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Norman J. Schlossman (1901-1990)

Dates of Interview:

March 12, 14, 19, 21; April 9, 1990

Location of Interview:

Schlossman's home in Highland Park, Illinois


Betty J. Blum

Length of Transcript:

133 pages
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Biographical Summary

Norman Schlossman was born in 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. He studied architecture at Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology), where he was awarded the prestigious Hutchinson Medal, and earned his bachelor's degree in 1921. The following year he took a job with the Chicago architectural firm Coolidge and Hodgdon, where he stayed until 1925. In that year, he left to form his own partnership with a fellow classmate from Armour, Jerrold Loebl. In 1947 Loebl and Schlossman invited Richard M. Bennett to join them, renaming the firm Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett. The firm was highly regarded for its design of the new community of Park Forest, Illinois, and for such suburban Chicago shopping centers as Old Orchard, Oakbrook, and Hawthorne. Schlossman retired from the firm, then known as Loebl, Schlossman and Hackl, in 1990. He served on numerous advisory boards, including the Armed Forces Housing Agency (1951-54), the Federal Housing Authority (1959-63), and several advisory boards in Highland Park, Illinois. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1951. Schlossman died in 1990 in Highland Park, Illinois.

Interview Highlights

Schlossman speaks about his early years; study at Armour Institute of Technology; travel in Europe (1922-23); working for Coolidge and Hodgdon; founding Loebl Schlossman; office building commissions; surviving the Depression; the Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, 1933-34; public housing; building the new town of Park Forest; shopping centers; Richard Bennett; the Chicago Civic Center (now Richard J. Daley Center). Appended to the oral history text is a letter Schlosssman wrote on May 22, 1963, from Mougins, France, describing his experiences when he traveled there to meet Picasso.

Travel sketch of the Arch of Constantine, Rome; 1923.
Department of Architecture, The Art Institute of Chicago

Town of Park Forest; Park Forest, Illinois, 1946-1952.
Photo courtesy of Loebl Schlossman & Hackl.

Interview Excerpt

"I mentioned Al Chase earlier, the real estate writer for the Chicago Tribune. He wanted to know what the [new] town was going to be named, and he said, 'Well, I hope one thing: they don't call it a park. They've got all these forests and all these parks that you hear, like Highland Park and Lake Forest and all this.'... So, the name turned out to be Park Forest!" (p. 64)

Additional Resources

Finding Aid to Norman Schlossman Collection, 1925-1987
Norman Schlossman images in the R&B Archives
Related archival materials in the R&B Archives
Works by Schlossman in the Department of Architecture and Design

Funding for this oral history was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Publication of this oral history in web-accessible form was made possible by the generous support of The Vernon and Marcia Wagner Access Fund at The Art Institute of Chicago, The James & Catherine Haveman Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Family Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and Daniel Logan and The Reva and David Logan Foundation.