Better Places Better Lives – A Biography of James Rouse

Author Josh Olsen shares the profound influence James Rouse had on shaping the American landscape during the second half of the 20th century. This comprehensive biography covers the career of James Rouse, a mortgage banker, master planner and city builder. Olsen utilizes archival materials and extensive interviews with Rouse’s own family, friends and colleagues to tell the story of a well-connected developer whose modest attire, unique political views and idealist outlook helped mold Columbia, Maryland, and other developments that followed.

Better Places Better Lives – A Biography of James Rouse
By Joshua Olsen
$31

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Columbia-Images-of-America

Columbia, Maryland is a staple planned community that has influenced suburban development since its creation in the mid-1960s. Urban planners continue to study Columbia’s innovative approaches to suburban sprawl, racial and economic integration and preservation of the natural landscape. This volume contains the maps, models, and drawings that began the building process; the aerial views and individual buildings that illustrate how a city grows. Barbara Kellner is the former Director of the Columbia, Maryland Archives, and the book features photographs from the Columbia Archives collection.

Columbia: Images of America
By Barbara Kellner
$20

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Columbia at 50 book cover image

In 1964, Jim Rouse secretly bought 14,000 acres of farmland in segregated Howard County. He promised to transform the land into an “economically diverse, poly-cultural, multi-faith and interracial” city. Veteran journalist Len Lazarick tells the fascinating story of how this new town of Columbia grew and prospered over the past half-century, through both successes and failures.

Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City
By Len Lazarick
$15

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Bob T book cover Image

A must-read for anyone interested in the dynamics of cultivating a community. This illustrated volume explains how and why the Columbia community has consistently been named a “best place to live” by leading publications through the eyes of those who played key roles in its creation and development. In 76 comprehensive accounts, the book thoroughly explores what worked, what didn’t and what was learned from the experience.

Columbia Maryland: A Fifty-Year Retrospective on the Making of a Model City
Edited by Robert Tennenbaum
Privately published, 2017, 412 pages
$45

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Creative Tension Book Cover Image

“But where are the churches?” is a familiar refrain in Columbia, Maryland. This book is a recounting of how religious planners of the mid-1960’s worked for several years to develop the initial concepts of the interfaith centers and the Columbia Cooperative Ministry. More than 40 firsthand accounts relate the story of early residents’ encounters with these innovative religious and social ministry concepts, linking those ideas back to current interfaith endeavors.

Creative Tension: Memories of Early Interfaith Experiences in Columbia, Maryland
Edited by Carolyn Arena and Elizabeth Martin
$15

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New City Upon A Hill: A History of Columbia, Maryland

Mitchell and Stebenne know Columbia well. Stebenne grew up in Columbia and Mitchell was his high school history teacher. Their book presents a narrative history of Columbia, Maryland and an assessment of its accomplishments. To give context it also explores Howard County’s history and the life of James Rouse. New City Upon A Hill takes its title from the Puritan leader John Winthrop’s memorable phrase. The authors write that Winthrop used those words to describe the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a society that would be pleasing to both God and man. “Columbia possessed those same aspirations from the start. It was intended to be both a model urban center and an experiment in free enterprise capitalism.”

New City Upon A Hill: A History of Columbia, Maryland
By Joseph Rocco Mitchell and David L. Stebenne
$20

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Oh, you must live in Columbia! The origins of place names in Columbia Maryland

Columbia’s street names have been a source of conversation since the early days of Columbia. Faced with naming 1000 streets, The Rouse Company settled on the theme of the best in American literature and art as the source of most of the street names. That resulted in some pretty unusual names such as Morning Leap Terrace, Blue Pool and Liquid Laughter Lane. “Where did that street name come from?” is a common question. The answer can be found in Oh, you must live in Columbia: The origins of place names in Columbia, Maryland, the book published by Columbia Archives in 2008.

The book includes the story of the people and the process that resulted in the city’s unique monikers and the poetic, artistic or historical source of each one. It also answers questions such as why some street signs are blue and others green and why Satan Wood is now Satinwood Drive. Peppered with photos, cartoons and stories, this long-awaited book is fun to read and an inspiration for party conversation and family games.

Oh, you must live in Columbia! The origins of place names in Columbia Maryland
By Missy Burke, Robin Emrich and Barbara Kellner
$25

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excerpts from thousands of papers, talks and testimonies made over more than 30 years

This volume is a collection of excerpts from thousands of papers, talks and testimonies made over more than 30 years. Those offer an insight into the character and qualities of an outstanding American, and an understanding of the urgency and seriousness of the cause he now serves.”

The book was originally presented to the members of the Urban Land Institute by Jim and Patty Rouse in 1995, and it was reprinted in 2017 in honor of Columbia, Maryland’s 50th anniversary.

Complied by Scott Ditch

 $10

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Free Downloads

Wilde Lake Walking Tour

Wilde Lake Walking Tour

History abounds on the path around Wilde Lake, from a plaque explaining the origin of the name to the homes and other structures on its shore. Learn more about Columbia’s early history on a 1.5-mile walk around the lake.

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drawing connection brochure

John Levering and Wes Yamaka were popular Columbia artists in the 1970s who turned to art to personify Columbia’s goal to be a place for people to grow.

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Views of a Vision

Views of a Vision

Gary Kubicek turns his camera and creative eye on the General Growth Properties office in Columbia. He was intrigued by the way light and the seasons changed the view of the building that was designed by Frank Gehry as the headquarters for The Rouse Company in 1974. Brochure accompanied an exhibit of his work at Columbia Archives in 2008.

View Gary Kubicek Brochure

For questions about collections, resources, availability of materials, or other general inquiries please call 410-715-6781 or email Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Columbia Maryland Archives Manager: Lela Sewell-Williams