|Size:||7.75 linear feet, 21 photographs, 1 audiotape|
|Repository:||Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605|
|Provenance:||The collection was originally housed at Chicago Public Library's Legler Branch Library. In the 1980s, with a grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation, Special Collections transferred and processed the collection to make it fully available for research by the public. Processed February 1989. Additional boxes added to collection in 2018.|
|Citation:||When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: West Side Historical Society Records [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.|
The exact founding date of the West Side Historical Society (hereafter referred to as the WSHS) is unclear. It is recorded by Miss Pearl L. Field, librarian at the Legler branch of Chicago Public Library and honorary life president of the WSHS, that the Society was organized sometime in either 1929 or 1930. The WSHS took as its mission to search out the west side’s pioneer families, the boundaries of its settlements, and the story of the west side’s development as neighborhoods.
The WSHS was closely associated with the Legler Library for almost twenty-five years. Its meetings were held there, the Society’s exhibits were displayed there, and the library provided storage space and staff expertise for the Society’s historical collections.
Sometime in the late 1950s, the WSHS disbanded.
Scope and Content
The Papers of the WSHS have been arranged in subject series ranging from Administrative Papers to Tours to Scrapbooks. A fairly complete picture emerges from the papers of the functioning of an active community historical group which succeeded in preserving a significant quality of its city’s historical record.
Series 1: Administrative Papers, 1930-1943.
This series contains the WSHS’S administrative papers, including papers relating to the WSHS’s constitution and by-laws, collection development policy, programming, and publicity activities. An extensive record of the Society’s correspondence has also been preserved here, as well as transcripts from a weekly radio quiz show featuring questions about Chicago’s west side. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series 2: Annual Meetings, 1930-1955.
This series consists of an almost complete record of the WSHS’s annual meetings. Information concerning finances, membership, programs, and other officially sanctioned activities are found in this series. The materials are arranged chronologically.
Series 3: Committees, circa 1930s-1940s.
This small series records the activities of two WSHS committees: the Membership Committee and the Research Committee. Of the two committees, the Research Committee’s records are far more extensive and the papers preserved here give an excellent accounting of that group’s endeavors.
Series 4: Contests, circa 1930s-1940s.
In an attempt to engender an appreciation of local history in west side high school students, the WSHS sponsored historical contests and competitions. Organizing the contests required a great amount of effort, as can be attested to by the records in this series. Also included are a sampling of historical essays submitted by west side high school students on a variety of local historic topics. This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series 5: Executive Board Meetings, 1932-1954.
The WSHS’s Executive Board met frequently, sometimes holding three or four meetings each year. In these meetings board members would set an agenda for the forthcoming general membership meetings, schedule events and presentations, and discuss plans for the Society’s future. This series is a good source for examining the Society’s general administrative practices, and is arranged chronologically.
Series 6: Tours, 1936-1954.
Almost every year, the WSHS’s Executive Board would offer WSHS members an opportunity to go on an historical tour. This small series chronicles the arrangements, attendance, and publicity associated with this very popular WSHS sponsored activity. The tour records have been arranged in chronological order.
Series 7: Scrapbooks, circa 1930s-1940s.
This series contains three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, memorabilia and miscellaneous materials compiled, apparently, by Legler Library staff.
Photographs appear, organized into similar series as described above, but also including three images from West Side Day at the 1948 Railroad Fair.
SUPPLEMENT 1: Administrative Papers, 1929-1965, Box 8, Folders 18-39
After the original processing of the West Side Historical Society papers, several boxes of additional material were found. This material was distributed among eighteen of the NHRC sub-collections, including the WSHS collection. These are strictly administrative papers; material more correctly thought of as historical collections was put into the neighborhood collections. However, this group of papers does include some excellent resources, particularly the correspondence from the 1930s concerning the Abraham Lincoln family and his widow’s Chicago home of the 1860s (folders 8:30, 31). The series of correspondence has been arranged to highlight the names of some of the more famous or voluminous writers.
This series occupies folders 8:18-37. Considerable material concerning WSHS tours was cataloged with this material, resulting in a total reorganization of Series 6 of the original collection (folders 8:1-17).
