The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Teen Chicago oral history project records
Repository: Chicago History Museum. Research Center
Collection Description (Extant): Typed transcripts of interviews about being a teenager carried out with ca. 100 men and women of various ages in 2003-2004; sound recordings (on 184 cassettes); listening copies of the cassettes; related documentation; and archival records of the project. Series 1 of the collection contains brochures, news clippings, and other materials by or about the project to provide an overview. Some interviews were not recorded. Interviewees were teenagers growing up in Chicago or its suburbs during these decades: 1910's: 1; 1920's: 5; 1930's: 12; 1940's: 22; 1950's: 16; 1960's: 15; 1970's: 11; 1980's: 6; 1990's: 9; 2000's: 4 persons.
Teen Chicago Project was a multi-year initiative expanding teenage involvement at Chicago Historical Society (now known as Chicago History Museum). It involved current teenagers with older members of the community by enabling both groups to examine what it meant to be a teenager during each decade of the 20th century. The 100 interviews collected by the project members created historical source material about childhood and adolescence and provided the youthful perspective of the interviewers at the beginning of the 21st century. A fifteen-member Teen Council hired and trained as part of the project, conducted the interviews between October 2003 and January 2004. Interviews are 60 to 90 minutes in length.
The eldest interviewee was 101 years old at the time of the interview, and the youngest interviewee was 15 years old. Among those interviewed were internationally known oral historian Studs Terkel, author Jodee Blanco, and hip-hop artist Kanye West. Ethnicities of interviewees included African, Hispanic, Irish, German, Polish, Italian, and Asian. Marie Scatena, was project director. The project also produced a Website, exhibition, and public programs. Materials may be used in accordance with the standard releases signed by interviewees.
Origin Info: Created by the Teen Chicago Project of Chicago Historical Society/Chicago History Museum, with support from a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Access Copy Note: Transcripts and listening copies of sound recordings are open for research, but original sound recordings and archival files of the project are closed to researchers.
Digital Status: No
Extent: 2.25 linear ft. (7 boxes), 184 sound cassettes
Finding Aid URL: http://chsmedia.org/media/fa/fa/M-C/Teen.htm
Rights (Extant): Oral histories by Martin King and Jodee Blanco are restricted until Jan. 1, 2026, but an edited version of King's transcript is available now.
African American youth
Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations