Mary and Warren Bacon Papers


Dates: 1951-2006
Size: 3 linear feet
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60628



Provenance: Donated by Mary Lou Bacon, widow of Warren H. Bacon in 2009
Access: No restrictions

When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Mary and Warren Bacon Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Processed by: Beverly A. Cook, June 2021

Biographical Note

Warren Bacon (1923-1991) was a lifelong resident of Chicago educated in the Chicago Public School system. Bacon received his B.A. degree in Economics from Roosevelt University in 1948 and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1951. He served three years in World War II, as a surveyor in the U.S. Engineers Corps in the South Pacific. When he returned to Chicago, he started his career at Supreme Liberty Life Insurance. He worked at Inland Steel from 1966-1985 in several capacities: Director of Industrial Relations and Manpower Training and President of the Inland-Steel Ryerson Foundation. He was a member of the Chicago Board of Education from 1963-1985 serving with distinction during the turbulent 60s and 70s when desegregation was a heated issue. Bacon was an integral part of the Chicago School Reform Act of 1987. In 1985, Bacon became President of Chicago United, an interracial consortium of prominent business and professional leaders dedicated to the improvement of economic and social conditions in the city. He retired from Chicago United in 1990.

Warren Bacon married Mary Lou Ellen of Cairo, Illinois in 1946. The couple had 3 sons. Mary Lou Bacon was an avid reader who belonged to various book clubs. She and her husband founded the Great Black Book Club. Most of the members were longtime friends and business associates who met and discussed books at members homes. The club disbanded in 2004. Mary Lou Bacon was the club photographer. She was also part of the committee that facilitated the endowment of the Warren Bacon Chair in Urban Education at Roosevelt University. Mary Lou Bacon died in 2010.

Warren Bacon sat on many committees dealing with improving the American education system to meet the new global challenges. He was touted as a viable candidate for the first Black mayor of the City of Chicago but chose instead to serve as the Chairman of the successful Harold Washington for Mayor Committee. He held seats on the Education Committee of the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington, DC; Seaway National Bank of Chicago and Hyde Park Federal Savings and Loan Association; Former Chairman of the Illinois Employment and Training Council (CETA) from 1974-1980; Russell Sage Foundation out of New York.

His community and civic activities included: Chairman, Personnel Board, City of Chicago; Governor’s Advisory Committee on Provident Hospital; Cochairman, Mayor’s Advisory Council on the Chicago Housing Authority. Warren Bacon received honors both from Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago for his community work on behalf of equality and employment opportunities for the citizens of Chicago, especially for minorities and the disadvantaged. Bacon died in 1991.


  • Kemp, Jack. “Man Ahead: Warren H. Bacon” in SAY! The Alumni Magazine of Roosevelt University, 1964 Winter
  • Thomas, Karen. “Warren Bacon, Education Crusader,” Chicago Tribune, 1991 May 31
  • “Warren Bacon Resigns as Council Chair,” Consensus, 1980 May

Scope and Content

Warren Bacon was a prominent Chicago civic leader and member of the Chicago Board of Education. Bacon opposed the policies of then Chicago Public Schools superintendent Benjamin Willis. The papers include photographs and documents from Warren’s career and from his wife, Mary, and from their membership in the Great Black Book Club.


There are 9 series in this collection. The series are: Biography, Correspondence, Warren Bacon Chair, Newspaper Clippings, Organizations, Programs, Scrapbook, Serials, and Photographs.

Series 1: Biography, 1951-1994

Biography series contains honorary degrees, correspondence and newspaper clippings that shed light on his career. Of special note are the tributes sent to his widow, Mary Lou Bacon after he died. This series is in chronological order.

Series 2: Correspondence, 1970, 1991-1994, undated

Correspondence contains information on his last years of service to the city including his letter of resignation to Mayor Richard M. Daley. This series also contains correspondence from Theodore Gross, then President of Roosevelt University, on the formation of the Warren Bacon Chair in Urban Education and tributes to his widow following Bacon’s death. This series is in chronological order.

Series 3: Warren Bacon Chair, 1991-1994, undated

The Warren Bacon Chair of Urban Education was established to honor Warren Bacon’s contributions to education, politics, and business in Chicago. It was funded by private contributions of $1.2 million at Roosevelt University to attract national leaders in the field of urban education. This series is in chronological order.

