Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs Records

Dates: 1914-1954
Size: 2.5 linear feet, 1 oversize folder
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_NWF
Provenance: The collection was originally housed in Chicago Public Library's Legler Branch Library. In the 1980s Special Collections, working with a Dr. Scholl Foundation grant, transferred and processed the collection to make it fully available to the public.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs Records [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Galen R. Wilson, April 1993

Historical Note

The Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs (NWF) served as an umbrella group for neighborhood organizations on Chicago's Northwest Side. It addressed issues from extending bus lines to fighting zoning violations.

The NWF was organized in 1914 as the "27th Ward Federation of Improvement Clubs" because the Northwest Side was so sparsely populated that it fit in one ward, the 27th. As the number of residents increased and the ward was split into several wards, the name was changed to the Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs. Its boundaries extended from North Avenue north to the city limits and from Western Avenue west to the city limits.

Among the numerous committees of the NWF were American citizenship, arterial highways, Dunning Hospital, gas and electricity, home owners loan, horticulture, juvenile delinquency, legislative, parks and forest preserves, police and fire protection, public health, schools and playgrounds, streets and alleys, taxation, traffic and safety and transportation. The NWF closed in the late 1950s.

Scope and Content

The collection is arranged in three series. The collection is particularly rich in economic information about Chicago during the 1920s years of plenty and the Depression which followed in the 1930s. See particularly the files on the Taxation Committee (3:5 to 3:16). Some information about Chicago’s participation in the war effort of the 1940s is found here.

Series 1: Administrative Records

This series includes membership lists, arrangements for and minutes of meetings, and general correspondence.

Series 2: Committees

This series comprises the core of the collection. The vast majority of the NWF’s work was accomplished in committees.

Series 3: Topical Files

This series contains information about specific efforts undertaken by the NWF and miscellaneous material.

Separation Record:

The following materials have been removed from the collection since they were not produced by the Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs. Most of them were originally collected by NWF in the NWFIC Transportation Committee files.

Bernardi, Bill, business card (music business), undated Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Biography
Belmont Garden Tavern, business card, [1941] Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Business
Chicago Real Estate Board, Real Estate (v.16, n.15), 1941 Apr 12 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Business
Chicago Title & Trust, “Some uses and purposes of land trusts,” 1939 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Business
Portland Cement Association, flyers, 1933, undated Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Business
Central Northwest Business Men’s Association, flyer, feeder bus lines, [1930s] Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Clubs & Organizations
Illinois Tax Amendment Committee, “Apace with Progress: The Case for Tax Revision,” 1916 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Clubs & Organizations
Board of Cook County Commissioners, “Problems of Governmental Simplification...,” 1929 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Municipal Agencies

Joint Committee on Real Estate Evaluation,

“Appraisal Standards for the Assessment...,” 1932

Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Municipal Agencies
“Real Estate Deflation in Chicago 1928-1933,” 1933 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Municipal Agencies
Chicago Four-Year College Committee, flyer, [1940s?] Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Schools
Federation of Women High School Teachers, “High School Education in Chicago,” 1934 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Schools
Illinois Civic League, “The Chicago Public Schools,” flyer, [1930s] Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Schools
Lake Shore Drive, proposed cross-section of Lake Shore Drive, 1936 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Streets
“Misc. data for the public hearing on traffic facilities…,” 1935 Chicago City-Wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Streets
Levering, Benjamin, “The Subway,” pamphlet with map, [1900s?] Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
City Council Committee on Local Transportation, “Transportation Bulletin #1,” 1915 March Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“An Ordinance…Comprehensive Municipal Local Transportation System,” 1925 February 27 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Outstanding Features…Local Transportation System,” 1925 February 27 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Citizens’ Traction Settlement Committee, “Status of Chicago’s Traction Program,” 1929 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Chicago Surface Lines, Service News (Street Car Edition), v.II, n.3, 1930 March 15 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Draft of an Ordinance…Comprehensive Unified Local Transportation System,” 1930 April 22 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“An Ordinance…Comprehensive Unified Local Transportation System,” 1930 May 19 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Transfers between Chicago Surface Lines and Chicago Rapid Transit,” map, 1935 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Wardens, Edward, “Municipal Government and Transportation,” radio address,1936 August Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“The Chicago Surface Lines Streamlines Local Transportation,” [1936?] Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Proceedings of the Committee on Local Transportation…City Council,” 1937 January 19 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Mayor Kelly’s Plan for a Comprehensive Transportation…,” 1937 January Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“A Comprehensive Local Transportation Plan for the City of Chicago,” 1937 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Chicago Rapid Transit Company, “Do you want ‘L’ service extended?” [1930s?] Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“Preliminary Draft…ordinance…for a Comprehensive Unified Local Transportation System”; 1940 June 28 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“An Ordinance…Comprehensive Unified Local Transportation System…,” 1940 July 8 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Chicago Rapid Transit Lines Transportation, map, 1941 Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
“First inspection trip, Chicago subway,” 1943 April Chicago City-wide Collection (Supplement 4) − Transportation (Urban Mass Transit)
Old Portage Park District, general ordinances, 1931 October 19 Portage Park Community Collection 1:16 and 1:17
Portage Park Sportsmen’s Club, Field Day & Patriotic Demonstration program, Memorial Day, 1920 Portage Park Community Collection 1:16 and 1:17

