• IdentificationICU.SPCL.BLOCKJF
  • TitleGuide to the Jean F. Block Papers1980’s
  • PublisherUniversity of Chicago Library
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Date1980’s
  • Physical Description1 linear ft (2 boxes)
  • RepositorySpecial Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.
  • AbstractJean Friedberg Block was a University of Chicago expert and a renowned scholar of the architecture and peopling of Hyde Park and the University. Block’s papers include general information about the University from the early-to-mid 20th century. Series I contains general correspondence and other information about the University’s development. Series II contains material pertinent to “The Uses of Gothic,” a 1985 exhibit in the Special Collections Resource Center, which was largely authored and coordinated by Ms. Block.

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Hyde Park-Kenwood-Woodlawn Neighborhood

Chicago and Illinois

Architecture and Urban Planning

No restrictions

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Block, Jean F. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Jean Friedberg Block, a lifelong Hyde Park resident, was born in 1912. She received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1963 and was awarded the Alumni Association Public Service Citation in 1981. A founding member of the Hyde Park Historical Society, Block also served on the boards of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and International House.

Block was a renowned expert on the architecture of the University and its surrounding neighborhood. Her 1978 book, Hyde Park Houses: An Informal History, 1856-1910, describes the neighborhood’s sociological and architectural transformation from bucolic suburb to urban neighborhood through photographs and text. Block next turned her attention to the aesthetics of the university itself. In 1983, the University of Chicago published her second book, Writing in The Uses of Gothic: Planning and Building the Campus of the University of Chicago 1892–1932. Block was a lead author and coordinator of The Uses of Gothic, a 1985 exhibit in the Special Collections Research Center. At the time of her death, Mrs. Block was writing a history of apartment houses and their effect on Chicago neighborhoods from 1910 to 1950.

Block died in 1988 at the age of 76. She was survived by two children and five grandchildren. The sunken viewing garden directly north of the Joseph Regenstein Library was named the Jean F. Block Memorial Garden after her death.

Jean Friedberg Block was a University of Chicago expert and a renowned scholar of the architecture and peopling of Hyde Park and the University. This collection of Block’s papers includes general information about the University from the early-to-mid 20th century. Series I contains general correspondence and other information about the University’s early architectural development. Several of these materials are published documents.

Series II contains material pertinent to “The Uses of Gothic,” a 1985 exhibit in the Special Collections Resource Center, which was largely authored and coordinated by Ms. Block. This series contains her research of other similar exhibits and reports about university buildings and Chicago architecture.

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

  • NamesUniversity of Chicago -- History
  • SubjectArchitecture -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Geographic CoverageHyde Park (Chicago, Ill.)