Supplement 2: Series 8: Subject and Address Indexes, undated
Thirteen shoeboxes contain card file indexes maintained by the WSHS. Boxes 9-16 are organized by subject, with some cards referencing items in this collection. More valuable to researchers, however, are the many cards that refer to articles in local West Side newspapers such as The Garfieldian and The Austinite. City-wide newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Daily News are also indexed. These cards do not offer full, comprehensive indices for any of these papers, but they do provide useful points of access for certain subjects.
Boxes 17-21 contain name and address indexes. Box 17 appears to have the names of WSHS members. Box 18 includes addresses for area clubs and organizations with whom WSHS was in contact. Beginning at the end of Box 18, through Box 21, is a name and address index for servicemen. It is unclear what connection these servicemen had to WSHS or in what war they fought.
Series 1: Administrative Papers
|Box 8||Folder 18||Annual Report—General Not for Profit Corporation Act; 1962-65|
|Box 8||Folder 19||Blank letterhead & blank forms|
|Box 1||Folder 1||Bulletin, 1936-1938|
|Box 1||Folder 2||Collection, Development Guidelines, circa 1934-1938|
|Box 8||Folder 20||Constitution—Original draft [1929?]; By-laws, 1938|
|Box 1||Folder 3||Constitution, by-laws, and general history, 1936, 1935|
|Box 1||Folder 4||Correspondence: undated|
|Box 1||Folders 5-6||Correspondence: 1936|
|Box 1||Folders 7-8||Correspondence: 1937|
|Box 1||Folders 9-10||Correspondence: 1938|
|Box 2||Folders 1-3||Correspondence: 1938|
|Box 2||Folders 4-9||Correspondence: 1939|
|Box 2||Folder 10||Correspondence: 1940|
|Box 3||Folders 1-4||Correspondence: 1940|
|Box 3||Folders 5-6||Correspondence: 1941|
|Box 8||Folder 21||Correspondence; 1942-1957, undated|
|Box 8||Folder 29||Correspondence--Advice from other historical societies; 1933-1935|
|Box 8||Folder 30||Correspondence--Abraham Lincoln materials & reminiscences of Lincoln family; 1931-1937|
|Box 8||Folder 22||Correspondence--Bond, Carrie Jacobs; 1939|
|Box 8||Folder 23||Correspondence--Burroughs, Edgar Rice Inc.; 1940|
|Box 8||Folder 32||Correspondence--Re General Haller of Poland; 1938|
|Box 8||Folder 24||Correspondence--Goodman, Benny (Secretary to); 1940|
|Box 8||Folder 31||Correspondence--Identity of Mary Todd Lincoln home; 1931-1937|
|Box 8||Folder 25||Correspondence--Keeney, Albert F., 1941-1948|
|Box 8||Folder 26||Correspondence--Madigan, George P. and J.D.; 1941-1945|
|Box 8||Folder 27||Correspondence--Miller, John Calvin; 1943-1952|
|Box 8||Folder 28||Correspondence--Shumon, Ted; 1956-1958|
|Box 8||Folder 33||Correspondence with speakers; 1934-1946|
|Box 3||Folders 7-8||Directories, 1930-1945|
|Box 8||Folder 38||Field, Pearl I., "An historical society in the Library"—Wilson Bulletin (XI: 7); 1937 Mar|
|Box 8||Folder 34||Finances; 1956-1958|
|Box 3||Folder 9||High school chapters: Minutes, undated|
|Box 8||Folder 39||Life Membership certificate book (blank certificate); 1941|
|Box 8||Folder 35||Meeting invitations & programs; 1938-1955|
|Box 8||Folder 36||Membership drives; 1935, undated|
|Box 8||Folder 37||Miscellaneous notes, ideas; memos re collections|
|Box 4||Folder 1||Programming: Teas, 1938|
