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Lawrence Irvin Papers

Identifier: M/A 0019

Description of Contents

This collection documents the career of Minneapolis city planner Lawrence Irvin. While the whole of the collection dates from 1957-1984, the bulk of the material reflects the later years of Irvin’s career, dating from the mid-1970s through 1981. Although much of the material was created by Irvin when he served as Planning Director Emeritus, the subject contents heavily reflect work done early in his career. Collection materials include newspaper clippings; major project presentations, publications, reports, and studies; correspondence; a selection of Irvin’s writings; and a small number of photographs and audio tapes.


  • Creation: 1957 - 1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1975 - 1981



The collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours.


Lawrence M. "Larry" Irvin (1915-1984) was born in Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Ohio State University. After completing his education, Irvin worked as Director of Slum Clearance and Assistant Director of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority for six years. In 1958, he moved with his wife and children to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he served as head of the Minneapolis Planning Department for twenty-three years. Irvin acted as the Director of City Planning and Development from 1958-1978. As a result of department reorganization in 1978, Irvin worked as Director of Planning Emeritus doing special planning, research, grant work, and maintaining relationships formed between the City and other agencies until his retirement in December 1981.

Throughout his years of service, Irvin was consistently recognized at both national and international levels for his city planning accomplishments. Major projects that characterize Minneapolis, such as the skyway system, Nicollet Mall, fringe-style public parking, Loring Park Development District, City Center, and Cedar Riverside redevelopment, were all accomplished with Irvin’s direction and supervision. With the assistance of his department, he was directly responsible for the creation of Minneapolis’ first truly comprehensive city plan. Irvin facilitated and promoted collaborative public-private planning partnerships, which resulted in three award winning city plans: Central Area Plan 1959-1960, Metro Center 1985, and Metro Center 1990. In addition to his local work, Irvin served as a NATO “Challenges of a Modern Society” committee member, and as an elected member of the Board of Governors of the American Planning Association from 1970-1973.


2.33 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Donor Information

The collection, consisting of material from Irvin's home office, was donated to the Minneapolis Public Library by his wife Harriett R. Irvin in 1984 as accession 1994.22.

Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

City Planning Department Collection (M/A 0314)

Lawrence Irvin Papers
Wendy Guerra
July 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.