• IdentificationPUBLIC "-//The Art Institute of Chicago::Ryerson and Burnham Archives//TEXT(US::ICA::070383::LUDWIG KARL HILBERSEIMER (1885-1967) PAPERS, c.1885-1995 (bulk 1938-1967))//EN" "ica070383.xml"
  • TitleHilberseimer, Ludwig Karl, (1885-1967) Papers, c.1885-1995 (bulk 1938-1967)
  • PublisherRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Language
    • English
    • English.
  • Date
    • c.1885-1995
    • (bulk 1938-1967)
  • Physical Description
    • 48 linear feet, (98 boxes), 16 oversize portfolios, and flatfile materials
    • Printed papers, correspondence, manuscripts, photocopies, black & white and color photographs, black & white negatives, drawings, typescripts, crbon copies, holograph papers, typescript copies, notes, postcards, photostats, newsprint, mimeographs, blueprints, xeroxes, autographs, sketches, offprints, typescript carbons, VHS video tapes, black & white photostatic prints, lantern slides, and realia.
  • RepositoryRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603-6110 (312) 443-7292 rbarchives@artic.edu http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchives.html
  • AbstractProfessional and business papers, including correspondence, research materials, manuscripts, photographs, and personal memorabilia document the life and career of Bauhaus émigrée and author, educator, city planner, and architect Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer.
  • OriginationHilberseimer, Ludwig, 1885-1967
  • LocationThe majority of this collection is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' on-site stacks. The remainder of the collection is housed offsite, and is designated so by the abbreviation (OS) in the left-hand location column. Retrieval of offsite materials requires advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule.

The papers of Ludwig Hilberseimer reflect his activities as author, educator, city planner, and architect. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1885, and educated at the Technische Hochschule (1906-1911), Hilberseimer entered architectural practice in Berlin after his studies. At the end of World War I he joined the Novembergruppe and began to write art criticism published in such important journals as G, Das Kunstblatt, Sturm, and Sozialistische Monatshefte.

By the early 1920s Hilberseimer turned increasing attention to architecture and urban planning issues, with particular interest in residential projects. As lecturer and subsequently Master at the Bauhaus-Dessau (1929-1936) he taught planning seminars, which he continued to teach after joining the faculty at Armour Institute of Technology (now Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1938, at the invitation of Mies van der Rohe. Hilberseimer concentrated on the theoretical aspects of city planning and architecture throughout his career--dwelling on solving problems in integrating residential, industrial, work, and natural environments into an "organic" whole.

Outside his academic responsibilities, Hilberseimer undertook numerous non-academic projects such as Evergreen Cooperative I and II (Chicago, IL), the planning of Gratiot Park (Detroit, MI) and the Chicago Area plan of 1961. Hilberseimer continued to teach at IIT until his death in 1967 in Chicago.

The collection contains a wide range of manuscript and printed materials, correspondence, photographs, and personal memorabilia. Excluding the printed items, the majority of the documents date from Hilberseimer's post-immigration period (1938-1967).

The bulk of the Hilberseimer Papers consist of manuscripts, typescripts, and copies of Hilberseimer's writings, and supporting files gathered for research purposes. The latter items include newspapers and clippings, books, periodicals, brochures, catalogues, and maps. Many of the published materials extensively document the art movements of pre-World War II Germany, such as Arbeitsrat für Kunst, the Novembergruppe, and Die Kommune (Hilberseimer belonged to all three); the Deutscher Werkbund, and Der Zehner Ring; as well as architectural competitions, literary works, and public programs. A prime example is the collection of articles from Sozialistische Monatshefte (1919-1932), to which Hilberseimer contributed regularly. Among the periodicals is the 1931 issue of Zeitschrift für Gestaltung, which was edited by Hilberseimer, Josef Albers, and Wassily Kandinsky. The supporting files are a valuable reference for understanding the undocumented early professional life of Hilberseimer.

Over 3,000 photographs supplement the manuscript series. These were used either as illustrations for his books and articles, or for supportive research material. Also included are personal photographs, exhibition photographs dating from the 1920s-1930s, as well as a Mies van der Rohe and Illinois Institute of Technology file. Some of Hilberseimer's drawings are represented in the photograph series. Supplementing the photographs are project files consisting of appraisals, correspondence, minutes, proposals, reports, and studies.

Hilberseimer's correspondence, spanning his entire career, includes letters from friends and family of purely personal nature, and from colleagues and students regarding projects, co-authored books and articles, consultations, teaching activities, or related business matters. Among the correspondents are: Alfred Caldwell, Hugo Häring, Hans Richter, Howard Dearstyne, Hubert Hoffman, Udo Rukser, Werner Graeff, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Kurt Schwitters, Walter Gropius, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bruno Taut, and Max Taut.

