University of Chicago

Archives and manuscripts in the Special Collections Research Center document many aspects of Chicago history.

The Barton Collection on Abraham Lincoln and the papers of U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas record debates over slavery and Western expansion, partisan politics of the 1850s and 1860s, and the era of the Civil War.  Anti-lynching and equal rights campaigns are documented in the papers of Chicago activist Ida B. Wells. The history of Chicago health care is preserved in the Society of Medical History of Chicago collection, records of Chicago medical organizations, and the papers of notable physicians including Nicholas Senn, Ludwig Hektoen, Julius Hess, and Bernard Fantus. 

uchicago_featured.jpgChicago literary collections include the papers of Saul Bellow, Richard Stern, and Robert Herrick; manuscript files of Poetry magazine and its founding editor, Harriet Monroe; and papers of Paul Carroll, Ralph Mills, Michael Anania, and other Chicago poets. The Chicago Jazz Archive documents the vitality of the Chicago jazz community and the influence of its leading musicians. The history of Chicago printing and graphic design is revealed in the R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company archive.

Papers of Chicago civic leaders include Julius Rosenwald, Harold Swift, William and Charles Benton, Philip M. Klutznick, Ferdinand Kramer, John Nuveen, and Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke. Faculty papers document urban sociology and politics (Robert Park, Ernest W. Burgess, Louis Wirth, Charles and Robert Merriam) and social welfare (Edith and Grace Abbott, Charlotte Towle, Helen Harris Perlman).  

Chicago’s Native American community is documented by the records and subject collections of Native American Educational Services/NAES College and the papers of Armin Beck, David Beaulieu, and other NAES faculty members and leaders. Collections of ACT UP Chicago, LesBiGay Radio, Alan Amberg, and Jerry Cohen document the contemporary development of Chicago’s gay community.  Records of the Commission on Race and Housing and the American Civil Liberties Union-Illinois Division track the defense of civil rights in Chicago, while the records of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and South East Chicago Commission reveal the contested history of urban renewal on Chicago’s South Side.