Container List

Series 1: Administrative Records

Box 1 Folder 1 Anniversary meetings, 28th and 30th, 1942, 1944
Box 1 Folder 2 Blank forms
Box 1 Folder 3 Club data, 1915
Box 1 Folder 4 Constitution, 1916
Box 1 Folder 5 Dance, 1930 February 26
Box 1 Folder 6 Delegates and membership, 1914-1919
Box 1 Folder 7 Delegates and membership, 1920-1926
Box 1 Folder 8 Delegates and membership, 1927-1928
Box 1 Folder 9 Delegates and membership, 1929-1930
Box 1 Folder 10 Delegates and membership, 1931-1933, 1936
Box 1 Folder 11 Delegates and membership, 1939-1946
Box 1 Folder 12 Delegates and membership, 1947-1949, undated
Box 1 Folder 13 Delegates and membership, card file (incomplete)
Box 1 Folder 14 Finances
Box 1 Folder 15 General correspondence and notes, 1914-1954
Box 1 Folder 16 Home Talent Entertainments, 1933 January 27, February 3, March 10
Box 1 Folder 17 Installation dinner, 1940
Box 1 Folder 18 Installation dinner dance, 1941
Box 1 Folder 19 Installation dinner dance, 1942
Box 1 Folder 20 Installation of officers, 1948
Box 1 Folder 21 Jackson, Edwin D., Northwest Federation of Improvement Clubs: A History, 1914-47
Box 1 Folder 22 Addenda #1 and Addenda #2, 1947-54
Box 1 Folder 23 Member lists
Box 1 Folder 24 Minutes, 1914-1915
Box 1 Folder 25 Minutes, 1919-1920
Box 1 Folder 26 Minutes, 1929
Box 2 Folder 1 Minutes, 1938
Box 2 Folder 2 Minutes, 1944
Box 2 Folder 3 Minutes, 1951-1953
Box 2 Folder 4 Minutes, 1954
Box 2 Folder 5 Officers