Hilberseimer's academic activities at the Bauhaus-Dessau school and at the Illinois Institute of Technology are described chiefly in the IIT correspondence, curriculum files, minutes, and memoranda. The Bauhaus items are peripheral and interspersed throughout the entire collection, usually filed by document type. Among the latter group are letters from the Hilberseimer's colleagues at the school such as Otti Berger, Werner Graeff, Walter Gropius, Ernst Kallai, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Kurt Schwitters, and Mies van der Rohe, and also from students such as Howard Dearstyne, Wils Ebert, Hubert Hoffman, Hermann Klumpp, Pius E. Pahl, John Rodgers, and Arieh Sharon, some of whom also attended the Bauhaus-Berlin school. Specific items of interest are the satirical sketches by Ernst Kallai, photographs and postcards, slides, Otti Berger's Bauhaus-Dessau scrapbook, a Bauhaus-Berlin study program with manuscript notations, and Bauhaus publications (1923-1938).

SERIES I: PERSONAL PAPERS (1914-1967). 3.25 linear feet. The Personal Papers are divided into four subseries: legal/financial (1926-1967); general (1914-1967); memoranda books (1924-1960s); awards and certificates (1940-1967, 1981). The legal/financial papers include bank statements, medical claims and receipts, passports, immigration papers, income tax forms, insurance policies, and Hilberseimer's will. The general files consist of documents, collected by Hilberseimer, such as brochures and catalogues concerning artist unions and exhibitions; Bauhaus files, e.g. Otti Berger file; and political pamphlets and programs regarding the art and political movements of the 1920s and 1930s. See also Photographs Series 10/1 for photographs of Hilberseimer and his colleagues.

SERIES II: CORRESPONDENCE (1913-1967). 2.5 linear feet; arranged chronologically by year, by day within folders The Correspondence Series is divided into two subseries: letters to and from Hilberseimer (1917-1967), the bulk dating from the 1930s to the 1950s; and the postcard file (1913-1966). The Correspondence Series describes personal affairs, affadavits concerning immigration of colleagues during World War II, and research and consultation problems (see also Series 3, IIT) regarding Chicago planning projects. Correspondents are mostly artists or architects belonging to various associations such as Der Zehner Ring, Novembergruppe, Deutscher Werkbund, or the Bauhaus-Dessau school, who continued to write to Hilberseimer after his immigration to the United States. Among these are Werner Graeff, Walter Gropius, Hugo Häring, Hubert Hoffman, Ernst Kallai, L. Moholy-Nagy, Ladislaus Péri, Udo Rukser, Howard Dearstyne, and Mies van der Rohe. An index to correspondents' names (excluding postcard subseries) is available at the end of the finding aid.

SERIES III: ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (1934-1966). 2.5 linear feet; general file arranged by document type; correspondence, theses, seminar papers, and student papers arranged in reverse chronological order. The IIT Series is divided into five subseries. The general file (1938-1964), which consists of memoranda, minutes, forms, and lists, is concerned with curriculum planning and has student and faculty working files. The correspondence subseries (1939-1966) contains recommendations, application requests, inquiries regarding city planning, and information about IIT. The publications subseries (1943-1966) includes announcements, brochures, catalogues, leaflets, newsletters, press releases, and programs describing the activities at IIT. The fourth subseries includes IIT theses and seminar papers (1934-1965) for the Architecture and Planning (City and Regional Planning) Department. A 1934 Bauhaus student paper is included in the file. Another notable thesis is Alfred Caldwell's The City in the Landscape, which was a collaborative lecture with Hilberseimer and became the basis of Hilberseimer's Chicago planning studies. The final subseries is Student Papers (1942-1965), including Illinois Institute of Technology students and Technische Hochschule Berlin students. See also Photographs Series 10/1.

SERIES IV: PROFESSIONAL PAPERS (1906-1965). 2.5 linear feet The Professional Associations subseries (1933-1966) is arranged alphabetically and in reverse chronological sequence. It includes minutes, notices, membership cards, certificates, and reports of associations that Hilberseimer belonged to such as the Association of Bauhaus Archives, the Burnham Library Committee (1947-1959), the AIA, and CIAM. The second subseries (1921-1966) includes items collected about various associates and colleagues such as Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Peter Friedrich, Alfred Caldwell, John U. Nef, and Frank Lloyd Wright. They include typescripts, manuscripts, publications, clippings, reports and charts. These files are arranged by personal name (N.B.: John Nef's name is out of alphabetical order.) and subdivided by document type, chronologically. The third subseries (1932-1946) consists of Hilberseimer's teaching notes dating mostly in the early 1940s. The bulk of these notes are charts on sun orientation studies. A Bauhaus-Berlin study program with manuscript notations in Hilberseimer's hand is included. The fourth subseries, General File (1906-1960), contains miscellaneous notes and clippings, arranged in reverse chronological sequence.

