chicago Park District Records: Photographs collection at CPL, many are unique. 23 of Chicago’s earliest parks are represented. Images show park construction progress, fieldhouses, aerial views, and people enjoying the parks. Celebrated photographers appear in the collection including J.W. Taylor, Kaufmann & Fabry, and George Lawrence.

Of particular note are the panoramic views of park construction by J.W. Taylor taken in 1904. During this time period, the South Park Commission was busy implementing its revolutionary plan to build small parks close to where people lived, providing relief to overcrowded, working class, immigrant neighborhoods. These panoramic views capture this process.

Arrangement

Files are arranged alphabetically by park name.

Related Collections

Chicago Park District Records: Photographs

Subject Terms

  • Chicago Park District (Chicago, Ill.)
  • R. Lawrence Co.
  • Grant Park (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Kaufmann & Fabry Co.
  • Lincoln Park (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Taylor, J. W., 1846-1918

Separation Note

Mr. Phillips also donated a bound volume entitled, The Phillips Family: Descendants of Philip Philipse de Moer, Albany, New York, 1650-2013, and related families, by David R. Phillips, 2014. This genealogical study of Phillips’s own ancestors has been cataloged and is available through Special Collections at Call #: CS71.P556P55 2014.

Container List

Box 1 Folder 1 Burnham Park (0027) – Adler Planetarium, 1936, undated
Box 1 Folder 2 Calumet Park (0011), undated
Box 1 Folder 3 Calumet Park (0011) – panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, circa 1905
Box 1 Folder 4 Columbus Park (0209), 1916-1917, undated
Box 1 Folder 5 Cornell Square Park (0005) – panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, 1904
Box 1 Folder 6 Davis Square Park (0014), undated
Box 1 Folder 7 Davis Square Park (0014) – panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, 1904
Box 1 Folder 8 Douglass Park (0218). Formerly known as Douglas Park, 1872, 1914, undated
Box 1 Folder 9 Drexel Boulevard – Glass plate negative, undated
Box 1 Folder 10 Garfield Park (0204) – Conservatory, 1892, circa 1910
Box 1 Folder 11 Grant Park (0024), 1926, 1959, undated
Box 1 Folder 12 Grant Park (0024) – Glass plate negatives, undated
Box 1 Folder 13 Humboldt Park (0219), 1872
Box 1 Folder 14 Jackson Park (0019). Includes transparency reproductions from World’s Columbian Exposition. Columbus ships feature in this folder, 1893, 1931, 1956, undated.
Box 1 Folder 15 La Follette Park (0201) – Fieldhouse, undated
Box 1 Folder 16 Lincoln Park (0100), 1885-1959, undated
Box 1 Folder 17 Lincoln Park (0100) – Glass plate negatives, undated
Box 1 Folder 18 Marquette Park (0010) – panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, 1904
Box 1 Folder 19 McGuane Park (0002). Formerly known as Mark White Square. Aerial view, including Stearns Quarry, 1941
Box 1 Folder 20 McGuane Park (0002). Formerly known as Mark White Square. Panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, 1904
Box 1 Folder 21 McKinley Park (0023), 1907, undated
Box 1 Folder 22 Midway Plaisance (1268) – Aerial view, circa 1935
Box 1 Folder 23 Ogden Park (0008), 1936, undated
Box 1 Folder 24 Pulaski Park (0217), 1914
Box 1 Folder 25 Sherman Park (0007), 1908-1909
Box 1 Folder 26 Sherman Park (0007) – Glass plate negative, undated
Box 1 Folder 27 Sherman Park (0007) – panoramic view of park construction progress. Photographer: J.W. Taylor, 1904
Box 1 Folder 28 Union Park (0210), 1913-1921, undated
Box 1 Folder 29 Washington Park (0021). Note, especially good photos of the sheep kept to trim the grass, 1892-1955, undated.
Box 1 Folder 30 Unidentified parks, 1910-1949, undated
Box 1 Folder 31 Unidentified park – glass plate negative, bridge over water, undated
Box 1 Folder 32 Non-park images: Old Town Art Fair, 1957; Webster Hotel, 1963
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