Series 4: Newspaper Clippings, 1963-1991, undated

These newspaper clippings were collected by Warren Bacon and document the turbulent history of the Chicago Board of Education during the 1960s and 1970s. There are two sub-series; Warren Bacon and Subject Newspaper Clippings.

Subseries A: Warren Bacon, 1963-1991, undated is in chronological order.

Subseries B: Subject Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1987 is in alphabetical order.

Series 5: Organizations, 1964-1989, undated

Of special note is the Philip Hauser report on integration of the public schools in Chicago in 1964. This series is in alphabetical order.

Series 6: Programs, 1968-2006

Programs has two sub-series.

Subseries A: Event programs, 1968-2006 is in chronological order.

The Cook County Bar Association’s 54th award banquet is included where Warren Bacon was the keynote speaker along with his retirement invitation from Chicago United in 1990.

Subseries B: Funeral Programs, 1991-2006 is in alphabetical order.

Included are the programs for Jessie A. Woods, founder and president of Urban Gateways for over 19 years and Jimmy Jones, one of the African American doctors who integrated the staffs of Lewis Memorial, Columbus, and the University of Chicago Lying-In Hospital.

Series 7: Serials, 1964-1994

This series is in alphabetical order.

Series 8: Scrapbook, 1985-2006

This scrapbook has photographs dating from 1984-2006 along with documents and notes. The photographs document the members’ meetings, programs, newspaper clippings and celebrations. It includes such luminaries as Lerone and Gloria Bennett, George Reed, Jetta and Jimmy Jones, Mary Lou Bacon, Manford and Cheribelle Byrd, Cyrus Colter, Roma Stewart and Jesse Owens' widow, Ruth. There is a clipping file on James Baldwin when the Great Black Book Group did a memorial tribute to him in 1987. Included are photographs from the Gwendolyn Brooks' 70th birthday celebration. Obituaries in the back of this scrapbook have been separated into their own series of funeral programs.

Series 9: Photographs, 1960s-1980s, undated

This series is in chronological order.

Related Materials

Related Materials at the Chicago Public Library include:

Related materials at other institutions include:

Container List

Series 1: Biography, 1951-1991

Box 1 Folder 1 University of Chicago Master of Business Administration convocation, 1951 June 15
Box 1 Folder 2 Correspondence, Inland Steel Corporation, 1966
Box 1 Folder 3 Riley, Ned. “The Little Steel Schoolhouse” in Careers Today, 1969 January
Box 1 Folder 4 Flyer. The Pursuit of Excellence...Warren H. Bacon, circa 1970
Box 1 Folder 5 Correspondence. Reynolds, Ralph. Committee for Warren H. Bacon for President of Chicago Board of Education, 1970 November 17
Box 1 Folder 6 Manuscript, “Redmond a hostage in the Board of Education power struggle,” 1970 December 18
Box 1 Folder 7 Newspaper clipping. “Desegregation in City Schools” in Chicago Sun-Times, 1974 May 16
Box 1 Folder 8 Warren H. Bacon resume, circa 1989
Box 1 Folder 9 “Ode to Warren,” 1990 [retirement from Chicago United, Inc.]
Box 1 Folder 10 Warren H. Bacon biographical statements, 1990-1991
Box 1 Folder 11 Warren’s Auld Lang Syne, 1990 March
Box 1 Folder 12 Biography, honorary degree from Roosevelt University, 1991 January 13
Box 1 Folder 13 Senate resolution 438 honoring Warren Bacon, 1991 May 30
Box 1 Folder 14 Correspondence, Tribute from Lerone Bennett, 1991 June 8
Box 1 Folder 15 Correspondence, Tribute from Mildred D Johnson, 1991 June1
Box 1 Folder 16 Correspondence, Tribute from Jetta Norris Jones, 1991 June 8
Box 1 Folder 17 Correspondence, Tribute from Rev. D Neighbors, 1991 June 8
Box 1 Folder 18 Correspondence, Tribute from Dr. Richard L Tolliver, 1991 June 8
Box 1 Folder 19 Correspondence, Tribute from Jim Webb, 1991 June 6
Box 1 Folder 20 Franciscan Mass League Perpetual Membership in memory of Warren Bacon, 1991 June 6

