Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead (1910-2001), a resident of Hyde Park, was a professional photographer working in the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Her photographs document neighborhoods in Chicago targeted for urban renewal and informed the reports of the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council, the Chicago Land Clearance Commission, and the Chicago Housing Authority.  They also record activities associated with the South East Chicago Commission, The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Michael Reese Hospital, the Fort Dearborn Project, and the study of Maxwell Street Market. Mead crossed boundaries of class and race by entering poor neighborhoods and living spaces in an effort to establish empathy for those captured in her images and build a case for the renovation of dilapidated housing.  Images of slum conditions and overcrowding dominate much of Mead’s work, but her photographs also depict homes in revitalized areas and other aspects of community life in Chicago, including street markets and children at play.

Some Chicagoans, Mr. Clifton Smith, November 2, 1952
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Outhouse Alley, 35th and Honore Streets, July 2, 1950
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Maxwell Street, Food stand, October 9, 1955
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Mother with Problems, June 3, 1952
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Michael Reese Area, Twenty-four people in four rooms, May 1948
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Improvised Play Space, July 12, 1951
Mildred Mead

Mildred Mead Photograph Collection

Group of boys lounging in front of a building