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Sergei N. Grimm Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Grimm, Sergei N.
Title: Sergei N. Grimm Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1930-1974
Quantity: 5 linear ft.
Abstract: The Sergei N. Grimm Papers comprise correspondence-subject files, writings, and maps, which document the history of urban planning in Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse from 1930 to 1960.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

A native of Russia, Sergei N. Grimm was a civil engineer who served as executive director of the Syracuse-Onondaga Post-War Planning Council, and held positions within the Syracuse Housing Authority, and the (Syracuse) City Planning Commission. He served as a consultant to the federal government, conducted numerious seminars, and wrote extensively on scientific urban planning.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Sergei N. Grimm Papers comprise Correspondence-subject files, Writings, and Maps which document the history of urban planning in Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse from 1930 through 1960.

Correspondence-subject files contain a variety of documents relating to the Village of Jordan (New York), the Syracuse-Onondaga Post-War Planning Council, the Syracuse Housing Authority, the (Syracuse) City Planning Commission, a series of urban planning seminars at Syracuse University, and general information on housing. Spanning 1930 through 1937, the materials in the collection which relate to Jordan, New York, consist of a series of documents, chiefly legal, pertaining to application to the city of Syracuse to supply water to the Village. Also included are petitions to the State Water Power and Control Commission.

The Syracuse-Onondaga Post-War Planning Council was among the earliest efforts to address regional planning issues in the United States. Materials relating to this seminal planning body include Grimm's correspondence (1943-1945), a report, Post-War Perspective, issued in 1944, and a number of documents suggesting the reorganization of the Council, shifting its function from investigation to implementation. Materials which pertain to the Syracuse Housing Authority (1945-circa 1953) include correspondence, development programs, and architectural plans.

The (Syracuse) City Planning Commission materials are divided into industrial site planning documents and those concerning the operations of the Commission. The industrial site planning materials include correspondence and miscellaneous items (1954-1955) relating to the Syracuse Industrial Planning Committee, as well as a sizable group of printed items concerning the promotion of business interests within various communities as well as Syracuse in particular. The collection also contains a series of documents (1955-1957) prepared by Grimm which constitute an analysis of the operations of the (Syracuse) City Planning Commission. This body of material is followed by a number of Commission reports which were issued between 1952 and 1957 with reference to rules and regulations for the subdivision of land, sites for public housing, a proposal suggesting the administrative organization for urban renewal, and a proposed cultural center. The collection also includes a summary of the Commission's activities for January 1956 through July 1957.

The remainder of the Correspondence-Subject Files includes correspondence, curricula, and notes relating to the urban planning seminars at Syracuse University (1948-1960), as well as printed material from the Public Housing Administration and specifications, estimates, and architectural drawings concerning a proposed apartment development in Syracuse.

Writings are mostly those of Sergei Grimm, however the collection also includes a copy of "Zoning as a Planning Tool," a dissertation by Richard T. Frost. Grimm's writings include numerous drafts of a monograph, "Physical Urban Planning: System of General Concepts and Principal Features" as well as copies of Notes on Fundamentals of Scientific Urban Planning and The Scientific Urban Planning System, issued by the Center for the Development of Scientific Urban Planning Methods, Inc.

Maps include numerous topographic maps, chiefly of the central region of New York State.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Grimm, Sergei N.

Corporate Bodies

Center for the Development of Scientific Urban Planning Methods, Inc.
Syracuse Housing Authority.
Syracuse-Onondaga Post-War Planning Council.

Associated Titles

Notes on fundamentals of scienfitic urban planning.
Physical urban planning: system of general concepts and principal features.
Post-war perspective.
The scientific urban planning system.


City planning -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Civil engineers -- United States.
Housing authorities -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Industrial promotion -- New York (State)
Land use -- Planning.
Planners -- New York (State)
Regional planning -- New York (State) -- Onondaga County.
Russian Americans.
Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.


Syracuse (N.Y.) -- Politics and government.

Genres and Forms

Architectural drawings (visual works)
Manuscripts for publication.
Organizational charts.
Topographic maps.


