Volume 13, Issue 3

Collaborating to Exhibit the Story of Ladislas Segoe

Ladislas Segoe
Ladislas Segoe

What started as a phone call from one UC colleague to another has resulted in a traveling and online exhibition and publication celebrating the life and career of a pioneer in urban planning, Ladislas Segoe. In the Public Interest: The Life and Work of Regional Planning Pioneer Ladislas Segoe (1894-1983) is on exhibit in the Phillip M. Meyers, Jr. Memorial Gallery inside the Steger Student Life Center through April 5, 2015. A digital collection of the items in the exhibit has been created and is available online at https://drc.libraries.uc.edu/handle/2374.UC/743629 along with an online exhibition at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/blogs/segoe/. In addition, a publication about the exhibit is available for purchase at http://www.bookwire.com/books/all?query=978-1-4951-4088-4&pn=1&ps=20.

The Western Hills Viaduct and Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal are two important landmarks called for in the 1925 Official Plan of the City of Cincinnati. Created by urban planner Ladislas Segoe along with local lawyer Alfred Bettman and fellow planners George B. Ford and Ernest P. Goodrich, the plan is monumental in that it made Cincinnati the first major U.S. city to have a comprehensive urban plan. With numerous other groundbreaking achievements including supervising the first federal study of urban America and writing the most influential planning text of the first half of the 20th century, Segoe had a long, successful career in city planning spanning over four decades and through interesting times for cities including the Great Depression, WWII, urban renewal of the 1950s and civil unrest in the 1960s.

In the Public Interest includes maps, sketches and images that show not only Segoe’s professional work, but also give insight into the man. The exhibit is the result of international collaboration that has involved many faculty, experts and staff across the University of Cincinnati, Cornell University and the Technion in Haifa, Israel. The project began in late 2012 when David J. Edelman, professor of planning in the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) approached Jennifer Krivickas, head of the Robert A. Deshon and Karl J Schlachter Library for Design, Architecture, Art and Planning about the feasibility of a retrospective exhibition focused on the life and work of Segoe, whose complete collection of professional and personal papers are housed in UC Libraries’ Archives and Rare Books Library and in the Cornell University Archives. Jay Chatterjee, Dean Emeritus of DAAP, was instrumental in the Archives and Rare Books Library’s initial acquisition of Segoe material. Other Segoe documents were added to the collection when they were discovered in the sub-basement on Cincinnati’s Fourth Street.

segoe_sect05_004Edelman and Krivickas got many others at UC involved in the project including Mark Carper, School of Planning PhD candidate, who began the preliminary archival research along with Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library, and Danilo Palazzo, professor and director of DAAP’s School of Planning, to discuss the logistics of the exhibit.

Vincent Sansalone, assistant professor of architecture and interior design, along with two graduate students, Jennifer Latessa and Sara Woolf, both in the School of Planning, met with key individuals from around UC without whose time, expertise and collaboration this project could not have happened: Suzanne Maggard Reller and Eira Tansey from the Archives and Rare Books Library who coordinated access and digitization respectively; Holly Prochaska, Ashleigh Schieszer and Jessica Ebert from the Preservation Lab; Nathan Tallman, UC Libraries digital collections strategist; and Carolyn Hansen, UC Libraries metadata librarian; and Aaron Cowan, director of the DAAP Gallery. Finally, Todd Timney, assistant professor of graphic communication, designed the complementary exhibition catalog.

“We hope that you enjoy the fruits of our efforts,” said Krivickas. “This collaboration is indicative of the sort of organization the University of Cincinnati is – one that values creating and sharing knowledge through thinking and working across the disciplines.”

After displaying at UC, the physical exhibition will travel and be displayed in the The Bibliowicz Family Gallery located in Milstein Hall at Cornell University in the fall of 2015 and in the Segoe Building at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in the spring of 2016. It was produced with significant support from the Ladislas and Vilma Segoe Family Foundation. For more information, contact Jennifer Krivickas at Jennifer.Krivickas@uc.edu or by phone at (513)556-1319.

To read more about the Ladislas Segoe, visit the online exhibition at: http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/blogs/segoe/. To learn about the work the Preservation Lab did to prepare the exhibit for display and for travel, visit their blog at http://blog.thepreservationlab.org/2015/02/pictures-and-more-for-an-exhibition/.