David Gremp Photographs

Dates: 1978-1979
Size: 1.5 linear feet, 1 oversize box
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: N00021
Provenance: Purchased from David Gremp, 2015.
Access: Research copies may be made. For any other reproductions, permission must be obtained from the Photographer.
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: David Gremp Photographs, [Photograph#], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Michelle McCoy, October 2015

Biographical Note

Born and raised in Chicago’s south suburbs, David Gremp earned an M.A. in photography at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1978. He has taught at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois. He has also been the recipient of a humanities grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1980 and a completion grant from the Illinois Arts Council in 1982. His photographic exhibitions include: Alibi Fine Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (2011, 2013), Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, Illinois (2012) and Calumet Photographic Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (2013).

He began taking this series of photographs in September of 1978 as part of the CETA/Neighborhood Arts Program in Chicago. The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) was initiated in 1973 as a program to create additional employment opportunities for unemployed and low income earners. Inspired by programs from the 1930s New Deal era such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), opportunities were opened to artists in several U.S. cities.

As part of this program, David Gremp joined 120 artists-in-residence hired by the Chicago Council on Fine Arts. He was assigned to the Chicago Public Library where he taught photography workshops at various branches and was asked to document the various library facilities along with their corresponding neighborhoods. This amounted to about fourteen neighborhoods in twelve months. The photographs consist mainly of ordinary Chicagoans on the city streets, but also include individuals in the branch libraries, and the architectural styles of neighborhoods and the time period.

His choice was to approach all of his human subjects in the same way; by asking them to look directly into the camera. The project produced approximately 100 rolls of film. The library selected 120 black and white photographs to display in the various branch libraries and 40 photographs from this selection were exhibited at Chicago’s Cultural Center in 1980.

Scope and Content

This collection contains sixty black and white photographs from thirteen Chicago neighborhoods taken between September 1978 and August 1979. The neighborhoods include: Austin, Chatham, Chinatown, Garfield Park, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Little Village, Lower Westside, Pullman, Scottsdale, Uptown, and Washington Heights.


The photographs are arranged alphabetically by neighborhood.

Related Materials

Container List

Folder 1 Biographical Information
Photograph 1.1 Folder 2 Austin. Unidentified boy on stairs.
Photograph 1.2 Folder 2 Austin. Unidentified man on park bench.
Photograph 1.3 Folder 2 Austin. Unidentified boys in empty lot.
Photograph 1.4 Folder 3 Chatham. Four girls jumping rope.
Photograph 1.5 Folder 3 Chatham. Bungalow.
Photograph 1.6 Folder 3 Chatham. Man at sales window, George Saddler News.
Photograph 1.7 Folder 3 Chatham. Man in doorway, Jiffy Taxi Cabs.
Photograph 1.8 Folder 3 Chatham. Two men at counter of a local small grocery or general goods store.
Photograph 1.9 Folder 4 Chinatown (Armour Square). Newsstand operator, sign reads: Welcome to Chinatown.
Photograph 1.10 Folder 4 Chinatown (Armour Square). Man in doorway, Quong Hong.
Photograph 1.11 Folder 4 Chinatown (Armour Square). Five children.
Photograph 1.12 Folder 4 Chinatown (Armour Square). Man in a lawn chair by residence.
Photograph 1.13 Folder 5 Garfield Park. Two boys at Legler Branch, Chicago Public Library.
Photograph 1.14 Folder 5 Garfield Park. Woman and two girls.
Photograph 1.15 Folder 5 Garfield Park. Man and a woman.
Photograph 1.16 Folder 5 Garfield Park. Two women in front of wall with “Soul Love” in graffiti.
Photograph 1.17 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Harold’s Chicken Shack, 1208 E. 53rd Street.
Photograph 1.18 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Apartment buildings.
Photograph 1.19 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Mail carrier.
Photograph 1.20 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Young man at Americanization Center.
Photograph 1.21 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Boy in snow.
Photograph 1.22 Folder 6 Hyde Park. Man in his garden.
Photograph 1.23 Folder 7 Lincoln Park. Two women cross a vacant lot.
Photograph 1.24 Folder 7 Lincoln Park. Doggie Diner, 723 W. Armitage Avenue.
Photograph 1.25 Folder 7 Lincoln Park. Two women behind shop counter, Romano’s Italian Lemonade, 1136 W. Armitage Avenue.
Photograph 1.26 Folder 7 Lincoln Park. Man with produce delivery truck.
Photograph 1.27 Folder 8 Lincoln Square. Beauty Salon, Montrose Avenue east of Lincoln Avenue.
Photograph 1.28 Folder 8 Lincoln Square. La Mode Tailors.
Photograph 1.29 Folder 8 Lincoln Square. Johnny’s food cart.
Photograph 1.30 Folder 8 Lincoln Square. Matt’s Barber Shop.
Photograph 1.31 Folder 9 Little Village. Family of ten on front stairs.
Photograph 1.32 Folder 9 Little Village. Man watering his yard.
Photograph 1.33 Folder 9 Little Village. Man behind counter of general store.
Photograph 1.34 Folder 9 Little Village. Boy in front of Maria Isabel Abarroles carniceria.
Photograph 1.35 Folder 9 Little Village. Two people on front stairs.
Photograph 1.36 Folder 9 Little Village. Two women in front of Bonnie’s bar.
Photograph 1.37 Folder 10 Lower Westside. Four young men and a boy on bench.
Photograph 1.38 Folder 10 Lower Westside. Woman and daughter watering the lawn.
Photograph 1.39 Folder 11 Pullman. Two men in front of C. K. Fruit Market
Photograph 1.40 Folder 11 Pullman. Sign before building advertises services of the Gospel Minister.
Photograph 1.41 Folder 11 Pullman. Girl with a fishing pole.
Photograph 1.42 Folder 11 Pullman. Series of 4 photos printed together, each with a portrait of a young couple.
Photograph 1.43 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Man and boy in a pool hall.
Photograph 1.44 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Three men in a mall.
Photograph 1.45 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Two men at phone booths.
Photograph 1.46 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Fotomat.
Photograph 1.47 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Woman in uniform.
Photograph 1.48 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Family bowling.
Photograph 1.49 Folder 12 Scottsdale. Triptyph of one-story bungalows.
Photograph 1.50 Folder 13 Uptown. Woman with protest message before gas station advertisements.
Photograph 1.51 Folder 13 Uptown. Family of eight on front stairs.
Photograph 1.52 Folder 13 Uptown. Boy and a dog alongside station wagon.
Photograph 1.53 Folder 13 Uptown. Three boys with man along street.
Photograph 1.54 Folder 13 Uptown. Girl along street.
Photograph 1.55 Folder 14 Uptown. Man in front of Cat’s Paw shoe repair.
Photograph 1.56 Folder 14 Uptown. Five men at the counter of J&M Kosher Meat Market, 4465 W. Lawrence Avenue.
Photograph 1.57 Folder 14 Uptown. Man in front of Ancel Radio Service, Broadway and Wilson.
Photograph 1.58 Folder 14 Uptown. Goldblatt’s, Lawrence Avenue and Broadway.
Photograph 1.59 Folder 15 Washington Heights. Man with a baby across the street from the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, CPL.
Photograph 1.60 Folder 15 Washington Heights. Girl in front of a card catalog at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, CPL.
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