© 2006 University of Chicago Library
Chicago Citizens Commission to study the Disorders of Convention Week. Records
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
A citizens' commission, chaired by Edward J. Sparling, was formed to investigate the 1968 Chicago peace march that ended in police confrontation. The group reconvened to examine the violence associated with the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The second committee, named the Chicago Commission to Study the Disorders of Convention Week, was informally known as the Sparling Commission. The collection contains several drafts of Commission's unpublished report, "Dissent in a Free Society," newspaper clippings, reports, and minutes. Also includes correspondence and memoranda relating to Joseph Evans who was a member of the Commission.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Chicago Citizens Commission to study the Disorders of Convention Week. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
In April 1968 a peace parade in Chicago ended in a police confrontation. A citizens' committee, chaired by Dr. Edward J. Sparling, President Emeritus of Roosevelt University, formed to investigate the incident. On August 1st the committee published its report under the title Dissent and Disorder.
When considerable violence surrounded the August 1968 Democratic Party convention, the committee was re-activated, expanded its membership, and engaged a staff of part-time consultants directed by Pierre de Vise. The name of the committee was formalized as the Chicago Citizens Commission to Study the Disorders of Convention Week; again chaired by Dr. Sparling it was less formally known as the Sparling Commission. Members of the Commission with University of Chicago associations included Elmer Gertz, Harry Kalven, Jr., E. Spencer Parsons, Calvin Sawyier, and Dr. Evans.
The Commission worked toward a report, which came to be titled "Dissent in a Free Society," but which was never published. The Roger Baldwin Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, which were interested in the Commission's work, were unable to support publication. A July 1970 proposal to issue the essay as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists also failed.
The collection consists primarily of a series of drafts of a report, "Dissent in a Free Society," which the Commission wrote but was unable to publish. Also present are memoranda and correspondence relating to Dr. Evans' participation in the work of the Commission.
The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:
|Box 1 Folder 1|
Report and associated materials
|Box 1 Folder 2|
Letters to Dr. Evans and carbon copies of his letters to others.
|Box 1 Folder 3|
Announcements, agenda, and minutes of Commission meetings, 1968-1969. Includes material distributed for discussion and information, press releases.
|Box 1 Folder 4|
Memoranda relating to the Commission Sub-Committee which edited "Dissent in a Free Society."
|Box 1 Folder 5|
"Dissent in a Free Society," "Couzen" draft.
|Box 1 Folder 6|
"Dissent in a Free Society," "Couzen" draft. Another draft, early sections only.
|Box 1 Folder 7|
"Dissent in a Free Society," "Couzen" draft. Another draft, mostly later sections.
|Box 1 Folder 8|
"Dissent in a Free Society," "Couzen" draft. Another draft, nearly complete, and extensively annotated by Dr. Evans.
|Box 1 Folder 9|
"Dissent in a Free Society," "Couzen" draft. "Penultimate" draft of first seven chapters.
|Box 1 Folder 10|
Notes apparently prepared for presentation to a Congressional committee
|Box 1 Folder 11|