Daniel H. Burnham 1910

Daniel H. Burnham (September 4, 1846 - June 1, 1912)

A short biography compiled by Sarah E. Mitchell

Daniel H. Burnham moved to Chicago with his family when he was a child. He became an architect and founded Burnham & Root, the Chicago architectural firm. In the early years, he and his partner, John W. Root, were particularly known for their skyscrapers and office buildings. Further fame was brought to Burnham by his work in organizing the Columbian Exposition, 1891-1893, in Chicago. (The Columbian Exposition is partly credited with reintroducing Classical architecture to the United States, and with bringing in a mania for all-white buildings.)

After John Root's death, Daniel Burnham formed D. H. Burnham & Company. The firm was responsible for dozens of warehouses, theatres, stores, banks, homes, etc. in Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinatti, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, New York City, New Orleans, and many other cities.

Daniel H. Burnham worked with others on many city designs, both in the United States and in other countries (including a design for Manila in the Phillipines). He worked very hard to push for a re-implementation of L'Enfant's plan for the Mall in Washington, D. C.

He was a contemporary and friend of Charles F. McKim, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and Jr., and many other famed architects, artists, and designers. Burnham himself was also a talented artist, working in watercolors.

Daniel Burnham died on June 1, 1912. His death was mourned by President William Taft, among many others.

Information and photograph derived from Charles Moore, Daniel H. Burnaham: Architect, Planner of Cities, Volumes One and Two, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1921.

Copyright © 2004 Sarah E. Mitchell