Special Collections

Bromide staff processing photos
Bromide Portrait Co., 1914. WGP 1.11

The Special Collections and Preservation Division, on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, showcases rare and unique materials focusing on Chicago as well as the Civil War.

Contact Us

Hours

  • Monday and Tuesday: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: closed

Areas of Interest

We have photographs, manuscripts, books, art and artifacts about:

  • Chicago neighborhoods
  • Chicago Public Library
  • Chicago Theater
  • Children’s books from Chicago
  • Civil War
  • Mayor Harold Washington
  • Rare books and manuscripts
  • World’s fairs

Using Special Collections

We welcome visitors during our open hours and by appointment. We offer research orientation sessions by appointment for instructors and classes.

Given the special nature of our materials, we ask you to conform to security and handling precautions:

  • Complete a registration form and present valid photo ID before receiving materials.
  • Use materials only in the Reading Room.
  • Contact us in advance of your visit if you are interested in unprocessed collections.