Collection visu.elm - Visual : Elm Place School

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Identity area

Reference code

US IlHpHS visu.elm


Visual : Elm Place School


  • 1870-1933 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

55 items : 4 x 5 in. [Glass negatives]

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Elm Place School is a grammar school established in the early Highland Park.

In 2012, Elm Place School, is a public middle school in the North Shore School District 112.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Jesse Lowe Smith (1869-1934) was an educator and naturalist who served as Superintendent of Schools for District 107 and the principal of the Elm Place School in Highland Park, Illinois from 1902 until his death. A devoted, progressive pedagogue, Smith fostered a love and understanding of the natural world, the arts and culture in students during his tenure at Elm Place School. Smith served on the Highland Park Public Library board, as director of the North Shore Arts League, and as President of the Chicago chapter of the National Geographic Society. Additional civic activities included appointments on the Highland Park Tree and Parkway Commission, the Audubon Society of Chicago (Director) and Friends of Our Native Landscape (Director). He was an avid traveler in the United States and abroad.

Jesse Lowe Smith was born in Macon Illinois on November 23, 1869. From a young age, Smith expressed an avid interest in nature and learning. Smith attended DePauw University for one year in 1891 and received his teaching certificate in 1894 at the age of 25. After teaching at several different schools in Illinois including Lexington and Park Ridge, Smith became the principal of the Elm Place School in Highland Park Illinois in 1902 as well as the Superintendent of Schools for District 107. Smith held those posts for 32 years until his death on April 21, 1934 at the age of 65. Jesse Lowe Smith devoted his life to teaching and sharing his knowledge and love of nature with students. He was a proponent of progressive education including the use of the latest technology at the time, such as the lantern slides in this collection, and also by incorporating nature and the arts into the curriculum by including field trips into nature and to museums and cultural institutions. Jesse Lowe Smith was active on the Library board, and director of the North Shore Art League, and as well as president of the Chicago chapter of the National Geographic Society for which he led an expedition to Montana.

Archival history


Immediate source of acquisition or transfer


Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection documents early Highland Park and Elm Place School. It is a series of class photographs and teaching aids. The collection has been arranged into 5 series with a list of each item in that series. They are mostly black and white and a few have been damaged. They are all 4x5. These slides may have been taken chiefly by Jesse Lowe Smith. Brand Studio may also be responsible for some of the photography.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The series are arranged alphabetically; the items in each series have no specific order.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Some items have been damaged by either splintering or by brittleness. All items should be handled with care, as should avoiding any contact with the emulsion side.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Archivist's note

Processed by Konstandina D Argyropoulos, 2012.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Physical storage

  • Box: 1-3