UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences

 

Date of this Version

2018

Document Type

Poster

Abstract

This undergraduate research project under the direction of Dr. Rumiko Handa and Dr. James Potter of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln is focused on the Erik Larson book, The Devil in the White City. The book focuses on fictionalized historical events surrounding the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The project is a part of “Architecture in the Humanities,” an online relational database that connects architecture with literature, theater, film, and art. Literature has the ability to make historical architecture accessible to the contemporary readers. Often the architecture sets the scene for events, but its relevance goes unnoticed. This database holds significance for students, educators and researchers as well as the general public. For those participating in academia, extracting architectural information and making it easily accessible can assist in research or act as a teaching aid. For the general public, the database is a place to connect the fictional with actual, satisfying curiosity in addition to highlighting the relevance of architecture. The nearly 87 buildings, engineering feats, and pavilions that are featured in The Devil in the White City, illustrate a historical time period of competition, vice, and misfortune, contrasting with the idyllic architecture of the exposition. By adding this book to the existing database, the architecture of the Exposition and of 19th-century Chicago becomes accessible. To translate the architectural information onto the database, I first read the book and notated every time a building or architect is mentioned. I then created a spreadsheet with the architecture and the architect. Next, I located architecture drawings (plans, sections, elevations) and photographs that illustrate the work, and digitally documented and sourced them. Finally, I uploaded the database with the aforementioned information.

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