|Box 4||Folders 2-3||Publicity: Radio quiz questions, 1942-1943|
|Box 4||Folder 4||Publicity: Radio quiz correspondence, 1942-1943|
Series 2: Annual Meetings
|Box 4||Folder 5||Proceedings: Oct. 10, 1930|
|Box 4||Folder 6||Proceedings: Oct. 19, 1931|
|Box 4||Folder 7||Proceedings: Oct. 10, 1932|
|Box 4||Folder 8||Proceedings: Oct. 10, 1933|
|Box 4||Folder 9||Proceedings: 1934|
|Box 4||Folder 10||Proceedings: Nov. 18, 1935|
|Box 4||Folder 11||Proceedings: Oct. 19, 1936|
|Box 4||Folder 12||Proceedings: April 12, 1937|
|Box 4||Folder 13||Proceedings: Oct. 25, 1937|
|Box 4||Folder 14||Proceedings: Oct. 17, 1938|
|Box 4||Folders 15-18||Proceedings: 1939|
|Box 4||Folders 19-20||Proceedings: 1940|
|Box 5||Folders 1-3||Proceedings: 1941|
|Box 5||Folders 4-6||Proceedings: 1942|
|Box 5||Folders 7-9||Proceedings: 1943|
|Box 5||Folders 10-12||Proceedings: 1944|
|Box 5||Folders 13-14||Proceedings: 1945|
|Box 6||Folder 1||Proceedings: Oct. 8, 1945|
|Box 6||Folder 2||Proceedings: 1946|
|Box 6||Folder 3||Proceedings: March 4, 1947, Oct. 17, 1947|
|Box 6||Folder 4||Proceedings: March 19, 1948|
|Box 6||Folders 5-6||Proceedings: 1949|
|Box 6||Folders 7-8||Proceedings: 1950|
|Box 6||Folders 9-10||Proceedings: 1951|
|Box 6||Folders 11-12||Proceedings: 1952|
|Box 6||Folder 13||Proceedings: 1953|
|Box 6||Folders 14-15||Proceedings: 1954. Paul Angle, speaker. [See also Tape #T1]|
|Box 6||Folders 16-17||Proceedings: 1955|
Series 3: Committees
|Box 6||Folder 18||Membership Committee, 1938|
|Box 6||Folder 19||Research Committee, circa 1930s-1940s|
Series 4: Contests
|Box 6||Folder 20||Correspondence and announcements, circa 1930s-1940s|
|Box 6||Folder 21||Elementary schools, circa 1930s|
|Box 7||Folder 1||High schools: "A testimony to Robinson,” undated|
|Box 7||Folders 2-3||High schools: "A.C. Ellithorpe,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 4||High schools: "Eleanor Smith at Smith House,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 5||High schools: "The story of sister May,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 6||High schools: "Dr. Joseph B. DeLee,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 7||High schools: "Rev. Arnold Damen,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 8||High schools: "The story of Anna Braude,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 9||High schools: "Bishop Sheil’s work among west side youths,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 10||High schools: "The story of Carter H. Harrison,” undated|
|Box 7||Folder 11||Middle schools: Assorted titles, undated|
|Box 7||Folder 12||Photographic contest, 1936-1937|
Series 5: Executive Board Meetings
|Box 7||Folder 13||Minutes: 1932|
|Box 7||Folder 14||Minutes: 1933|
|Box 7||Folder 15||Minutes: 1934|
|Box 7||Folder 16||Minutes: 1935|
|Box 7||Folders 17-18||Minutes: 1936|
|Box 7||Folders 19-20||Minutes: 1937|
|Box 7||Folders 21-23||Minutes: 1938|
|Box 7||Folder 24||Minutes: 1939|
|Box 7||Folders 25-28||Minutes: 1940|
|Box 7||Folder 29||Minutes: 1941|
|Box 7||Folders 30-31||Minutes: 1942|
|Box 7||Folders 32-33||Minutes: 1943|
|Box 7||Folder 34||Minutes: 1944|
|Box 7||Folders 35-36||Minutes: 1945|
|Box 7||Folder 37||Minutes: 1946|
|Box 7||Folder 38||Minutes: 1947|
|Box 7||Folder 39||Minutes: 1952|
|Box 7||Folder 40||Minutes: 1953|
