The Special Collections of Northern Illinois University Libraries house over 150,000 volumes and several hundred linear feet of manuscripts. Chicago-related materials include the papers of author Willard Motley, the 1962 World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon III) papers, a historic scenic collection from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Vincent Starrett collection, as well as dime novels and sheet music published in Chicago.

Tracked to Chicago, or, Thad Burr's great trunk mysteryOur Northern Illinois Digital Library ( includes a variety of Chicago and Illinois-related content, from images to essays to videos. We hold extensive print collections of children's and series books, dime novels, popular fiction, science fiction and fantasy literature, and comics/graphic novels. We also hold the literary papers of over seventy contemporary science fiction and fantasy authors, many of them award-winning, and author and organizational papers related to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). We host a significant number of artists' and private press books, with a focus on those produced in the Midwest. Our Regional History Center collects from the 18 northern counties of Illinois excluding Cook County but including DuPage, Lake, and Kane Counties ( The collection spans the period from 1800 to the present and focuses on several major themes in the region's history: agriculture, politics, ethnic heritage, commerce and industry, the role of women, and urban expansion. The Library's Local Government Records collection is part of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository system (IRAD) administered by the Illinois State Archives and covers the same 18 counties.