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Reginald R. Isaacs papers, circa 1842-1991, (bulk 1883-1985)

Biographical Note

Born in Canada in 1911, Reginald R. Isaacs began working in architectural offices at age 14, later coming under the influence of "Beaux-Arts diplomes" at the University of Minnesota and Harvard and subsequently under that of Walter Gropius at Harvard University. He later studied sociology and planning at the University of Chicago under Louis Wirth and Rexford Guy Tugwell.
Isaacs served on the staffs of city planning commissions in Minneapolis, Syracuse, and Chicago, and in the federal government in the National Youth Agency, Public Housing Authority, and Housing and Home Finance Agency. His architectural practice in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other cities included the design of housing, colleges, and hospitals. He was director of planning and development for Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, 1945-1953, where Walter Gropius, planner Walter Blucher, and sociologist Louis Wirth collaborated with him as consultants. He was a United Nations expert on regional planning in South America, and a planning consultant for the Ford Foundation, the U.S. State Department, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Recommended by Walter Gropius, Isaacs served as the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning at Harvard University from 1953-1978. He was also Chairman of the Graduate School of Design's Departments of City and Regional Planning as well as Landscape Architecture. Throughout his career he lectured at universities throughout the United States and in almost every country of Central and South America and in the Caribbean.
In 1962 Isaacs and Gropius began their collaboration on Walter Gropius: The Man and his Work, until the death of Gropius in 1969. The first volume of the biography was published in German in 1983, with the second volume following in 1984. Isaacs died of a massive heart attack in 1986, never realizing his goal to see an English-language edition which was published posthumously in 1991 by the Estate of Reginald Isaacs.
1911
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
1935
Received Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota
1939
Received Masters of Architecture degree from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
1947-1950
Studied sociology and planning with Louis Wirth and Rexford Guy Tugwell at the University of Chicago
1945-1953
Director of planning at Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
1951-1953
Guest lecturer at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design with Walter Gropius and also served a two-year term as a member of the Board of Overseers Committee to Visit the Graduate School of Design
1953-1978
Named the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning
1953-1964
Chairman of the Department of City and Regional Planning
1953-1958
Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture
1962
Began collaboration with Walter Gropius on the biography Walter Gropius - The Man and his Work
1969
Walter Gropius dies
1983
Walter Gropius, Der Mensch und Sein Werk, Volume 1 published by Gebr. Mann Nerlag, Berlin
1984
Walter Gropius, Der Mensch und Sein Werk, Volume 2, published by Gebr. Mann Nerlag, Berlin
1986
Isaacs dies
1991
Walter Gropius: An Illustrated Biography of the Creator of the Bauhaus, published by the Estate of Reginald Isaacs. The Papers of Reginald R. Isaacs donated to the Archives of American Art by his son, Henry Isaacs.