Series 2: Committees

Box 2 Folder 6 Committees list, undated
Box 2 Folder 7 Athletic Committee, baseball league, bowling league, 1930
Box 2 Folder 8 Citizenship Committee
Box 2 Folder 9 Executive Committee, 1930-1938
Box 2 Folder 10 Executive Committee, 1943, 1946-1950
Box 2 Folder 11 Gas and Electricity Committee, 1916, 1920, 1929-1944
Box 2 Folder 12 Home Industries Committee − Made in America Club, 1931-1935
Box 2 Folder 13 Horticulture Committee, 1915
Box 2 Folder 14 Legislative Committee, correspondence, 1916, 1929-1947
Box 2 Folder 15 Legislative Committee, reports, 1933, 1939
Box 2 Folder 16 Legislative Committee, resolutions, bills, miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 17 Parks and Forest Preserves Committee, 1916-1917, 1928-1946
Box 2 Folder 18 Police and Fire Committee, 1916, 1928-1946
Box 3 Folder 1 Public Health Committee; 1929-1933, 1939-1942
Box 3 Folder 2 Schools and Playgrounds Committee, 1916, 1928-1945
Box 3 Folder 3 Streets and Alleys Committee, 1915-1934
Box 3 Folder 4 Streets and Alleys Committee, 1935-1945
Box 3 Folder 5 Taxation Committee, 1915-1916
Box 3 Folder 6 Taxation Committee, 1929-1930
Box 3 Folder 7 Taxation Committee, 1931-1934
Box 3 Folder 8 Taxation Committee, 1937-1942
Box 3 Folder 9 Taxation Committee, 1945-1947
Box 3 Folder 10 Taxation Committee, Association of Real Estate Taxpayers of Illinois
Box 3 Folder 11 Taxation Committee, Automobile Tax Reduction League
Box 3 Folder 12 Taxation Committee, Civic Federation and Bureau of Public Efficiency
Box 3 Folder 13 Taxation Committee, miscellaneous
Box 3 Folder 14 Taxation Committee, tax bills before Illinois legislature
Box 3 Folder 15 Taxation Committee, Tax rate charts
Box 3 Folder 16 Taxation Committee, “Tax Relief Program” (NWF brochure), undated
Box 4 Folder 1 Traffic and Safety Committee, 1915-1917, 1926-1934
Box 4 Folder 2 Traffic and Safety Committee, 1935-1936
Box 4 Folder 3 Traffic and Safety Committee, 1937-1940
Box 4 Folder 4 Traffic and Safety Committee, 1941-1945
Box 4 Folder 5 Transportation Committee, 1915-1919
Box 4 Folder 6 Transportation Committee, 1928-1930
Box 4 Folder 7 Transportation Committee, 1931-1934
Box 4 Folder 8 Transportation Committee, 1935-1936
Box 4 Folder 9 Transportation Committee, 1937-1939
Box 4 Folder 10 Transportation Committee, 1940-1942
Box 4 Folder 11 Transportation Committee, 1943-1945
Box 4 Folder 12 Transportation Committee,1948-1949
Box 4 Folder 13 Transportation Committee, Bryn Mawr Avenue, attempt to open between Pulaski Road and Elston Avenue, 1940-1945
Box 5 Folder 1 Transportation Committee, feeder bus controversy (Illinois Commerce Commission), 1928-1930, 1935
Box 5 Folder 2 Transportation Committee, Foster-Kimball bus service, 1934-1941

Series 3: Topical Files

Box 5 Folder 3 Armory, attempt to have one built on northwest side, 1934-1935
Box 5 Folder 4 Avondale Civic Council
Box 5 Folder 5 Berteau Avenue Sewer, 1928-1929
Box 5 Folder 6 Century of Progress Exposition,1933-1934
Box 5 Folder 7 Chicago Association of Commerce, “Air Express” shipping, 1941
Box 5 Folder 8 Chicago Recovery Administration, 1933-1934
Box 5 Folder 9 Chicago State Hospital for the Insane (Dunning), 1924-1930
Box 5 Folder 10 Citizens’ North Side (North of Lawrence Avenue) Transportation League, 1931
Box 5 Folder 11 Civic organizations, list
Box 5 Folder 12 Community newspapers, list
Box 5 Folder 13 Dog shelter, 1928
Box 5 Folder 14 Drama of Chicago on Parade, 1934
Box 5 Folder 15 Equipment, Addressograph
Box 5 Folder 16 40th Ward public improvements, 1943
Box 5 Folder 17 Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, 1933-1934
Box 5 Folder 18 Housing
Box 5 Folder 19 Juvenile delinquency, correspondence; 1943-1946
Box 5 Folder 20 Kedzie Modernizing Club, Citizen’s Day Celebration, 1938
Box 5 Folder 21 Lawndale-Crawford Community Council
Box 5 Folder 22 Let’s Go Chicago! Week, 1933
Box 5 Folder 23 News clippings
Box 5 Folder 24 Northwest Civic Convention, 1930
Box 5 Folder 25 Resurrection Hospital (7432 W. Talcott Road), 1948
Box 5 Folder 26 Sauganash Memorial
Box 5 Folder 27 Unemployment and charity
Box 5 Folder 28 Victory gardens

Oversize Material

Oversize 1 Civic Review of Chicago’s Northwest Side (v.1, n.1), 1930 December
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