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Distinguished Geographer Lecture – Chicago Diagrammed: Frank Glossop as an Applied Geographer after the Great Fire of 1871

Wednesday, April 13, 3:00 pm4:00 pm


Michael Conzen is professor of geography at the University of Chicago. He graduated in geography from Cambridge University in England, and holds two master’s degrees (in history and geography) and a Ph.D. in geography (1972) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. After teaching initially at Boston University, he has served on the Chicago faculty since 1976. His interests include American historical and urban geography, and cartographic history, international urban morphology, and the role of mapmaking in public communication and education.

In his talk on Frank Glossop as an unusual figure in the history of American commercial cartography, Dr. Conzen asks how did Chicagoans recover from the catastrophe of the Great Fire of 1871, which destroyed one-third of the city and its entire downtown, and how did Glossop come to invent a new type of cartographic guide to the city’s commercial core which helped it regain its crucial footing during the following explosive growth over the next century and a half. Conzen argues that Glossop represents an intriguing example of a new kind of “applied geographer” who made a difference in the spatial efficiency of the city’s beating heart at a critical moment in its storied history.


Wednesday, April 13
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm