Michigan and the Great Lakes

Aspirations for Excellence

Alexander Jackson Davis and the First Campus Plan for the University of Michigan, 1838
Julia M. Truettner
Alexander Jackson Davis and his role in the University of Michigan's early architectural development


In 1838, the Regents of the University of Michigan contracted with Alexander Jackson Davis, who provided landmark designs in the Gothic Revival style. Although approving Davis's designs, the financial situation forced the regents to ultimately abandon them and instead build in the classical style. The architect of these structures has been unknown, as has been the source for the plan for placing them on the campus.

Aspirations for Excellence explores the early physical development of the University of Michigan's campus from 1838 to 1880, the designs of architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and the mystery of the sources of the classical buildings. Showcasing the beautiful designs that Davis drew for Michigan, this book provides a view of his career and his place in the development of campus planning and design in America.

Many previously unknown documents and unique illustrations have been brought together for the first time in this important collection that tackles issues related to campus planning, history of higher learning institutions, architectural history of the nineteenth century, and the influence of the physical development of college campuses in the 1830s and 1840s on the campus of today.

Julia M. Truettner is Building Historian and Administrative Assistant, University Architect and Planner's Office, University of Michigan.

Product Details

  • 8.75 x 12.
  • 212pp.
  • 83 photographs, 12 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2003
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11277-7

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  • $74.95 U.S.