Harold Washington Library Center
Neighborhood History Research Collections
The Chicago Public Library's Special Collections & Preservation Division collects and preserves information on Chicago neighborhoods, prominent area residents and community organizations. Our Neighborhood History Research Collections consist of over 70 archival collections covering over 30 neighborhoods in the city and the Chicago metropolitan area. To assist researchers in using the materials, each archive has an accompanying "Finding Guide" which includes a detailed inventory of the content of the collection. Each collection is arranged thematically into the subjects (series) listed below.
The strengths of the Special Collections & Preservation Division's Neighborhood History Research Collections lie primarily on the city's South and West Sides. While genealogical researchers may not find data specific to family members or to their home in the collections, the materials--together with the Division's book collections on Chicago and Chicago history--do chronicle what a particular neighborhood was like during a particular time.
The Neighborhood History Research Collections are open to the public and are accessible in the Special Collections & Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center. For further information and assistance call (312) 747-4875.
- Biographical data on neighborhood residents.
- Information on business establishments.
- Information on religious organizations and churches.
- Information on clubs and organizations.
- Historical essays and sketches on the neighborhood.
- Information on hospitals.
- Information on municipal agencies.
- Information on parks.
- Information on residences.
- Information on schools.
- Street scenes and information on principal thoroughfares.
- Information on transportation available in the neighborhood.
- War time activities.
- Scrapbooks compiled by residents and organizations.
- Photographs documenting the above subjects.