SERIES V: EXHIBITIONS (1943-1958). 0.5 linear foot; arranged alphabetically by document type. The exhibit, "Planning in the U.S.A." (Urbanisme aux Òtats-Unis), Paris, Le Havre, February 20-April, 1958, was planned by Hilberseimer through IIT to present the development of cities in the United States. The papers include accounts, bills, clippings, manuscript notes, typescripts, correspondence, and catalogue. See also Photographs Series 10/1

SERIES VI: PROJECTS (1941-1966). 1.5 linear feet; arranged by project. Correspondence, brochures, diagrams, maps, reports, typescripts, and housing code leaflets describe Hilberseimer's involvement in the Chicago Planning Project during the 1950s (Southside Planning Board, Evergreen Cooperative, Marquette Park); the Chicago Area Regional Plan in the 1960s; Gratiot (Lafayette Park) in Detroit and the Tri-County Regional Plan of Greater Lansing area, during the 1950s and 1960s. These projects illustrate Hilberseimer's planning approaches to mixed housing, low-income housing, density standards, traffic problems, and land use. See also Photographs Series 10/1.

SERIES VII: REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR (1961-1965) .5 linear foot; arranged alphabetically by document type; correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name and subdivided chronologically by day The papers include bills, correspondence, reports, typescript of lectures, a map of Mexico, and business cards. They reflect Hilberseimer's participation in the Regional Development Seminar, March 12-17, 1962, Mexico City, sponsored by the Industrial Production Center of Mexico and Mexican Planning Society. The correspondence includes the translation activities of Efrain Medrano for Hilberseimer's The Human Element (Entfaltung einer Planungsidee). This file continues in Series 2, Correspondence.

SERIES VIII: LITERARY WORKS (1914-1967). 9.5 linear feet; arranged chronologically; manuscripts written by other authors are arranged alphabetically by author. Included are manuscripts, typescripts, and copies of books and articles written by Hilberseimer, and typescripts by other authors. The Hilberseimer manuscripts are both published and unpublished. Bibliographic entries have been added to the manuscripts that were eventually published. Published articles written by other authors are housed in Series 9/3. 8/1 and 8/2. Manuscripts for Hilberseimer's published books include Groszstadt Architektur, Beton als Gestalter, The New City and its variations, The New Regional Pattern, The Nature of Cities, Mies van der Rohe, Contemporary Architecture, Entfaltung einer Planungsidee including its unpublished version in English, and Berliner Architektur der 20er Jahre in English and German. Unpublished book manuscripts include City and Region, City Architecture, City as Idea, Architecture, Structure and Form, and Physical Planning. A Text Book. Most of these unpublished manuscripts are versions of The New City. 8/3. Manuscripts and published articles written by Hilberseimer span his entire career as a writer. Work such as his Schoepfung and Entwiklung, Anmerkungen zur neuen Kunst, Vorschlag zur City Bebauung, and The Elements of City Planning, describe Hilberseimer's activities as art critic and book reviewer in Germany, and city planner. Included in this subseries are manuscripts and clippings from the German publication Sozialistische Monatshefte (1919-1932) to which Hilberseimer contributed regularly. 8/4. Manuscripts (1918-1963) written by other authors and collected by Hilberseimer are primarily concerned with the art movements in the 1920s and 1930s, and reviews of architectural exhibits and advances shown through individual projects as described by the Deutscher Werkbund and other artist association members such as Hugo Häring, Bruno Taut, and Martin Maechler. 8/5. Metal printing plates (1940s, 1963) for several illustrations in Hilberseimer's books. See Photographs Series 10/2 for book and article illustrations.

