The Chicago Artists’ Archive: Documenting Local Artists

Windy City by Rudolph Weisenborn

The Chicago Artists’ Archive is a great way to research well-known Chicago artists as well as those who may not be in books or well-represented on the Internet. Since the early 20th century CPL has kept artist files. These fascinating files include a variety of materials, including but not limited to articles, photographs, slides, gallery invitations, […]

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Remembering Civil Rights Activist Rev. Willie Barrow

Willie Barrow

The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, an advocate for civil rights and social justice, passed away Thursday after a long illness. She was 90. She spent her life fighting for the rights of minorities, the LGBT community, women and union members. Barrow was born December 17, 1924 in Burton, Texas. She settled in Chicago in 1943 […]

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Daylight Saving Time in Chicago

Man and teddy bear seting clocks

Daylight Saving Time (DST) changes the official time. The result is we wake up an hour earlier during the summer months. As an illustration, without DST, sunrise this June 19 would be at 4:15 a.m. in Chicago and sunset at 7:29 p.m. With DST, sunrise will be at the more reasonable hour of 5:15 a.m., […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Standard Time

Plaque at LaSalle and Jackson commemorating the 1883 General Time Convention. Photo: Municipal Reference Guy

Today, everybody may show up at a meeting within seconds of each other and every part of the world is in a time zone offset from English time by an exact number of hours (in some cases by 15, 30 or 45 minutes). It is difficult for us to realize that this system only started […]

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Who Can I Marry? A Chicago History

Photo Credit: firemedict58

As we approach February 26, the first anniversary of the day same-sex marriage began in Chicago, it is interesting to take a look at the history of marriage restrictions in Chicago. Pre-Statehood (Prior to 1818) I haven’t researched this period in great detail, as marriage did not seem to be overly regulated. In early Chicago, […]

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Pullman Becomes a National Monument

Pullman Company Administration Building and Clock Tower

On Thursday, February 19, President Obama will be in Chicago to declare the Pullman neighborhood a national monument. Pullman is one of the most famous and unusual neighborhoods in Chicago. In the 1880s George Pullman developed the area as an idyllic planned community with company-owned houses, schools, a park and a library, among other features, […]

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Little-Known Heroes of Black History


February ushers in cold temperatures, Groundhog Day and Mardi Gras. The annual rite of passage of celebrating African American History Month is also upon us—a time when many schoolchildren far and wide will trek to their local library with the task of writing an expose about an African American of historical significance. All of the […]

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Who Was Mabel Manning?

Mabel Manning Branch

My favorite CPL location named after a person is the Mabel Manning Branch on Chicago's near west side. While other people whose names appear on CPL locations—Bessie Coleman, Frederick Douglass, George Cleveland Hall, Harold Washington, etc.—are unlikely to be lost to history, Mabel Manning might be if not for the branch. There's very little about her […]

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Researching Chicago’s Streets Over Time

Census enumeration page showing residents for South Ann Street

As we learned in my last post, the tireless efforts of Edward Brennan simplified the street names and house numbers of Chicago. These street name and number changes cause confusion for researchers. Tracking down an address can be difficult if you do not have a modern street name. Some streets have had many name changes. Pulaski […]

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Crown Point, Indiana: Chicago’s Gretna Green

Looking down a street. Old automobiles and buildings

Fans of Regency romances will recognize Gretna Green, a small village in Scotland. English laws of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries required couples to be 21, give public notice and wait several weeks before marrying. Scotland did not require a waiting period and sixteen-year-olds could get married. Eloping couples would flee to Scotland and get […]

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