#TBT, Happy Birthday, Harold Washington!

Harold Washington button

Saturday marks the 95th anniversary of Mayor Harold Washington's birth. The beloved Mayor of Chicago served the city from 1983 until his death in 1987, and made his mark on Chicago in multiple ways. Take some time to celebrate Harold's birthday by reading up on his legacy, or with a visit to the Special Collections and […]

Read More

#TBT: Happy Birthday, Sidney Poitier!

Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier celebrates his 90th birthday on February 20. For this Throwback Thursday, explore the star’s life and career—including a Chicago connection. In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s play set in Chicago, A Raisin in the Sun, opened at the Blackstone Theater on Michigan Avenue for a tryout before heading to Broadway. Poitier led […]

Read More

Once Upon a Valentine

As February 14 approaches, men and women, young and old will wade through seas of red and pink in card aisles trying to find the perfect words to convey their feelings and sentiments to loved ones and sweethearts. Exchanging valentine cards has been popular since the late 1700s, and continues to be today. In 1908 […]

Read More

Let CPL Help You Make History with History Fair

Chiago Metro History Fair

Are you participating in History Fair this year? Does your teacher expect you to conduct historical research? Are you wondering where and how to begin? Are you looking for primary resources or images for an exhibit board, website or documentary? At CPL, we can help you with all of these. Getting Started After you’ve selected your topic, start […]

Read More

1948’s “Health King” of Chicago

Boy eating hotdog sandwich and drinking milk

In 1948, Henry Pittner was selected from 13,000 members of the Chicago Boys' Club as the healthiest boy in Chicago. A team of doctors reviewed eight finalists from the club and named Pittner the "Health King." Aside from a cavity in his last baby tooth, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported, the 12-year-old had a perfect physical record. […]

Read More

Hit a Home Run with Chicago Open Archives

Cast of Bleacher Bums, 1989

It’s almost October. The leaves are starting to turn, temperatures are dipping and Chicago has a baseball team headed to the playoffs. In 1977, a different Chicago team, the Organic Theater Company, was looking for a new play. Ensemble member Joe Mantegna had been attending his fair share of Cubs games and pitched the idea […]

Read More

Another Ferris Wheel Made in Chicago

Ferris wheel and old Vienna village

Navy Pier turned 100 this year, and the new Centennial Wheel made its maiden voyage. The Ferris wheel is no stranger to Chicago. The first Ferris wheel was built especially for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was tasked with creating something so stunning and special that it would "out-Eiffel" even the Eiffel Tower, […]

Read More

CPL Welcomes the Chicago Film Archive of Performance


Chicago Public Library is proud to become the new home for recordings created by the Chicago Film Archive of Performance (C-FAP). Founded by Drew Blau in 2013, C-FAP is committed to filming live performance in order to document and preserve Chicago's rich theater community. C-FAP has preserved 18 productions already, and plans to film a total of […]

Read More

The Jungle Comes to CPL

production image from the Jungle

Upton Sinclair published The Jungle 110 years ago. This famous expose of working conditions in Chicago's stockyards and packing houses led President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress to enact the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts of 1906. The Jungle is available in other formats. Sinclair's story is as much about working conditions as […]

Read More

Celebrate Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day

As You Like It

April 23, 2016 has been proclaimed by Mayor Emanuel as Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day. This day celebrates both the birth and death anniversaries of the playwright, and encourages all Chicagoans to enjoy his lasting influence. Happily, Mother Nature seems to be celebrating too. With warmer weather and daffodils in bloom, has Chicago's typical winter of discontent finally made way for […]

Read More