|Box 7||Folder 41||Minutes: 1954|
Series 6: Tours
|Box 8||Folder 1||Tour; 1936 May and Oct (Haymarket riots/Willow Springs)|
|Box 8||Folder 2||Tour; 1937 Apr (Path of 1871 fire)|
|Box 8||Folder 3||Tour; 1938 May (Desplaines River)|
|Box 8||Folder 4||Tour: 1939 May (Palos Hills: canceled?)|
|Box 8||Folder 5||Tour; 1939 Oct (Palos Hills)|
|Box 8||Folder 6||Tour; 1940 June (Plainfield, IL)|
|Box 8||Folder 7||Tour; 1940 Oct (Indian localities)|
|Box 8||Folder 8||Tour; 1941 May (Indian Mounds)|
|Box 8||Folder 9||Tour; 1946 May (City of Chicago)|
|Box 8||Folder 10||Tour; 1947 June (Des Plaines River)|
|Box 8||Folder 11||Tour; 1948 June (Illinois & Michigan Canal)|
|Box 8||Folder 12||Tour; 1949 June (Indian country)|
|Box 8||Folder 13||Tour; 1950 June (Sanitary & Ship canal)|
|Box 8||Folder 14||Tour; 1951 June (Congress Street highway/Medical Ctr. Dist.)|
|Box 8||Folder 15||Tour; 1952 June (Black Hawk Trail)|
|Box 8||Folder 16||Tour; 1953 June (100-mile bus tour)|
|Box 8||Folder 17||Tour; 1954 June (All-day boat trip: canceled)|
Series 7: Scrapbooks
Three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and other materials documenting activities of the West Side Historical Society; 1930s and 1940s.
Series 8: Subject and Name Indices, undated
|Box 9||Subjects A-B|
|Box 10||Subjects C|
|Box 11||Subjects D-Ga|
|Box 12||Subjects Ga-K|
|Box 13||Subjects L-M|
|Box 14||Subjects N-Sch|
|Box 15||Subjects Schools-V|
|Box 16||Subjects W-Z|
|Box 17||[WSHS Member?] Addresses, A-Z. Includes Austin Historical Society and Golden Weddings listings|
|Box 18||Neighborhood club and organization addresses, A-Z.
Servicemen names and addresses, A-Broc
|Box 19||Servicemen names and addresses, Brod-Ha|
|Box 20||Servicemen names and addresses, He-Ok|
|Box 21||Servicemen names and addresses, Ol-Z|
All photographs in the West Side Historical Society collection are cataloged under Clubs and Organizations. See also snapshot photos of various tours in folders 8:1-17.
Board of Directors
|Photograph 1.1||Board of Directors; 1948 Mar 11 (2 copies)|
|Photograph 1.2||1931 Oct 19 Early Settlers Meeting|
|Photograph 1.3||1932 Oct Annual Meeting|
|Photograph 1.4||1944 Oct Early Settlers Meeting|
|Photograph 1.5||1945 Oct 8 Early Settlers Meeting|
|Photograph 1.6||1945 Oct 14 Early Settlers Meeting|
|Photograph 1.7||1948 Mar 19 General Meeting: West Division High School alumni|
|Photographs 1.8-1.9||1949 Apr 5 Group|
|Photograph 1.9a||1949 Apr 5 Joe and Mabel Paul, performers at meeting|
|Photograph 1.10||1949 Apr 5 Helen Babcock & Pearl Field (2 copies)|
|Photograph 1.11||1952 May 20 Student looks at display at meeting|
|Photograph 1.12||undated Stanley Pargellis, speaker|
|Photograph 1.13||undated Stanley Pargellis, speaker, with others (unidentified)|
|Photograph 1.14||Exhibit [in window of Midwest News?]; undated|
West Side Day at Railroad Fair; 1949 July 8
|Photograph 1.15||Replica of pioneer engine|
|Photograph 1.16||Beauty queens of West Side|
|Photograph 1.17||Jimmy Shea’s Irish Dancers|
|Photograph 1.18||Trophy awarded to Steinmetz High School; 1937|
|Photograph 1.19||Trophy awarded to Steinmetz High School; 1939|
|Photograph 1.20||Trophy awarded to Steinmetz High School; 1941|
|Photograph 1.21||High School Quiz Contest participants; [1946?]|