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Paul Gapp Collection

Manuscript Collection No.166

Overview | Biography | Scope and Content | Container List


10 cu.ft. in 33 boxes. 1950-1994.

Provenance: The Ohio University Library received the Paul Gapp Collection from M.J. Gapp in two shipments, the greater part in 1993 with a smaller addition in 1994. Alison Kougios did the preliminary arrangement of the collection during the 1993- 94 school year; Lisa A. Howell completed the arrangement and prepared the final inventory in Summer 1994.

Property Rights: The Ohio University Library owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyright: The donor has retained all applicable copyrights. Consideration of all other copyrights and possible literary rights is the responsibility of the researcher and publisher.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Ohio University Library.

Duplication: The Ohio University Library will entertain requests to photocopy reasonable amounts of material from the collection for the convenience of individual researchers.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection name and number, and the Ohio University Library in all footnotes and bibliographical references.

Related Materials: The department also houses two books by Mr. Gapp. These are: Paul Gapp's Chicago (1980) and The American City (1981). In addition, original stamps from his work with the S.Allan Taylor Society are kept in the department's Original Signatures files.

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Journalist Paul Gapp was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 26, 1928. He attended Garfield Heights (OH) High School and graduated from Ohio University in 1950 with a degree in journalism.

After graduation, Gapp took a position at the copy desk of the Columbus Dispatch (OH). He was soon promoted to the reporting staff of the Dispatch, and in 1955 became the editor of the Dispatch's Sunday Magazine.

In 1956 Gapp moved to Chicago, where he would live for the remainder of his life. In Chicago, Gapp held a number of positions with newspapers and public relations firms. From 1956 to 1966 he worked for the now defunct Chicago Daily News in the capacities of reporter, editorial writer, and feature editor. In 1966 Gapp took a position as Executive Director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), then joined the public relations firm Dale O'Brien & Company in early 1967, with primary responsibility for publicity for the John Hancock Center building project in Chicago. In 1969 Gapp left Dale O'Brien to become Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-President of Public Affairs at the University of Chicago, where he directed the Urban Journalism Fellowship Program until 1972.

In 1972 Gapp went to work for the Chicago Tribune, first as the Assistant City Editor for Urban Affairs, and later as the Tribune's first architecture critic. It was in the latter capacity that Gapp received the greatest acclaim. He was known not only for the accuracy of his critical eye, but also for his ability to translate his criticism into a language that the layman could understand and appreciate.

He won several awards for his work including a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1979. Gapp continued to write for the Tribune until his death from lung cancer complicated by emphysema on July 30, 1992.

Gapp held a number of institutional affiliations, reflecting his honored position among architects and journalists as well as other interests outside of journalism. He was the Executive Director of the Chicago Chapter and Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects from 1966-1967, and was made an honorary member of that same institution in 1989. He was an honorary member of the Architect's Club of Chicago. Gapp served on the board of directors for the National Building Museum from 1980-1983, and was a member of the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council (Chicago) from 1968-70.

One of Gapp's little known interests was stamps. This interest is reflected in his memberships in the American Philatelic Society and the South African Philatelic Fraternity (honorary). In addition, Gapp was the founder and first president (1963-1976) of the S. Allan Taylor Society, "an international society devoted to the collection of fantasies, locals, bogus issues, seals, fiscals, and other esoterica commonly known as 'Cinderella' material" as stated in the society's newsletter. The S. Allan Taylor Society is still in existence, according to The Encyclopedia of Associations (1993).

In addition to his Pulitzer in 1979, Gapp was the recipient of a number of other awards. Among them were: the Associated Press Award for best news reporting in 1965 and 1977, the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Orchid Award in 1980, the Distinguished Alumnus Medal from Ohio University in 1980, the United Press International Award for feature writing in 1981, the Art World Award for distinguished criticism in 1983, and the Chicago Architecture Award from the Chicago Architecture Foundation in 1987.

