SAHARA Highlights: Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago

by Jacqueline Spafford and Jeffrey Klee, SAHARA Co-Editors | Jun 20, 2017

This month we’re highlighting one of SAHARA’s successful institutional partnerships: the Ryerson & Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago. The nearly 300 images include many architectural jewels: Chicago homes and institutions (many since demolished), sites across the US, and beyond. Most were photographed in the late 19th century. SAH Executive Director Pauline Saliga coordinated this contribution with the following people, and would like to thank them for their work and generosity: Jack Perry Brown, the former Director of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, who agreed to generously share a selection of the Library’s digitized images with SAHARA; the former Architectural Archivist at the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Mary Woolever, who made the selection; and current Architectural Archivist Nathaniel Parks, who uploaded, mapped metadata, and oversaw the technical work.  

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R.H. White Company, 518-536 Washington St, Boston.  Built 1876, demolished c. 1978.  Architects: Peabody & Stearns.  Photographed by Albert Levy, c. 1890.

The Auditorium Building at 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Adler & Sullivan, 1886-1890.  This photo shows “John Vinci working on a stencil recovery project” during the 1954-63 restoration.  Photographer: Richard Nickel.

The library of the Franklin MacVeagh Residence, H.H. Richardson, 1885-1887.  The residence stood at 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago; it was demolished in 1922.  Photo: C. Allgeier, c. 1890.

The Parson John Williams Residence, Deerfield, Massachusetts, c. 1760.  Hand-tinted lantern slide, photographed by Frederick O. Bemm, ca. 1900-14.

The vestibule and grand staircase of the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail, 436 Grant St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Architect: H.H. Richardson, 1884-1888.  Photographed by J. W. Taylor, c. 1890s.

Aaron Siskind photographing the Max M. Rothschild Building, Chicago, c. 1953.  Photographer: Richard Nickel.

The Butler Brothers warehouse buildings, 111 N. Canal Street (view from the Randolph St. bridge), Chicago.  Architects: D.H. Burnham & Co, 1913.  Photographed by J.W. Taylor, 1913-16.

Marengo Public School, Marengo, Illinois.   Built c. 1880s, demolished 1993.  Architects: Adler & Sullivan.  Photographer: Richard Nickel


Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610