Office of Civilian Defense Records

Dates: 1942-1945
Size: 1.5 linear feet, 24 photographs, 8 oversize folders
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_OCD
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: Office of Civilian Defense Records [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Galen R. Wilson, April 1993.

Historical Note

The Office of Civilian Defense was established in Washington, D. C. in 1941 to coordinate state and local efforts to protect civilians. The goal of local offices was, according to a government flyer, "to enroll volunteers and to place them in jobs or training in line with their capacities" and to "provide a central place in which all accredited training courses for volunteers may be listed and to arrange for such additional courses as may be necessary." By January, 1942, Chicago had been divided into civilian defense districts and the districts into blocks. Each block was headed by a block captain, whose duties were to enroll volunteers for service as air wardens, auxiliary firemen and police, drivers, nurses, messengers, etc.

Scope and Content

While the collection documents the work of more than one district on Chicago’s west side, it would appear that the materials in this collection are the records of the District 4 office. District 4 was bounded by Clinton Street on the east, the south branch of the Chicago River and the drainage canal on the south, the city limits on the west, and a crooked line formed by Kinzie, Kedzie and North Avenues on the north. Its headquarters were in the Gold Dome Building of Garfield Park. The collection documents every aspect of the office’s work. One interesting file is 3:5, "Suggested classification scheme for files on Civilian Defense." This is the recommendation from the central office in Washington as to how what files should be saved and how they should be organized.

Container List

Box 1 Folder 1 Air raids, 1942-1943
Box 1 Folder 2 Blackouts, 1942-1943
Box 1 Folder 3 Bulletins, “C,” 1942-1943 (Division Four Information desk copy)
Box 1 Folder 4 Bulletins, “C,” 1944-1945 (Division Four information desk copy)
Box 1 Folder 5 Bulletins, meetings, “B, D, E, F, H,” 1942-1945 (Division Four information desk copy)
Box 1 Folder 6 Chicago’s Outdoor Choral Concert Series, flyer, 1944 July and August
Box 1 Folder 7 Child care and nursery schools
Box 2 Folder 1 Community activities, 1943-45
Box 2 Folder 2 Community news items, 1942
Box 2 Folder 3 Community news items, 1943
Box 2 Folder 4 Community news items, 1944
Box 2 Folder 5 Community news items, 1945
Box 2 Folder 6 Conservation
Box 2 Folder 7 Consumer information
Box 2 Folder 8 Control Centers
Box 2 Folder 9 Exhibits, news clippings, 1943-1944
Box 2 Folder 10 Flag dedications and raisings
Box 2 Folder 11 Information desk, news clippings, 1942-1943
Box 2 Folder 12 Instructions to division historians
Box 2 Folder 13 Junior Citizens Service Corps (American Youth Reserves), 1942-1944
Box 2 Folder 14 Manuals and handbooks
Box 2 Folder 15 Membership certificates
Box 2 Folder 16 Memorials
Box 2 Folder 17 Miscellaneous, news clippings, 1943-1944
Box 2 Folder 18 Morale Committee, correspondence, programs, publicity
Box 2 Folder 19 Morale Committee, news clippings
Box 2 Folder 20 Organizing of Office of Civilian Defense, 1942; The Protector (v. 1, n. 8) [see Oversize 1]
Box 2 Folder 21 Radio, news clippings, 1943
Box 2 Folder 22 Red Cross, news clippings, 1943
Box 3 Folder 1 Salvage, correspondence and notices
Box 3 Folder 2 Salvage, handbills
Box 3 Folder 3 Salvage, news clippings
Box 3 Folder 4 Service men’s center
Box 3 Folder 5 Suggested classification scheme for files on Civilian Defense
Box 3 Folder 6 Training classes
Box 3 Folder 7 Victory gardens, 1942-1944
Box 3 Folder 8 War Loan drives, First, 1942
Box 3 Folder 9 War Loan drives, Second, 1943
Box 3 Folder 10 War Loan drives, Third, 1943
Box 3 Folder 11 War Loan drives, Fourth, 1943-1944
Box 3 Folder 12 War Loan drives, Fifth, correspondence, forms and brochures, 1944
Box 3 Folder 13 War Loan drives, Fifth, news clippings
Box 3 Folder 14 War Loan drives, Fifth, statistics
Box 3 Folder 15 War Loan drives, Sixth, correspondence, forms and brochures, 1944
Box 3 Folder 16 War Loan drives, Sixth, news clippings
Box 3 Folder 17 War Loan drives, Seventh, correspondence, forms and brochures, 1945

Oversize Material

Oversize 1 The Protector (v. 1, n. 8)
Oversize 2 Salvage, “National Salvage Program: Official Plan”
Oversize 3 Salvage, Posters (3)
Oversize 4 War Loan drives, First, posters (2), 1943
Oversize 5 War Loan drives, Third, posters (3), 1943
Oversize 6 War Loan drives, Fifth, posters (8), 1944
Oversize 7 War Loan drives, Sixth, posters (3), 1944
Oversize 8 War Loan drives, Seventh, posters (3), 1945

Photographs

Photograph 1.1 Air Raids, committee, circa 1942
Photograph 1.2 Air Raids, committee, circa 1942
Photograph 1.3 Air Raids, drills, circa 1942
Photograph 1.4 Air Raids, drills, circa 1942
Photograph 1.5 Division Four Christmas party, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.6 Memorials, Gentry/Spiker memorial plaques dedication, 1944 July 23
Photograph 1.7 Memorials, Tichy/Nesbit memorial plaques dedication, 1944 October 22
Photograph 1.8 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.9 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.10 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.11 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.12 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.13 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.14 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.15 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.16 Memorials, unidentified dedications, circa 1942-1944
Photograph 1.17 Salvage, display board, “Where Your Paper Goes,” 1945 April
Photograph 1.18 Victory Garden staff, 1944 May
Photograph 1.19 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
Photograph 1.20 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
Photograph 1.21 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
Photograph 1.22 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
Photograph 1.23 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
Photograph 1.24 War Loans, Seventh War Loan Drive, 1945
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