About the John Herrick Archives

Click here to use the image browser for the Herrick Archives


John H. Herrick was associated with The Ohio State University as a student, faculty member, administrator, and retired administrator for 60 years. He came to the University in 1920, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in education in 1928, a Master's degree in 1936, and a Doctorate degree in 1944. John Herrick served as head administrator of University Campus and Facilities Planning after it was established by former OSU President Fawcett. He was considered by his peers to be of the leading professionals in campus and facilities planning in the United States.

After his retirement in 1972, Herrick continued to donate his time and efforts to Ohio State, without compensation, for another 18 years. According to one account he spent an estimated 5500 hours recording detailed information on over 1500 buildings. Herrick located and placed in the archives more than 300 historical maps showing campus development over the years and wrote a history of the Oval, Mirror Lake Hollow, and continued to engage in campus planning activities.

While doing research for one of his books, Herrick learned that the records of campus buildings were incomplete and unclear. Herrick resolved that he would try to determine the dates associated with each building as well as who built, planned, moved and destroyed every building that ever stood on campus. From 1970 to 1980, he voluntarily worked three hours a day, five days a week to pull this information together. Using an office provided him by the University; he studied old maps, minutes from past Board of Trustee's meetings, old telephone directories, old photographs and gathered accounts of "old timer’s memories and diaries." His resulting records consist of the indexed names of all the structures for which he found references, a brief report about each building including such specific information as location, type of construction, size, names of the architects involved, bid dates, contractors, completion date, and date of demolition. These records (what we now call the Herrick Archives) were typed and then complied into a set of three-ring binders. Copies of these can be found in various locations including: the Columbus Public Library, the Ohio State University Library, the Knowlton School of Architecture, the Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio State University Archives, and the Office of Facility Planning and Development. It is not easily accessible and, although it is a unique and unprecedented resource, it is relatively unknown.

The Herrick Archives, combined with the Photography Archive established by University Architect Joseph N. Bradford after he retired in 1933, present what is likely the most complete record of a university campus to be found anywhere in the world.

The Herrick Archives was converted to an electronic format in the 2000s in order to permit users to search, browse, and access the over 2,000-record archives.

(later history)

By making the Herrick Archives available online, the primary goal is to present Herrick’s work to a larger audience and make it accessible via the Web. The project team extended Herrick’s data to include structures added, modified or demolished from 1988 to the 2011. Data from 2011 to the present still remains to be added, but it is the staff's intention to do so.

This project was conceived of by Professor Emeritus Paul Young, Jr., a faculty member in Architecture for over 30 years. Professor Young was impressed and inspired by Herrick’s work, which lead him to seek funding and assembled a team of people interested in continuing and extending the valuable resource that Herrick had begun.


The current collection is maintained by the staff of the Digital Library.

The original team's primary developers were staff members at the Knowlton School of Architecture: Matt Bernhardt, former IT staff member and Lorrie McAllister, former Visual Resources Curator. Others that advised or participated in program development are Paul Young, Professor Emeritus, Knowlton School of Architecture and Jill Morelli, University Architect. The Herrick Archives was reformatted by students working under Lorrie McAllister’s guidance over a two year period. Kent State University Library and Information Science students Matt Ogborn and Jami Miller, as well as OSU student Emilie Downing also participated.

(components and use)

The original site was intended to provide a highly functional tool for continuing the work of Professor John H. Herrick. As much as possible, the spirit of that work is preserved, including preserving the simple presentation format, data structures,and indexes. Development will be approached modularly, further ensuring the sustainability and extensibility of the resource.

The project consists of four components:

1. A database built modularly to allow for future expansion

2. A straightforward, public interface for searching and exploring the data

3. A private, administrative interface that allows for easy records maintenance, and site administration

4. Auxiliary tools and pathways to complementary resources that will extend the usefulness of the site

This resource is accessible to the public.

(recent updates)

Due to the degradation of the platform which housed the original Herrick Archives website, the Herrick archives data is being ported into the Knowlton Digital Library v. 3.0. By taking this action, the Digital Library staff can more easily maintain and preserve this valuable data.


The Ohio State University Archives

The Ohio State University Archives identifies, preserves, and makes available the documentation of continuing and historical value to the University. In addition, the University Archives provides archival services for the Byrd Polar Research Center and the John Glenn Institute. The Archives consists of four divisions: Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program; John Glenn Archives; University Manuscripts; and University Photo Archives.

OSU Interactive Historical Campus Map

The interactive map displays the changes taking place on OSU's main campus from its founding in 1870 through 2001.

OSU Facilities Planning & Development

The Office of Facility Planning and Development (FPD) is a department within University Business and Finance. FPD oversees the building program, manages space, develops master plans, handles land transactions of all kinds, and serves a key role in the conceptual development of projects for the Columbus campus and remote facilities of The Ohio State University.

OSU Master Plans

The documents on this site form a comprehensive history of campus planning at OSU. Among the documents is ""Chapter 2: History that Shaped Campus"", an account of decisions that influenced early campus planning.