The Chicago Jazz Archive was founded in 1976 to preserve materials on the birth and early growth of Chicago jazz. Over time, and benefiting from a relationship with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the collections have grown to span more than eight decades of Chicago and general jazz history. The collections include recordings, publications, photographs, articles, posters, programs, ticket stubs, and other ephemera of musicians, clubs, record companies, and jazz organizations. In 2007-2008, the collections of the Chicago Jazz Archive were transferred to the Special Collections Research Center. Chicago Jazz Archive manuscript and archival collections were processed as part of the Uncovering New Chicago Archives Project (UNCAP), a three-year initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These changes have made it possible for the Library to provide expanded access to the Chicago Jazz Archive, utilizing the facilities, services, and staff of the Special Collections Research Center.
Collections of the Chicago Jazz Archive are made available to researchers in Special Collections in accordance with the Library's Policies Governing the Use of Archival and Manuscript Collections and Guidelines for Using the Special Collections Reading Room. Access to Special Collections for visiting researchers is available through the Privileges Office at the entrance to Regenstein Library. Questions about Special Collections access policies and services can be directed to the Special Collections Research Center. Further information on research using the Library's extensive music holdings in jazz and the history of Chicago jazz is available from the Library's Chicago Jazz research guide.