Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Carl Smith  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction



Illinois Connection

Smith is a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston.

Biographical and Professional Information

Carl Smith is the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern University. In collaboration with Academic and Research Technologies at Northwestern and the Chicago History Museum, he is author/curator of two major online exhibitions, ''The Great Chicago Fire'' and the ''Web of Memory and The Dramas of Haymarket''. He is one of the founders of the Program in American Studies at Northwestern, which he has served multiple times as director or associate director. In 1994 he was named Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920
ISBN: 0226763722

Univ of Chicago Pr. 1984

Combines literary study with social and intellectual history. 232 pages. University of Chicago Press, 1984. Paperback.

Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman
ISBN: 0226764176

University Of Chicago Press. 1996

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Haymarket bombing of 1886, and the making and unmaking of the model town of Pullman—these remarkable events in what many considered the quintessential American city forced people across the country to confront the disorder that seemed inevitably to accompany urban growth and social change. In this book, Carl Smith explores the imaginative dimensions of these events as he traces the evolution of beliefs that increasingly linked city, disorder, and social reality in the minds of Americans. Studying a remarkable range of writings and illustrations, as well as protests, public gatherings, trials, hearings, and urban reform and construction efforts, Smith argues that these three events—and the public awareness of the them—not only informed one another, but collectively shaped how Americans saw, and continue to see, the city.

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago Visions and Revisions)
ISBN: 0226764710

University of Chicago Press. 2006

Arguably the most influential document in the history of urban planning, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, coauthored by Edward Bennett and produced in collaboration with the Commercial Club of Chicago, proposed many of the city’s most distinctive features, including its lakefront parks and roadways, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier. Carl Smith’s fascinating history reveals the Plan’s central role in shaping the ways people envision the cityscape and urban life itself.

Smith’s concise and accessible narrative begins with a survey of Chicago’s stunning rise from a tiny frontier settlement to the nation’s second-largest city. He then offers an illuminating exploration of the Plan’s creation and reveals how it embodies the renowned architect’s belief that cities can and must be remade for the better. The Plan defined the City Beautiful movement and was the first comprehensive attempt to reimagine a major American city. Smith points out the ways the Plan continues to influence debates, even a century after its publication, about how to create a vibrant and habitable

urban environment.

Richly illustrated and incisively written, his insightful book will be indispensable to our understanding of Chicago, Daniel Burnham, and the emergence of the modern city.

City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago
ISBN: 022615159X

University of Chicago Press. 2014

A city is more than a massing of citizens, a layout of buildings and streets, or an arrangement of political, economic, and social institutions. It is also an infrastructure of ideas that are a support for the beliefs, values, and aspirations of the people who created the city. In City Water, City Life, celebrated historian Carl Smith explores this concept through an insightful examination of the development of the first successful waterworks systems in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago between the 1790s and the 1860s. By examining the place of water in the nineteenth-century consciousness, Smith illuminates how city dwellers perceived themselves during the great age of American urbanization.

But City Water, City Life is more than a history of urbanization.

It is also a refreshing meditation on water as a necessity, as a resource for commerce and industry, and as an essential—and central—part of how we define our civilization.


-- '''''Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief