John Reps (1921–2020)

John Reps is a historian of urban planning and an authority on American urban iconography. His book, The Making of Urban America (1965), was followed by five books exploring in more detail the origin and subsequent growth of towns and cities in the southeast and west. He has also written another half-dozen studies about 19th-century printed views of American cities, identifying the artists who created them, and explaining how they were drawn, printed, published, sold, and used.  

Reps headed the CRP program from 1951–64. In 1996, citing him as the father of modern American city planning history, the American Planning Association designated him a Planning Pioneer. In 1985 the University of Nebraska conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts and Letters. Earlier that year the University of Georgia appointed him one of six Bicentennial Distinguished Visiting Professors. In 1984 the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning recognized him with its biennial award for Distinguished Service to Education in Planning.

Reps received his A.B. degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1943, and was awarded his master's degree from Cornell in 1947.

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Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Dwight L. Smith Award of the Western History Association for Best Bibliography or Research Tool (2008)
  • Ewell L. Newman Award of the American Historical Print Collectors Society for best book on American historical prints (1990, 2007)
  • Beveridge Prize of the American Historical Association for the best book on American History (1980)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Practice of Planning Award by the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Institute of Planners (1968)
  • Fellowships: Guggenheim (1958), Eisenhower (1959), Fulbright (1965–66), and National Endowment for the Humanities (1973–74)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Bastides, photographs taken by Reps in 1951, 1966, and 1971 of the planned towns of 13th-century southwestern France, as part of the national conference on Green Cities. Hartell Gallery, Cornell (1998)
  • An Ideal City? Principal Curatorial Adviser to the National Library of Australia and the Australian Archives for the exhibit of plans entered in the Canberra competition of 1912 (1995)
  • Cities on Stone, author of exhibition essay and catalog for exhibit sponsored by the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas and shown at six other museums (1976–78)

Publications (Selected)

  • John Caspar Wild: Painter and Printmaker of Nineteenth-Century Urban America (2006)
  • Cities of the American West (1974) 
  • The Making of Urban America: A History of City Planning in the United States (1965, third printing 1992)
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