SERIES IX: PRINTED MATERIALS. 10.5 linear feet. The subseries include collected books, periodicals/newsletters, published articles, reprints, newspapers, newspaper and magazine clippings, cartoons, and maps. These documents served as research material for Hilberseimer's various activities and reflect his work as critic, writer, teacher, city planner, and architect. 9/1. Books are arranged alphabetically by author. Most were published in the 1920s and 1930s, reflecting Hilberseimer's work as art and book critic. 9/2. The periodicals are classified according to subject: the arts, Bauhaus, and architecture or general (with foreign language and English subdivisions). Each subseries is arranged alphabetically by title, then chronologically. The bulk of the publications is concentrated in the 1920s and 1930s. See also Photographs Series 10/2 for illustrations. 9/3 and 9/4. Articles and reprints collected by Hilberseimer, arranged alphabetically by author or chronologically, respectively. The articles are written by architects, artists, critics, and authors of fiction concerning exhibits, new architectural structures, and social problems in planning metropolitan and emerging suburban areas. Sources are various, representing trade, literary and popular periodicals, dating 1927-1966. Included is an article Die Wohnung (1927) on Hilberseimer and Mies van der Rohe, regarding the Wiessenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart. 9/5. The complete issues of newspapers are housed in portfolios, arranged by geographical area, subdivided by subject (arts, labor, or general), and arranged chronologically by year. Most of the newspapers contain architectural reviews and were published in Berlin. Some of the newspaper articles mention or illustrate Hilberseimer's work. A few of his articles are in Werkbund Gedanken, Freizeitung, Zentralbatt der Eauen, Technisches Blatt der Frankfurter, and 8 Uhr Abendblatt. 9/6. The clippings, most published in the 1920s and 1930s, cover current art and architectural exhibits, books, films, theatre, and popular public programs. The newspaper clippings are arranged chronologically. Magazine clippings, arranged by subject, show individual structures, examples of density problems, and kitsch; pictures of personal interest and those of city and regional area studies possibly to be used as illustrations for Hilberseimer's publications. The cartoons are either political in nature or about architecture. 9/7. City and regional maps, arranged alphabetically by geographical area, present sectional views and/or their surrounding environs. They usually describe transportation access or land use. The bulk of the maps dates from the 1930s and 1940s and is of Berlin.

SERIES X: PHOTOGRAPHS (early 1900s-1963). 13.25 linear feet; arranged by subject. 10/1. Included are subseries consisting of personal photographs; building projects by Hilberseimer and other architects such as Mies van der Rohe; IIT and related photographs; exhibitions (1900-1958); and research. Although the bulk of this subseries is photographs, it does contain a few 35mm slides. 10/2. Photographs used as illustrations for Hilberseimer's publications roughly follow the chronology of the publication dates of the related manuscripts. 10/3. Film negatives for images of personal interest; IIT student theses illustrations; and illustrations used for publications. 10/4. The collected commercial postcards consist of pictures taken for special Bauhaus and Deutscher Werkbund exhibitions (1927), museum art postcards, souvenir cards, and scenes of buildings and cities possibly to be used as illustrations for Hilberseimer's publications.

SERIES XI: MEMORIAL FILE (1947-1995). .5 linear foot. Hilberseimer's obituary; speeches, clippings and correspondence relating to memorial program May 1967.

SERIES XII: ESTATE AND POSTHUMOUS PAPERS (1966-1990). 1 linear foot. Estate activity (correspondence, court forms, tax forms, and transfer of materials to Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin); publications activity with publishers in Western Europe and the United States (correspondence, forms, contracts, royalty/bank receipts); and posthumous papers (material on Hilberseimer from after his death).

  • NamesHilberseimer, Ludwig
  • Subject
    • Hilberseimer, Ludwig--Archives
    • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969
    • Illinois Institute of Technology
    • Bauhaus
    • City planning--Illinois--Chicago--History--Sources
    • City planners--Illinois--Chicago--Archives
    • Architecture--Illinois--Chicago--20th century--Sources
    • Architects--Illinois--Chicago--Archives












The Department of Textiles holds a group of Bauhaus textiles from the Hilberseimer collection.

The Department of Textiles holds a group of Bauhaus textiles from the Hilberseimer collection.

Portions of this collection are restricted and are so identified in the series inventories. The remainder of this collection may be used by qualified readers in the Reading Room of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at The Art Institute of Chicago. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained in off-site storage will be retrieved with advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule. For further information, consult http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchaccess.html

Mr. Danforth, executor of Hilberseimer's estate, transferred all literary rights to the Art Institute. The Art Institute of Chicago is providing access to the materials in the Libraries' collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of the Art Institute is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Archivist, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to permission from the Art Institute, permission of the copyright owner (if not the Art Institute) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distribution, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. The Art Institute makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer Papers, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

This collection was a gift to The Art Institute of Chicago from George E. Danforth in 1983. Additional items were donated by Erdmann Schmocker in memory of Chan Kim Nguyen in September 2012, and the Erdmann Schmocker Estate and an anonymous donor, in honor of Professor Ludwig Hilberseimer and Erdmann Schmocker, in 2012.

The collection was processed by staff of the Ryerson and Burnham Archives. The finding aid was revised and expanded by Annemarie van Roessel in 2003, Nathaniel Parks in 2013, and Heather Tennison in 2014.

An alphabetical name index to the correspondence in this collection is appended at the end of this finding aid.