Chicago-Area Archives and Special Collections

Explore Chicago Collections is the online portal of Chicago Collections, a consortium of Chicago-area libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions with original source materials on Chicago history. The portal is growing to provide access to more than 100,000 maps, photos, and letters at member institutions.

Web sites with information on holdings and access at Chicago Collections consortium members and other selected Chicago-area repositories:

  • Adler Planetarium: Historical Collections
    Holdings of the History of Astronomy Department, including rare books and manuscripts; astronomical works of art on paper; and links to Web virtual exhibitions on the history of astronomy.
  • Archdiocese of Chicago: Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives & Records Center
    Official records of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, its agencies and programs; papers of cardinals, bishops, chancellors, and vicar general; sacramental registers, student, parish, and cemetery records; architectural drawings, maps, photographs, and paintings; sound, film, and video recordings.
  • Argonne National Laboratory
    History of Argonne National Laboratory, including Argonne timeline, articles on ANL's contributions to research and education, and listing of the "Chicago Pile 1 Pioneers" who were present at the first controlled nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago, December 2, 1942.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
    Books, serials, and manuscript collections on all aspects of the arts, emphasizing 19th-century painting, prints, drawings, and decorative arts and 18th to 20th-century architecture. Collections of Chicago and Midwestern architects include original materials of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Daniel H. Burnham.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Special Collections
    Holdings inlcude the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection containing more than 3,000 artists' books and periodicals, the Roger Brown Study Collection, Film Study Collection, and Video Data Bank.
  • Benedictine University: University Archives and Special Collections
    University Archives and Special Collections documents and preserves the history of Benedictine University and its predecessors, St. Procopius College and Illinois Benedictine College. Includes rare books, mansucripts, and the papers of U.S. Congressman John Erlenborn.
  • Chicago Botanic Garden: Lenhardt Library
    Collections in the literature of horticulture and botany, with an emphasis on general gardening, Midwest ecology, plant conservation and horticultural therapy, and a rare book collection of several thousand volumes.
  • Chicago History Museum
    Collections emphasizing all aspects of Chicago history, including books, manuscripts, archives, architecture, decorative and industrial arts, costumes, paintings and sculpture, prints and photographs, and online exhibitions.
  • Chicago Public Library: Special Collections and Preservation Division
    Rare book and manuscript collections focusing on the Civil War, book arts, Chicago authors and publishing, Chicago neighborhood history, Chicago theater, and the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.
  • Chicago Public Library: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library
    Books, periodicals, bibliographies, microfilm, and manuscript collections documenting African-American history and literature in the Midwest, with special emphasis on Illinois and Chicago.
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Rosenthal Archives
    Audio-visual materials, programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and administrative records documenting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Civic Orchestra, and Orchestra Hall and Symphony Center events.
  • Columbia College: Center for Black Music Research
    Collections of music in any style or genre composed by people of African descent, including European and European-derived concert-hall music by black composers, American music, African music, and Afro-Latin American or Afro-Caribbean music. Holdings include books, dissertations, printed music, manuscript scores, recordings, and vertical file materials.
  • Columbia College: Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts
    Interdisplinary center containing galleries, papermaking studio, bindery, letterpress studio, and computer lab dedicated to innovation in the arts for book artists, papermakers, printers, designers, and calligraphers.
  • DePaul University Library: Archives and Special Collections
    Rare and special collections include Charles Dickens, Irish history and literature, nineteenth-century British sports, Chicago Great Lakes underground press publications, Chicago Civic Federation, the 1993 Parliament of World's Religions, and the DePaul University Archives.
  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)The Fermilab History and Archives Project offers guided access into the laboratory's historical records for the research user. Holdings include records and papers, oral histories, virtual exhibits, and publications related to the history of Fermilab and the work of its scientists.

For further information, contact:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Send us a question
Phone: (773) 702-8705
Fax: (773) 702-3728