A-Z Digital Collections

CPL's Digital Collections document life in Chicago through archival images, documents and artifacts.



Barlow, Esther A. Collection

Esther Barlow was a children’s librarian in neighborhood branches of Chicago Public Library from 1927 until 1976.


Chicago Examiner

The Chicago Examiner was one of a dozen major newspapers published in Chicago at the turn of the last century. It was known for its sensational news stories.

Chicago Public Library Archives

On January 1, 1873 the Chicago Public Library opened its doors in a water tank that had survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. These photographs trace our history from that small structure to the development of neighborhood libraries across the city.

Chicago Renaissance

The Black Chicago Renaissance was a creative movement when activism and scholarship flourished with the prodigious work of African American community leaders, performers, artists, writers and activists.

Chicago Sewers Collection

The sewer systems and passageways that lie beneath our feet are critical to the health and well being of the city. Offering a rare look at the “underbelly” of Chicago, this collection of historical images features construction photographs of sewers and tunnels.

Chicago Theater

Theater collections at Chicago Public Library document a vibrant local theater community.


George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives

The George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives contain materials related to the operation of Chicago Public Library’s Hall Branch, opened in 1932. The branch is named after prominent African American physician, activist and leader George Cleveland Hall. The Hall Branch Archives contain annual reports, branch bulletins, programs, fliers and memos from 1932 through the 1970s.

Green, Henry D. Photograph Collection

Chicago Public Library’s Northside Neighborhood History Collection houses the photographs of Henry Green, a commercial photographer on Chicago’s North Side. Additional materials by Henry Delorval Green are held at the Chicago History Museum.



Illinois Writers Project: "Negro in Illinois" Digital Collection

This collection includes over a thousand items from the Illinois Writers Project. Many of the Chicago Black Renaissance writers worked on this book project, and the digital collection contains their early draft chapters and research. These writings explore the African American experience in Illinois, including arrival, slavery, social conditions, religions, education, Black business and life in the suburban areas around Chicago.




Millennium Park U.S. Equities Realty Collection

Watch the Millennium Park site transform from an industrial wasteland to a new urban park of world renown from 1999-2005, under the project management of U.S. Equities Realty and acclaimed architects, engineers and artists.

More From Our Collections

A sampling of images from our archival collections showcasing various moments in Chicago's history.


Northside Clubs and Organizations

Glimpse the activities of the thriving civic service scene on the North Side as well as the rich ethnic and religious heritage of the community.

Northside High Schools

Photographs of high school football games, theatrical productions, dances and extracurricular activities from the 1870s to the 1950s.




Remembering Harold Washington

Mayor Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, transformed the city during his years in office (1983-1987).

Residents’ Journal Records Digital Collection

Residents’ Journal is a newspaper written by and for residents of Chicago public housing. Led by former Chicago Daily Defender journalist Ethan Michaeli and Mary C. Piemonte (née Johns), it began in 1996 with funding from the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). In 1999, We the People Media, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to manage the publication and the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.


Sang, Philip David Collection

The Philip David Sang Collection contains unpublished and published works and ephemera united by its focus on the struggle of Africans and African Americans through the Middle Passage to the civil rights movement.


Tsuda, Akito Collection

Listen to audio recordings of conversations between photographer Akito Tsuda and the people he photographed in the Pilsen neighborhood in the early 1990s.
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