The Archives and Manuscripts materials consist of unpublished materials including correspondence, diaries, business and financial records, meeting minutes and agendas, membership lists, research notes, scrapbooks, scripts, sermons, speeches, and more.
The collection is particularly informative about the Chicago area’s early history, social conditions, twentieth-century neighborhood life, community organizations, African American history, ethnic history, women’s history, civil liberties and civil rights, politics, religious-centered social action, labor unions, environmental concerns, educators, and school reformers.
Sound recordings include the Studs Terkel WFMT Oral History Archives along with a limited number of oral histories and other audio materials.
Some of the most frequently requested Archives and Manuscript materials include:
- Claude A. Barnett papers (director of the Associated Negro Press), 1918–67
- Board of Lady Managers of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition records
- Chicago Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters records, 1925–69
- Chicago Police Department, Red Squad selected records, 1930s–86. (Please note: Special access procedures apply to this collection. Learn about accessing the Red Squad collection.)
- Chicago Women’s Liberation Union records, 1967–78
- Illinois Manufacturers’ Association records, 1893–86
- Marshall Field & Company records, 1862–2003
- District 31 of the United Steelworkers of America records, 1934–79
- Mary McDowell Settlement records, 1894–1968
- Wieboldt Stores, Inc., and Mandel Brothers records, 1892–1958
- Young Men’s Christian Association of Chicago records, 1853–1978
- Burr Tillstrom papers, 1939–85