Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection

Available by Appointment Only

Request an appointment to visit CPL's special collections and archives.

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection is available for appointments:

  • Tuesday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The 3rd Saturday of each month: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you have not made an appointment to view our collections, please call first to confirm availability.

For reference assistance, please contact us by:

About Us

The largest African American history and literature collection in the Midwest, the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature documents the Black experience with a strong focus on Chicago.

Archival Collections has a list of all CPL collections and finding aids.

Contact Us

Areas of Interest

We have photographs, manuscripts and books about African American:

  • Biography
  • Business
  • Civil rights
  • Culture
  • Education
  • Genealogy
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Literature
  • Neighborhoods
  • Politics
  • Publishing
  • Religion
  • Slavery
  • Sociology
  • Sports

Additional materials focus on:

  • African history
  • African religion
  • African politics

We also have African American newspapers, magazines and journals, and rare books and manuscripts.

Using Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection

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.

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