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UD Special Collections > Finding Aids > William J. Cohen Index > Series Outline
WILLIAM J. COHEN
1967 - 2001
Manuscript Collection Number: 468
Accessioned: Gift of William J. Cohen, 2001-2004
Extent: 37 linear ft.
Content: Maps, correspondence, reports, photographs, slides, transparencies, reference files, professional files, reports, studies, plans, technical library, printed materials, newsletters, journals, résumés, videotapes, audiotapes, computer disks, newspaper clippings, ephemera, deeds, company checks, and business cards.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Sally W. Donatello and Theresa Hessey, 2002-2004
Table of Contents
J. Cohen (b. 1941) is a native Delawarean.
In the summer of
1967 Cohen accepted a position as research assistant at the Delaware State
Planning Office in
significant assignment was as project planner for
In 1971 Cohen was
selected Planning Director for
required interaction with the city council, the planning commission, community groups, appointed and elected officials, and residents.
After six years he
left the City of
In 1990 Cohen
returned to state government as a senior resources planner for the Department
of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), where he worked for
eight years. During this time he was
selected to be the executive director of the Governor’s Task Force on the
Future of the
In 1993 Cohen was
selected to be a Governor’s Management Fellow, which required placement in a
government office. He used the
experience to study the effect of the arts on
From 1978 to 2001
Cohen was an instructor for the Department of Geography at the
In 1998 he
resigned the position at the State to become a city and regional planning
consultant and to focus his energy on the completion of a Ph.D. In 1996 he had been admitted to the graduate
program at the
Cohen held additional administrative positions (e.g., resource development director for the Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc., 1986-1988), and owned an architectural photography firm from 1987-2001. Also, he was president of the Board of Stewards of Friends of Wilmington Parks (1995-1998), senior policy advisor for the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration (1997), a charter member of the American Institute of Planners (1978), a charter member and president of the Delaware chapter of the American Planning Association, president of the Delaware Association for Public Administration (1976-1978), and a professional affiliate of the American Institute of Architects. Cohen authored and co-authored over sixty-five technical and professional publications, reports, and studies.
Scope and Content Note
The William J.
Cohen Papers, spanning the dates 1967-2001, comprises 37 linear feet of
materials that document Cohen’s entire career as an urban and environmental
are a historical record of planning in the State of
Cohen’s first job
as a professional planner was with the Delaware State Planning Office (
The collection, which is housed in 37 boxes, is arranged in seven series. Series
I-V, which is the bulk of the
papers, show each step of Cohen’s planning career from 1967-2001 (
collection also houses a technical library, which Cohen originally created at
the Delaware State Planning Office. The
library, which grew over his career, is included in Appendices A and B (
more than three decades Cohen worked in
Series I covers
the years 1967-1977 and Cohen’s first and second jobs as a planner. He began in 1967 at the Delaware State
Planning Office. He was assigned
significant projects including the development of a comprehensive plan for the
II covers Cohen’s career as a consultant, which spans the years 1977-2001. This series is a major portion of the
III contains materials relating to Cohen’s twenty-three years as an instructor
summarizes Cohen’s accomplishments as a photographer. His professional interests in photography
crystallized in the years after a workshop on cyanotype and Van Dyke techniques
(also called non-silver imagery). He
began to exhibit his work in the early 1980s, and by the mid-1980s he began to pursue
actively a tangential career in commercial photographic services. From 1987-1996 Cohen opened a photographic
studio, specializing in construction progress and architecture (
V is found in
Series VI covers Cohen’s last few
Series VII consists of materials from Cohen’s personal and professional life, additional employment, professional affiliations, business cards, a city planning game, and his thesis as part of the Master of Arts degree granted by the University of Delaware in 1976 (Box 19). Additionally, there are newspaper clipping files that cover the years 1977-1986.
Concluding the collection is the Technical Library that Cohen created at the Delaware State Planning Office and maintained throughout his career in Delaware. The library has a guide, which includes an introduction, shelf guide, and description of the classification system (Box 4, F116). The Technical Library has been put into a database and materials can be accessed by author, title, date, call number, and publisher. Cohen developed a library classification system based on one used at the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He adapted the system for use by subject, and his entire classification system is explained in the guide. Cohen still owns a portion of the library. He gave the University a major portion of its content in 2001; a portion housed at the White Clay Creek Preserve in 1995 is now reunited with this collection. In 1982 Cohen donated some consulting project reports to the University of Delaware's Morris Library. This list can be found with the guide in Box 4 (F116). The portion of the library housed in The Cohen Papers is listed in the Technical Library Appendices. Appendix A is a list of the publications, presented alphabetically by author. Appendix B is a list of publications in the Technical library sorted by call number in Cohen's classification system. Appendix C is a short list of titles with no call numbers, not classified in Cohen's system.
The William J. Cohen Papers have been retained in their original order and reflect the provenance of their creator. There has been some minor reordering of some materials to make access easier for the user.
Cohen organized his files to reflect the progress of
his career. Some materials (mostly found
in Series II. A.-II.C.) span his entire career.
An example is his involvement with the preservation of the
( White Clay Creek Boxes 10-11). His advocacy for this area
began during his job at the City of . In 2001
efforts by Cohen and his colleagues were rewarded with the inclusion of the Newark and its stream valley in the National Wild and
Scenic River Program. Other projects
started in one phase of his career and continued into the next, such as the
Delaware River Basin Commission Level B Study, which started in 1977 when he
was a sole proprietor and continued into his incorporated company ( White Clay Creek Box 8). Projects and associations that began in one
career often moved into another. Many
colleagues and supervisors were mentors and eventually became co-workers, such
as Peter Larson, who Cohen met in the 1960s ( Box 18). Additionally, file dates may overlap into the
next year or decade or decades, because the materials were accumulative and
interrelated to future projects and contracts.
Generally, contents of a file are arranged in the order in which each item was executed, so that the most recent documents are at the beginning of a file. Folder numbering begins anew with each series.
The technical library is at the end of the collection and is listed variously in Appendices A, B, and C.
B. City of Newark, 1971-1977
A. William J. Cohen, AIP, Planning Consultant, 1977-1978
B. William J. Cohen and Associates, Inc., 1978-1990
C. William J. Cohen, AICP, 1998-2001
B. Governor’s Task Force,
C. Governor Russell W. Peterson, Profile in Courage Award
E. Governor’s Management Fellow, 1993-1994
F. Conferences and Workshops, 1990-1998
G. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 1990-1998
Personal Projects, Additional Employment, Thesis, and Related Materials, 1967-1998
A. Professional Affiliations, 1971-1980
A.1 American Institute of Planners, 1976-1978
A.2 American Planning Association, 1977-1994
B. Business Cards and Photographs, Personal Projects, Additional Employment, Thesis, and Related Materials, 1967-2001
B. Technical Library Sorted by Call Number (available in UD Library only)
C. Technical Library - list of unclassified titles (available in UD Library only)
UD Special Collections > Finding Aids > William J. Cohen Index > Series Outline