University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit Collection 1911

© 2009 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit. Collection




7.5 linear feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize folder)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit was held 11-25 May, 1911. It was the largest and most comprehensive exhibition devoted to child welfare of its time. It sought to combat rising infant and child mortality in Chicago by raising awareness about health, education, and recreation.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit. Collection, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit was held 11-25 May, 1911. Modeled on a similar exhibition held in New York City the year before, it was the largest and most comprehensive exhibition devoted to child welfare ever held. It was born out of concern for squalid living conditions in an industrial city, which contributed to rising crime and an infant mortality rate more than twice the national average. The exhibit targeted poor and immigrant communities in Chicago, attempting to raise awareness about the benefits of nutrition, hygiene, and physical activity. It also provided information about vocational opportunities. The exhibit emphasized links between unhygienic living and socially unacceptable behavior, and between crime and mental degeneracy. National and local welfare organizations were represented, notably the National Federation of Settlements, the Federation of Day Nurseries, the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, and the Juvenile Protection Association of Chicago. Information was distributed in German, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Swedish. The program included a number of activities for children.

Scope Note

The Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit Collection contains instructional pamphlets, broadsides, and artifacts distributed at the exhibit. These deal with health, morality, education, and recreation. The collection also includes two photo albums documenting the exhibit, and a chart detailing initiatives in the Chicago area run by the National Federation of Settlements. All materials date to circa 1911.

Related Resources

Browse finding aids by topic.

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Exhibit program

Box 1   Folder 2

Pregnancy and infants

Box 1   Folder 3

Family health and nutrition

Box 1   Folder 4

Family health and hygiene

Box 1   Folder 5

Child socializing and play

Box 1   Folder 6

Youth education and vocation

Box 1   Folder 7

Recreational activities in Chicago

Box 1   Folder 8

Crime and morality

Box 1   Folder 9


Box 1   Folder 10

Federation of Day Nurseries and Juvenile Homes

Box 1   Folder 11

Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago

Box 1   Folder 12

Foreign language materials

Box 2

Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit photograph album, Vol. I

Box 3

Chicago Child Welfare Exhibit photograph album, Vol. II

Box DRAWER 8   Folder 1

Chicago Settlements chart