Available by Appointment Only
The Special Collections Division is available for appointments:
- Monday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday: 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Additional appointments may be possible dependent on availability.
For reference assistance, please contact us by:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a response within two business days.
- Phone: (312) 747-4875
The Special Collections and Preservation Division, on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, showcases rare and unique materials focusing on Chicago as well as the Civil War.
Archival Collections has a list of all CPL collections and finding aids.
- (312) 747-4875
Areas of Interest
We have photographs, manuscripts, books, art and artifacts about:
- Chicago neighborhoods
- Chicago parks
- Chicago Public Library
- Chicago theater
- Children’s books from Chicago
- Civil War
- Mayor Harold Washington
- Rare books and manuscripts
- World’s fairs
Using Special Collections
We welcome visitors by appointment.
Given the special nature of our materials, we ask you to conform to security and handling precautions:
- Complete a registration form and present valid photo ID before receiving materials.
- Use materials only in the Reading Room.
- Contact us in advance of your visit if you are interested in unprocessed collections.
- Chicago History: Explore the rich tapestry of Chicago history at CPL.
- Archival Collections: A list of CPL collections and finding aids
- Digital Collections: Chicago images, newspapers and more
- Municipal Reference Collection at Harold Washington Library Center
- Northside Neighborhood History Collection at Sulzer Regional Library
- Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection at Woodson Regional Library