Series 2: Correspondence, 1970; 1991-1994, undated

Box 1 Folder 21 Letters in support of Warren Bacon candidacy for President of the Chicago Board of Education, 1970 December 8
Box 1 Folder 22 Bacon, Warren to Theodore Gross, 1991 January 21
Box 1 Folder 23 Bacon, Warren to Jacoby Dickins, 1991 April 15
Box 1 Folder 24 Bacon, Warren to Mayor Richard M. Daley, 1991 April 15
Box 1 Folder 25 Rosser, Lawrence to Warren Bacon, 1991 May 7
Box 1 Folder 26 Daley, Richard M. to Warren Bacon, 1991 May 7
Box 1 Folder 27 Lamb, Gordon to Mary Lou Bacon, 1991 May 21
Box 1 Folder 28 Dejoie to Mary Lou Bacon, circa 1991 June
Box 1 Folder 29 Webb, James to Theodore Gross, 1991 June 6
Box 1 Folder 30 Reed, Joseph to Mary Lou Bacon, 1991 June 7
Box 1 Folder 31 Mosley-Braun, Carol to Mrs. Warren Bacon, 1993 September 13
Box 1 Folder 32 Webb, James to Mary Lou Bacon, 1994 April 20
Box 1 Folder 33 Pollack, Emanuel, undated

Series 3: Warren Bacon Chair in Urban Education, 1991-1994, undated

Box 1 Folder 34 Correspondence. Gross, Theodore to James Webb, 1991 June 10
Box 1 Folder 35 Correspondence. Webb, James to Lester Dugas, 1991 June 12
Box 1 Folder 36 Warren Bacon memorial lecture series, 1991 July
Box 1 Folder 37 Warren Bacon memorial lecture series, 1991 November
Box 1 Folder 38 Warren Bacon chair in Urban Education draft, 1991 December 6
Box 1 Folder 39 Warren Bacon memorial executive board meeting, 1991 December 9
Box 1 Folder 40 Warren Bacon chair in Urban Education at Roosevelt University, 1992 February
Box 1 Folder 41 Correspondence, Webb, James to Lester Dugas, 1992 December 22
Box 1 Folder 42 Roosevelt University Renaissance campaign, 1992-1994
Box 1 Folder 43 Warren Bacon Chair in Urban Education executive board progress report, 1993 April 13
Box 1 Folder 44 Warren Bacon lecture series. Keynote speaker Charles V. Hamilton, “America’s Cities and Education,” 1994 May 25
Box 1 Folder 45 Roosevelt University introduces Dr. Charles Almo, 1994 May 25
Box 1 Folder 46 Warren Bacon Memorial Executive board membership directory, undated

