Harland Bartholomew

Born: Stoneham, Massachusetts, September 14, 1889

Died: Clayton, Missouri, December 2, 1989

After a brief period at Rutgers, Bartholomew was employed by the Technical Advisory Corporation of New York City, the first planning consulting firm in the U.S., in 1913. He became America's first full-time municipally employed planner at Newark, New Jersey, in 1914. In 1916, he moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a city plan engineer, and then opened his own firm, Bartholomew and Associates, in 1919. The firm systematized the approach to city planning, defining the field for an American clientele. It produced comprehensive city plans over two-to-four year periods, placing a "field man" in the community who would become known and trusted, and who would then stay on as the community's full-time city planner. Between 1919 and 1932, 50 comprehensive plans were prepared in this manner and the "colonization" of an American planning establishment was a reality.

An early advocate of slum clearance and redevelopment, Bartholomew advised on the Housing Act of 1937, the first legislatively-based American federal public housing program, and the Housing Act of 1949 that initiated the federal urban redevelopment program.

In 1953, Bartholomew was appointed chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, a position he held for seven years. As chairman, he was influential in preparing the studies that led to construction of the METRO subway system.

With the advent of the Housing Act of 1954 that provided a federal subsidy for the preparation of comprehensive plans, Bartholomew and Associates was well-positioned to dominate the field of potential plan providers. The firm prepared comprehensive plans for over 500 cities and counties, and completed over 6,000 professional assignments, including the site planning of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Arch in St. Louis and the statewide plan and zoning adopted by Hawaii in the 1970s. Bartholomew retired from the firm in 1965.


  • H. BARTHOLOMEW, Urban Land Uses... An Aid to Scientific Zoning Practice , Cambridge Massachusetts, 1932;
  • H. BARTHOLOMEW, The Present and Ultimate Effect of Decentralization Upon American Cities, Chicago, 1940;
  • H. BARTHOLOMEW, A History of City Planning in Washington D.C., Washington D.C., 1958;
  • H. BARTHOLOMEW (with JACK WOOD), Land Uses in American Cities, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1955;
  • E. LOVELACE, Harland Bartholomew: His Contributions to American Urban Planning, Urbana, Illinois, 1993.

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    Electronic Version by Stephen Best