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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Repositories >> Repository Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Chicago History Museum. Research Center

1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Repository URL: External Link

Repository code: ichi

Repository description (CRHP): According to a 2010 Black Metropolitan Research Consortium spreadsheet (, collections by/about African Americans at the Chicago History Museum include: papers of Claude Barnett/Associated Negro Press; Earl B. Dickerson; U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun; Congressman Arthur W. Mitchell; Afro-American Police League/Renault Robinson; Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Irene McCoy Gaines; Dr. Leonidas H. Berry; Alderman & Rev. Archibald J. Carey; Black Women in the Midwest project; Clementine Skinner; Elma Stuckey; Louise Overall Weaver; Alpha Gamma Pi; Brenda Eichelberger; State Sen. Christopher C. Wimbish; State Sen. Richard J. Newhouse; Corneal A. Davis; Roland W. Burris speeches; Claude M. Lightfoot; Chicago Postmaster Henry W. McGee; Rev. J.H. Jackson. Smaller collections include John Jones, James L Smith/Association of 2221 Negro Volunteers of WWII; Colonel Oscar Randall; Mahalia Jackson, Chicago Old Settlers Social Club; Civil War muster rolls of Black soldiers. Also relevant materials from Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities; members of Mayor Harold Washington's administration (incl. Robert Mier, Robert Giloth, Ken O'Hare); Chicago Boys and Girls Clubs; Chicago Teachers' Federation; Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago; Chicago Commons Association, etc.

Artifacts held by the CHM include Daguerreotypes and tintypes of African American Civil War soldiers, photographs of famous people (such as Mayor Harold Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Chicago) and others, photographs of families, organizations, and companies (such as Atkinson family, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Chicago Conference on Religion and Race, Claude Barnett/Associated Negro Press, Scotty Piper's celebrity collection, Olivet Baptist Church), photographs & prints/posters received with archives from organizations; some sound recordings from First Church of Deliverance. Also many African Americans are intermingled in collections, such as ca. 200 interviews within the Studs Terkel sound archive; ca. 800 digitized images within the Chicago Daily News online collection, WGN news film, ca. 1940s-1970s.

Repository description (extant): The Museum's collection of over 22 million artifacts and documents is a rich source for the study of the history of Chicago as metropolitan urban center that spans five counties, as part of the state of Illinois, and as a part of the broader history of the United States.

The Museum's collecting scope currently emphasizes five areas.

Living in the Metropolitan Area: Demographic change, family life, communities, neighborhoods, religious life, gender, sports, recreation, class, suburbs, leisure, crime, race, ethnicity, and education

Working in the Metropolitan Area: The changing economic base of the city, business, manufacturing, labor, transportation, and scientific and technological development

Governing the Metropolitan Area: Electoral politics, citizen action movements, community organizing, and urban planning

The Built Environment: Architecture and building in the metropolitan area in its broadest social and economic context, including real estate and development, construction, engineering, public housing, residential homes, commercial buildings, and architects and architectural firms

Individuals and Ideas: Art, literature, music, and philosophy produced by individuals in the metropolitan area, particularly as reflections on the interpretations of this area

Repository Notes (CRHP): This repository was formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society. As noted above, the Research Center holds a number of collections related to the Civil Rights Movement, although some contain no audio or video material (e.g., the Claude A. Barnett Papers).

Repository type: Museum; Local History Organization


Interviews about Arthur W. Mitchell
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters interviews
Neighborhoods, keepers of culture project video archives
James L. Smith papers and audio recordings
Oral history interviews with staff and residents of Stateway Gardens
Teen Chicago oral history project records
Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago records
Sound recordings of the Studs Terkel program on WFMT radio station
WGN [Chicago] newsfilm collection


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   May 15, 2015
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