Series 4: Newspaper Clippings, 1963-1991, undated

Subseries A: Warren Bacon, 1963-1991, undated

Box 2 Folder 1 “Businessman named as second Negro member of the School Board,” circa 1963
Box 2 Folder 2 Jet profile, circa 1963
Box 2 Folder 3 “Three named for School Board nominations,” Chicago Defender, 1963 March 27
Box 2 Folder 4 Banas, Casey. “Free Transportation Debate awaits School Board,” Chicago Tribune 1964 August 9
Box 2 Folder 5 “Willis asleep at the Switch on schools, Hauser charges,” Chicago Daily News, 1964 November 13
Box 2 Folder 6 Klemesrud, Judy. “Bacon wants top-to-bottom change for schools,” Chicago Daily News, 1965 October 20
Box 2 Folder 7 Dunbar, Ruth. “Federal Rewards proposed for Fast School Integration,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1967 June 4
Box 2 Folder 8 McMullen, Jay. “Board nominees urge school fund hike,” circa 1968
Box 2 Folder 9 “Going…going…gone school busing memories,” Chicago Daily News, 1968 January 11
Box 2 Folder 10 Havemann, Joel. “Boycotters tell demands to school board,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1968 October 31
Box 2 Folder 11 Dolan, Thomas. “Bacon boycotts talks, hopes for best,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1969 May 23
Box 2 Folder 12 “Don’t blow your chance for change: Bacon urges youths,” The Inland Steelmaker, 1969 June 12
Box 2 Folder 13 Havemann, Joel. “Bacon’s lost cause,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1970 May 28
Box 2 Folder 14 “Who’ll be black mayor,” Chicago Today, 1970 August 7
Box 2 Folder 15 “This man is the best man,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1970 November 6
Box 2 Folder 16 Gaber, Alice. “Bacon support travels to NS,” Lerner Newspapers, 1970 November 11
Box 2 Folder 17 Palmer, Lu. “This time a black is the best, but,” Chicago Daily News, 1970 November 14
Box 2 Folder 18 Justus, Hope. “School battle: Bacon vs Carey,” Chicago Daily News, 1970 November 17
Box 2 Folder 19 Havemann, Joel. “Daley urged to support Bacon,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1970 November 18
Box 2 Folder 20 “Frustration sparks Boycott says Bacon,” Chicago Daily News 1970 December 3
Box 2 Folder 21 “Blacks parade for Bacon,” Chicago Tribune, 1970 December 6
Box 2 Folder 22 Negronida, Peter. “School board showdown set for Bacon, Carey,” Chicago Tribune, 1970 December 15
Box 2 Folder 23 “Bacon, Carey not as far apart as their foes,” 1970 December 27
Box 2 Folder 24 “Will Chicago miss this big chance to help our schools,” Chicago Today, 1970 December 28
Box 2 Folder 25 “Bacon supporters rap ‘hankie panky’ in voting,” Chicago Defender, 1970 December 31
Box 2 Folder 26 Dedinsky, Mary. “Bacon backers weigh suit to void election,” Chicago Today, 1970 December 31
Box 2 Folder 27 Havemann, Joel. “Bacon vote may signal Daley fall,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1971 January 2
Box 2 Folder 28 Poulos, Nick. “Urban ventures help new Black businesses,” Chicago Tribune, 1971 January 3
Box 2 Folder 29 Woodlock, Douglas. “Loss symbolized Black powerlessness,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1971 January 3
Box 2 Folder 30 “Bacon’s defeat just points up problem,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1971 January 10
Box 2 Folder 31 Jarrett, Vernon. “Average white men also is powerless,” Chicago Tribune, 1971 January 17
Box 2 Folder 32 “10 Independents win backing for Council,” Chicago News, 1971 January 20
Box 2 Folder 33 Herman, Edith. “Discouraged Warren Bacon looks back on his 10 years on School Board,” Chicago Tribune, 1973 May 6
Box 2 Folder 34 Mehler, Neil. “Black candidate will hurt Singer’s bid, machine says,” Chicago Tribune, 1974 August 25
Box 2 Folder 35 “Pleased with plans…,” Chicago Defender, 1974 November 16
Box 2 Folder 36 “Legal Defense Fund honors Bacon,” Chicago Defender, 1976 November 23
Box 2 Folder 37 Jarrett, Vernon. “Where civil rights come first,” Chicago Tribune, 1976 December 1
Box 2 Folder 38 “Two blacks reject mayor race: Pucinski running,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1977 January 14
Box 2 Folder 39 Jarrett, Vernon. “Warren Bacon is on the bandwagon,” Chicago Tribune, 1977 March 18
Box 2 Folder 40 Terry, Don. “Businessmen saw study as way to aid the city,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1986 November
Box 2 Folder 41 Kup’s column in Chicago Sun-Times, 1989 July 11
Box 2 Folder 42 “Provident Hospital overseers appointed,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1990 March 6
Box 2 Folder 43 Warren Bacon obituaries, 1991
Box 2 Folder 44 Jarrett, Vernon. “Warren Bacon-a class act,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1991 June 2
Box 2 Folder 45 “Blacks being shut out of key posts,” undated
Box 2 Folder 46 Calhoun, Lillian. “Confetti,” undated
Box 2 Folder 47 Colvin, Robert “Principals work under controversial pact,” undated

Subseries B: Subject Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1987

Box 2 Folder 48 Bacon, Warren photo ops, 1968-1987
Box 2 Folder 49 Bacon for Mayor, 1970-1974
Box 2 Folder 50 Boutte, Alvin, 1970
Box 2 Folder 51 Chicago Board of Education, 1967-1974
Box 2 Folder 52 Hauser, Philip, 1964
Box 2 Folder 53 Havighurst Report, 1964
Box 2 Folder 54 Rohter, Cay, 1970-1971
Box 2 Folder 55 Whiston, Frank, 1968-1970
Box 2 Folder 56 Willis, Benjamin, 1965

