February 16, 2021

Keith Helt from Henry Crown & Company Archives

Employees using Material Service Corporation concrete at the Marina City construction. 1961-1963  (2).jpg

Employees using Material Service Corporation concrete at the Marina City construction, 1961-1963. Photo courtesy of Henry Crown & Company Archives.

This fifth installment of CCC's Member Spotlight Series features an interview with Henry Crown and Company Archivist Keith Helt. 

Tell us about yourself and your role at Henry Crown and Company Archives.

My name is Keith Helt and I am senior archivist at Henry Crown and Company. I have been working here for just over ten years now and I’ve been a working archivist since 2007. We collect materials related to our company’s business and philanthropic activities. 

How did you become involved in the work of Chicago Collections?

We were interested in finding ways to share selected images from our collections with potential researchers. Since we are not affiliated with a larger institution like a university, we don’t have the infrastructure required to share our materials effectively with other entities. People also don’t know that we even exist, so they wouldn’t know to contact us if they were interested in what we are able to share. EXPLORE provides a platform for us to share the images we have with other Consortium members and other researchers.

Which collections are you most looking forward to sharing on EXPLORE in the future?

Although we are open to researchers by appointment only, we are happy to share images from our collection concerning Material Service Corporation (MSC). MSC was a construction materials supply company, founded in 1919, that supplied concrete, sand, gravel, steel, etc. to numerous projects throughout the city, state, and region for almost a century. The collection contains many photos documenting the projects, work yards, quarries, vehicles, machinery, and laborers. Over the years, MSC acquired various related companies, such as Marblehead Lime, and we have photos related to those as well. We are excited to start sharing images on EXPLORE this year.

What have you liked about EXPLORE?

I think the thing that I like most about EXPLORE is the centralized search to individual institutions – especially the potential for smaller organizations to participate in sharing their materials with the public in a way that may have been prohibitive or impossible without the platform.