Harold Washington Library Center
Visual and Performing Arts
The Art Information Center and the Music Information Center together form the Visual and Performing Arts Department. The Department covers a broad range of subjects, including acting, architecture, art, collecting, crafts, dance, fashion history, film, music, radio, television and theater history. Periodicals, pictures, pamphlets, videos, recordings, and scores support and extend the Department’s extensive book holdings. Current and retrospective periodicals and annuals include complete runs of many titles, frequently in their original format. Printed and electronic periodical indexes provide access.
400 South State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60605
|Art Information Center||Music Information Center|
|(312) 747-4800||(312) 747-4850|
This collection encompasses the history of architecture, building types, architects’ biographies, and drafting and design techniques. Subject strengths include 19th and 20th century American architectural history with special emphasis on Chicago architecture, and monographs on individual architects and firms.
- Ann Barzel Dance Film Archive: The Archive contains the work of mid-20th century Chicago choreographers and dance companies, documented by dance critic Ann Barzel.
- Dance Video Collection: The Collection includes classical, modern, jazz, tap, and ethnic dance.
- Folk Dance Index: This multi-volume set provides step-by-step instruction arranged by dance name and cross-indexed by country.
Chicago Artists’ Archives: Since the 1940s, the Art Information Center has kept records of visual artists living or working in the Chicago area. The Archives maintain records in the form of biographical information, artists’ applications, statements, reproductions of artwork, exhibition catalogs, gallery announcements, reviews, articles, etc.
The special strengths of this collection lie in popular music, jazz, blues, gospel, the business of music, discography, and music therapy.
- Music Recordings: A significant collection of recordings in a variety of formats from 78 RPM to CDs has been developed for research and use in the Library’s Listening/Viewing Center. Among them are tapes of New Music Chicago, an annual festival of new works; the Come For To Sing recorded interviews of folk musicians; the Charles A. Sengstock Chicago Dance Band Collection; the Frank McNulty/WLS-TV Collection; and Dick Buckley’s Archives of Recorded Jazz series. The Central Library’s collection of circulating LPs is found here. Circulating CDs are located in the Popular Library on the first floor.
- Scores: Performance scores from instrumental solos to full orchestral parts are available for loan or in-house use, as are instrumental methods, technique books, works of musical comedy and popular music, and a substantial collection of musical monuments and composer-collected works. A collection of sheet music in original covers dating from 1830 to the present is offered for in-house use.
- Balaban and Katz Theater Orchestra Collection/WGN Radio Music Library: Stock dance band arrangements, orchestrations of popular classics, orchestrated music for silent films, and sheet music from the libraries of the great Chicago movie palaces. Supplemented by arrangements for jazz orchestras and combos of popular used in the 1950s and 1960s, when WGN maintained a live studio orchestra. Most of the arrangements are in manuscript.
- Chicago Blues Archives: Recordings, documents, photos, videos, magazines, and manuscripts.
- Jubilee Showcase: The Historic Award-winning Gospel Program: “Music Which Both Entertains and Inspires.” Video programs from Chicago’s longest running program featuring America’s greatest gospel artists, including many of Chicago’s finest singers, musicians and choral groups.
- Jussi Bjorling Audio Archives: A nearly comprehensive collection of sound and video material on the famed Swedish tenor who frequented Chicago.
- Made in Chicago Collection: Recordings and publications made in or by Chicago artists. Includes tapes of radio station WYTZ’s Beat of Chicago program highlighting local bands.
- Martin & Morris Gospel Sheet Music Collection: Nearly the entire output of this landmark Chicago gospel publishing house founded by Kenneth Morris and Sallie Martin.
- Stanley Paul Collection: The personal collection of nearly one- thousand show business, personality, and nostalgia LP record albums donated by Chicago’s renowned society bandleader and pianist. Publicity stills, reproductions of photographs, clippings, and other memorabilia used in the 2000 exhibit, “Stanley Paul: Stars in My Eyes,” donated by Mr. Paul.
Corrine & Albert Pick Jr. Listening/Viewing Center (LVC) and Practice Rooms
- The Listening/Viewing Center provides equipment for the playback of recording and video formats from the Division’s collections. Use of the LVC is restricted to students and researchers.
- A chamber rehearsal room, as well as six practice rooms furnished with pianos, is available. The practice rooms are equipped with playback equipment for the Department’s large collection of music instruction materials.