Books and Other Publications
The Chicago History Museum’s holdings of books and other published materials include both primary and secondary sources that document the city of Chicago, its people, its culture, and its industry. In addition to books, periodicals, and newspapers, the published materials holdings include:
- Theater programs
- City directories and telephone books
- Maps and atlases (including fire insurance maps)
- Sheet music
- School yearbooks
- Department store and manufacturers’ catalogs
- Chicago building permits, 1872–1954
- Newspapers and newspaper clipping files
The books and other published materials in the Library collection complement the Archives and Manuscripts, Prints and Photographs, and Architecture holdings of the Museum. Researchers will find materials related to metropolitan Chicago’s residents and communities; its businesses, cultural, social service institutions, and religious groups; and its geography, transportation, and architecture. Collection strengths include coverage of events such as the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition; the 1933–34 A Century of Progress International Exposition; the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; Chicago neighborhoods; and a strong representation of materials on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.
Research Inquiries and Collection Access
The majority of the books and other published materials in the Library collection are available to the public for research through its Research Center. To search for additional holdings, consult ARCHIE, the Research Center’s online catalog. To learn more about how to arrange a research visit, see the Research Center page.
Rights and Reproduction Requests
Images do not exist for all of the Library holdings. Requests for new photography may occasionally be accommodated for an additional fee; however, the Museum reserves the right to limit new photography based on an item’s condition, storage location, size, and other factors. For information about obtaining copies or high-quality digital image reproductions of collection materials, see the Rights and Reproductions page. Note that the Museum’s ability to reproduce requested materials may be limited by US copyright law.
Donate to the Collection
The vast majority of the Books and other Published Materials holdings were donated to the Museum. If you would like to donate historical papers, records, or other documents related to Chicago history or American history through the Civil War, please fill out and submit the Online Collection Donation Form.
Support the Collection
The Museum requires ongoing resources to maintain its collection of more than 23 million objects and documents. This work includes cataloging, storing, and preserving collection materials – and the specialized activity necessary to make this unique resource available for use in exhibitions, publications, public programs, scholarly research, and loans to other institutions. We encourage you to consider making a financial contribution to help support this important work.