October is American Archives Month, celebrating the work of archivists and raising awareness on the value of archives to our community.
An archive is a collection of historical records and/or the physical place such records are located. Archives are important because they provide long-term preservation and access to records of enduring cultural and historical value.
Chicago Public Library has four special collections. Each collection has its own area of specialization:
- Municipal Reference Collection serves as the first point of contact for information on Chicago ordinances, statistics, government, budgets and community areas.
- Northside Neighborhood History Collection includes both historical and contemporary materials about Northside neighborhoods.
- Special Collections contains rare and unique materials focusing on Chicago as well as the Civil War.
- Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature documents the black experience with a strong focus on Chicago.
This October, CPL archivists are offering events in connection with Chicago Open Archives. These events are a chance to hear little-known stories from the archives:
- Sulzer Regional Library Historical Collection Open House: On October 7, Pat Butler, president of the Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association and author of Hidden Histories of Ravenswood and Lake View, and librarian Julie Lynch share stories from the archives.
- Buildings: Untold Tales of Chicago's Civil Rights Movement: On October 28, archivists from Special Collections and the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection team up to explore the community impact of the civil rights movement in Chicago on buildings in African American neighborhoods in back-to-back events. The archivists will guide participants through an exploration of documents and photographs that reveal lesser-known stories of civil rights activists from the South and West sides of Chicago.