Civil engineers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Sergei N. Grimm Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Lyall D. and Linda E. Squair.

Report to Syracuse Housing Authority (1953), gift of Cornell University, 2013.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Dec 1990
Revision history: 13 Feb 2007 - converted to EAD (AMCon); 26 Mar 2013 - writings added (MRC); 31 Jan 2017 - additions, rehousing (MRC)

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Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 General correspondence 1969-1974 - includes mention of some seminars and conferences
Box 1 Jordan, New York, State Water Power and Control Commission application 1930-1937 - correspondence, legal documents (3 folders)
Syracuse City Planning Commission
Box 1 Analysis of operations 1955-1957 (7 folders)
Box 1 Industrial site planning Industrial Planning Committee 1954-1955, undated (2 folders)
Box 2 Syracuse, New York - printed material
Box 2 Reference material, miscellaneous - printed material (articles, reports, brochures, etc.); includes "The freeway in the city : principles of planning and design : a report to the Secretary, Dept. of Transportation / by the Urban Advisors to the Federal Highway Administrator" (8 folders)
Box 3 Reference material, miscellaneous (cont.) - printed material (articles, reports, brochures, etc.)
Box 3 Reports 1952, 1955-1957 (6 folders)
Box 3 Syracuse Housing Authority circa 1945-1953 - correspondence, development programs, architectural plans (8 folders)
Syracuse-Onondaga Post-War Planning Council
Box 3 [General] 1943-1945, undated - correspondence, miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box 4 Post-War Perspective report 1944 (5 folders)
Box 4 Reorganization circa 1944 (2 folders)
Urban Planning Seminar, Syracuse University
Box 4 Correspondence, curricula, notes 1948-1960, undated (7 folders)
Box 5 Correspondence, curricula, notes 1948-1960, undated (2 folders)
Housing, general
Box 5 "A Comparative Cost and Design Study of Detached and Group Housing" - Public Housing Administration undated
Box 5 Proposed apartment development, specifications and estimates -
Oversize 1 Proposed apartment development, architectural drawings
Oversize 1 Topographic maps of New York State
Oversize 1 Miscellaneous maps
by Grimm
Box 5 Environmental planning Apr 1960
Box 5 Exploratory study to define the humanities and their interrelation, if any, with the man-environment relation - with Ralph C. Graber
Box 5 Introduction of scientific urban planning in Central New York 1974
Box 5 Land planning and forecasting undated
Box 5 "Land planning and zoning 20 Dec 1955
Box 5 The man-environment relationship and its application to urban planning May 1974 - with Ralph C. Graber, delivered at a Smithsonian Institution seminar; includes two drafts, final text, and text of some of the other sessions
Box 5 Notes on fundamentals of scientific urban planning undated (2 copies)
Box 5 Notes: Highlights of existing conditinos and the system of scientific urban planning Sep 1964
Box 5 National urban development program and local forums, Smithsonian Institution May 1973 (2 copies)
Box 6 Organizing sciences and humanities using a system of scientific urban planning
Box 6 Passenger transportation planning - several different papers on the topic
Box 6 Physical urban planning: Definitions and explanations Feb 1959 - manuscript drafts
Box 6 Physical urban planning: Definitions and principal Features Apr 1959 - manuscript drafts (2 folders)
Box 6 Physical urban planning: General concepts and principal features Aug 1959 - manuscript drafts (3 folders)
Box 6 Physical urban planning: System of general concepts and principal features 1961
Box 6 Planning public roads and other public works undated
Box 6 The scientific urban planning system undated (2 copies)
Box 6 Some aspects of urban planning 1957 (2 folders)
Box 6 Syracuse experience with public housing development 1953 - includes signed cover letter from Grimm
Gift of Cornell University, 2013.
Box 6 Traffic and safety in tomorrow's urban areas 1958
Box 6 "What City Planning Means" 1955
By others
Box 6 Frost, Richard T. "Zoning as a Planning Tool" 1956 - dissertation (3 folders)
Box 6 Miscellaneous clippings - most are about electric cars and scooters

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