Special Collections and Preservation Division
Neighborhood History Research Collection
Back of the Yards Community Collection
.5 linear ft., 13 microfilm reels
Call number: Archives_BOY
Historical Note The community known as The Back of the Yards is located to the west and south of the old packinghouse district between Racine and Ashland Avenue. The area was the setting of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, published in 1905, and acquired more notoriety during the 1919 race riot, and major packinhouse strikes in 1904 and during the winter of 1922. The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) founded in 1938 by Joseph Meegan, Saul Alinsky, and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil remains an important force in the neighborhood to this day.
Scope and Content This collection consists of microfilm reels of the Back of the Yards Journal, running from January 7, 1937 to December 29, 1983 with some significant gaps, as well as one box of supplementary materials. Also included is a microfilm reel of scrapbooks kept by the Back of the Yards Council from between July 1939 and February 1967. Included is a copy of the 25th Annual Report of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, dated May 1964. Researchers particularly interested in the Stockyards should also consult our Chicago City Wide Collection. Researchers interested in the community should also consult the Chicago Public Library Archives, Branch Annual Reports for the following Branch Libraries: Back of the Yards; Canaryville; New City; Sherman Park.
Provenance The Back of the Yards Community Collection was transferred to the Special Collections and Preservation Division in September 2000 from the Sherman Park Branch Library at 5440 S. Racine, Chicago.
Access The Back of the Yards Community Collection is available for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy and photoreproduction services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Telephone inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to (312) 747-4875.
1. Stockyards, newsclipping, Chicago Daily Tribune, February 2, 1961. "Chicago’s Stockyard Picture Still Looms Bright".
2. Stockyards, newsclipping, Back of the Yards Journal, February 8, 1961. "Stockyards Change Character but Still Performs Major Task".
3. Visitation Parish, Diamond Jubilee Publication, 1961.
Clubs and Organizations
4. Booklet, "Conservation" by Back of the Yards Council, 1953.
5. Back of the Yards Council, newsclipping, Back of the Yards Journal, n.d. "Where the People Act to Help Themselves"
6. "Back of the Yards 1870-1890", 1938.
7. "Packing Houses", n.d.
Back of the Yards Journal:
Roll 1. January 7, 1937 - December 28, 1939
2. January 6, 1944 - December 27, 1946; January 4, 1961 - July 29, 1964
3. August 5, 1964 - January 26, 1972
4. February 2, 1972 - May 30, 1974
5. June 5, 1974 - March 31, 1976
6. April 7, 1976 - December 14, 1977
7. December 21, 1977 - June 20, 1979
8. June 27, 1979 - December 31, 1980
9. January 7, 1981 - December 30, 1981
11.* Reel broken, dates unclear
12. January 6, 1982 - March 16, 1983
13. March 23, 1983 - December 29, 1983
Roll 10. Back of the Yards Council, Joseph B. Meegan Scrapbooks; 25th Annual Report of the Back of the Yards Neighborhoods Council, May 17, 1964. *Rolls filmed out of sequence.