Series 5: Organizations, 1964-1989, undated

Box 3 Folder 1 BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development, undated
Box 3 Folder 2 Chicago Educational Support and Scholarship (CHESS) draft, 1989 October 10
Box 3 Folder 3 Chicago United, Inc. annual report, 1988-1989
Box 3 Folder 4 City of Chicago, Chicago Board of Education, Philip Hauser report on Integration of the public schools, 1964 March 31
Box 3   The Great Black Book Group, circa (see oversized box 4)
Box 3 Folder 5 State of Illinois, Circuit Court of Cook County. Walter Johnson, et. al vs Board of Education of the City of Chicago, et. al, No. 65L19582 declaratory judgement. 1965 June 29

Series 6: Programs, 1968-2006

Subseries A: Event programs, 1968-2006

Box 3 Folder 6 Cook County Bar Association 54th annual awards banquet, 1968 June 28
Box 3 Folder 7 University of Chicago alumni reunion luncheon and award assembly, 1972 June 3
Box 3 Folder 8 Legal Defense Fund dinner, 1976 December 7
Box 3 Folder 9 Sixth annual HAVIGHURST lecture, 1981 September 30
Box 3 Folder 10 American Express sponsors…1989 April 14
Box 3 Folder 11 Chicago United, Inc. retirement for Warren Bacon, 1990 January 11
Box 3 Folder 12 Community Renewal Society annual benefit dinner, 1990 April 18
Box 3 Folder 13 William Jefferson Clinton inauguration, 1997 January 20
Box 3 Folder 14 Roosevelt Renaissance celebration, 1997 April 23
Box 3 Folder 15 50th wedding celebration of Manford and Cheribelle Byrd, 2006 March 31

Subseries B: Funeral Programs, 1991-2006

Box 3 Folder 16 Bacon, Warren H. Sr., 1923-1991
Box 3 Folder 17 Jones, Jimmy (1928-2006)
Box 3 Folder 18 Robbins, Millard D (1919-2003
Box 3 Folder 19 Woods, James, d. 1988
Box 3 Folder 20 Woods, Jessie A (1914-2004)

Series 7: Serials, 1970-1994

Box 3 Folder 21 Chicago Free Press, 1970 October 12
Box 3 Folder 22 Chicago Journalism Review, 1973 February
Box 3 Folder 23 CONSENSUS, 1980 May
Box 3 Folder 24 Episcopal Church Foundation Newsletter, 1967 August
Box 3 Folder 25 Illinois UPDATE, 1988
Box 3 Folder 26 Roosevelt University—The Educator, 1994 Fall
Box 3 Folder 27 Roosevelt University—The Renaissance, 1991-1994
Box 3 Folder 28 SAY!, 1964 Winter

Series 8: Scrapbook, 1986-2006

Box 4   The Great Black Book Group, 1985-2006

Series 9: Photographs, 1960s-1980s, undated

Box 5 Photo 001 Warren Bacon receiving award from Boy Scout organization, circa 1960s. Photo by Mart Studios, Inc.
Box 5 Photo 002 Warren Bacon with the Board of the Boy Scouts of America, circa 1960s. Photo by Mart Studios, Inc.
Box 6 Photo 003 Warren Bacon and the Board of the Boy Scouts of America, circa 1960s
Box 5 Photo 004 Warren Bacon and unidentified man at 22nd annual mid-year conference Joint Session National Insurance Association, 1961 February 28-March 3 in Denver Colorado. Photo by McCloud
Box 5 Photo 005 Warren Bacon and two unidentified men at the Chicago Club, 1964 January 18. Photo by Cliff Burress, stamped Supreme Life Insurance Company of America
Box 5 Photo 006 Warren Bacon at Women’s Scholarship Association Leadership for Freedom luncheon. 1971 June 7. Photo by Allan Weber, stamped Roosevelt University Public Relations Office
Box 5 Photo 007 Warren Bacon, President of Chicago United, Inc., circa 1980s
Box 5 Photo 008 Mike Royko and Warren Bacon, circa 1985
Box 5 Photo 009 Warren Bacon with group on stadium at Chicago Park District, undated. Photo compliments of Joe Louis Milk Company
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