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The Paul Gapp Collection encompasses a variety of materials relating to Gapp's career as a journalist, his stint as a public relations consultant, his personal history: including obituaries, eulogies, personal financial records such as check stubs from speaking engagements, awards, and travel expenses, and a number of resumes; correspondence, both professional and personal; information related to his receipt of numerous awards, including his 1979 Pulitzer Prize for criticism; his affiliation with architectural and journalistic associations; and his interest in stamp collecting.

The bulk of the collection consists of Gapp's published writings. These writings span Gapp's career including pieces from the Columbus Dispatch, the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Tribune plus articles that appeared in various journals and magazines. They cover a wide range of topics from the expected realm of architecture criticism to editorials, movie reviews (most often for the magazine Today), pieces about the John Hancock Center (Chicago), articles written as Director of Urban Affairs for the University of Chicago, off beat series such as one about marriage counselors written by Gapp and Lois Wille for the Daily News in 1964, and Gapp's last piece on the controversial Picasso sculpture in front of the Chicago Civic Center. These articles are retained in magazine, newspaper, clipping, and typescript forms.

Clippings have been photocopied in order to preserve them. In addition to the finished or draft copies of articles, the collection also contains Gapp's notes and research on a number of pieces. In cases where these research materials were already organized into obvious thematic groupings, that organization has been retained by placing these materials in special sets under the Published Writings series. Other notes and printed materials Gapp used to write his articles can be found in the Miscellaneous series.

Other materials of special interest include Gapp's lectures and speeches from 1974-1990; a series on stamps which includes several volumes of the S. Allan Taylor Society Journal, which he edited, samples of stamps, and articles about stamps and stamp collecting written by Gapp under the pen name "Helmuth Conrad"; and a series containing a number of slides and photographs: some related to lectures delivered by Gapp, some photos of Gapp at various functions and award ceremonies, and some miscellaneous. Although the description of the contents of the slide series is general, each slide in the series is labeled.

Some of the materials in the Miscellaneous series are also of special note. For instance: there are sets containing information on an Illinois congressional campaign for candidates Anthony Scariano and Mary Lee Inger in which it appears Gapp had some type of managerial role; there are a number of items dealing with Gapp's participation on the committee handling the 1976-1978 remodeling of the Chicago Tribune building; and there are materials related to the law suit filed by Donald Trump against Gapp and the Tribune for an article Gapp wrote in 1984 criticizing Trump's proposal to build a 150 story building in Manhattan. In addition to these, there are issues of newspapers that Gapp kept for personal reasons. Among them are several issues focussing on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November, 1963.

The materials of the Paul Gapp Collection are arranged in the following series. Many are divided further into subseries (termed "sets") for greater clarification.

1. Personal/Biographical Records
Stories from Ohio University
Gapp at the University of Chicago
Dale O'Brien
Chicago Tribune
American Institute of Architects
2. Awards and Honors
Pulitzer Prize
Other Awards
3. Correspondence
Letters to the Editor (Gapp), Chicago Daily News
Correspondence Regarding Freelance Articles
Memos, Chicago Daily News
Letters to the Editor (Tribune) about Gapp's Work
4. Lectures and Speeches
Texts, Drafts, and Notes
Correspondence and Schedules
Advertisements, Posters, Flyers
Articles about Gapp's Speeches
5. Published Writings
Special Series, Juvenile Delinquency
Special Series, Marriage Counselors
Special Series, Chicago Transit Authority
Special Series, Chicago Landmarks
Special Series, Museum of Contemporary Art
Special Series, Picasso (Gapp's last story)
Hardcopies of Gapp's Articles
Magazine Articles
Newspapers, Tearsheets
Newpapers, Sections
Newspapers, Magazine Sections
6. Stamps
S. Allan Taylor Society
Articles by Gapp under Pen Name "Helmuth Conrad"
Samples of Stamps
Miscellaneous Information
7. Miscellaneous
Anthony Scariano and Mary Lee Inger, 1958 Illinois House of Representatives Campaigns
John Hancock Center
Tribune Building Redesign
Donald Trump Case
Notes and Research Materials for Articles
Miscellaneous Printed Materials
Articles not Written by Gapp
Reviews of Gapp's Work
8. Photographs
9. Slides
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