Celebrate American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month! Have you ever visited one of Chicago Public Library's special collections to see our archives? Researched black history at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at Woodson Regional Library? Gotten chills from discovering a historical document in Special Collections at Harold Washington Library Center? Or made a trip to the Northside Neighborhood History Collection at Sulzer Regional Library? Now's the perfect time to do so.

An archive is a collection of original historical materials (letters, photographs, journals, artifacts, speeches, videocassettes, etc.), and it refers to the places where these records are kept. Archivists are tasked with collecting, organizing, preserving and making these materials available to the public.

This month we're celebrating the work of archivists and the importance of archives with a series of events through Chicago Open Archives.

  • The Illinois Black Laws in a City of Refuge
    10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, October 6 at Woodson Regional Library
    Archivist Beth Loch gives a short presentation on the Illinois Black Laws and Underground Railroad sites in Chicago, then shows archival manuscripts from the mid-1800s.
  • Historical Collection Open House
    1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 6 at Sulzer Regional Library
    An archival open house featuring highlights from the Ravenswood - Lake View Community Collection.
  • From Swampland to Presidential Center: The History of Jackson Park
    10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, October 13 at Harold Washington Library Center
    Look at early plans for Jackson Park; its development as host of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, its post-Fair change into a permanent home for the Museum of Science and Industry and recreation grounds for citizens; its role in Cold War missile defense and preparations for the Obama Presidential Center. 

Please join us for one of these events or stop in anytime throughout the year. We'll be happy to share Chicago's rich history with you. If you can't visit in person, check out our Digital Collections to see photos, newspapers and more.