Resource Directory PDF Print E-mail



Wondering which Special Collections or Archival Repositories have holdings (primary sources) related to YOUR topic of interest? These resources might give you that exciting, untold story – or they might just help you deepen your analysis and understanding of your historical question and thesis.

Between these three search tools, students can get a good idea which special collections or archives will have material to check out.  It is a good idea to follow-up on the specific websites for more detailed information:

  • Chicago Collections  - Portal to many of the special collections' holdings that can be found in the city.
  • Black Metropolis Research Consortium Survey - The Black Metropolis Research Consortium Survey serves as a database of collections pertaining to African-American topics.
  • ArchiveGrid - Available through the Chicago Public Library's "Online Resources."  You will need to log-in to use it.

Special collections and other institutions should be used once you do the basic research and have a focused historical question. The more informed a student is by the time she/he seeks these resources, the more helpful librarians and representatives of these organizations can be.

Before calling or going to the organizations, visit the websites. Their websites, especially for the special collections, will give you a lot of vital information: the strengths of their collection (topics, people, events), finding aids, hours open and accessibility (if students are allowed to use the facility and under what circumstances). Most importantly, many institutions are making PRIMARY SOURCES available on the internet so that students can download photographs, maps, and other first-hand documents. Archivists are happy to work with History Fair students.

The phone numbers, addresses, and websites are as up-to-date as possible, but we advise students to first call before going to any of these institutions and organizations. (Additionally, many research centers will be able by appointment only or have specific hours for student researchers.)

The Chicago Metro History Fair Resource Guide to Historical Collections & Institutions is made possible by a generous grant from the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation.




(Jane) Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted St. (60607) / 312-413-5353
Monday-Friday 10-4; Sunday 12-5

American Indian Center
1630 W. Wilson (60640) / 773-275-5871

Arab American Action Network
3148 W. 63rd St. (60629) / 773-436-6060

Arlington Heights Historical Museum
110 W. Fremont, Arlington Heights (60004) / 847-255-1225
Local History Library: Thur. 1-4pm, Fri. 9am-12pm 
Heritage Exhibit Gallery: Fri., Sat., Sun. 1:30-4:30

Art Institute of Chicago- Ryerson & Burnham Libraries
Michigan Ave. & Adams St. (60603) / 312-443-3666
In order to gain access to libraries obtain an "Info Pass" from Chicago Public Libraries, Suburban System Library or a local college library. Check for closings around holidays.
Monday-Wednesday 1:00-5:00 pm
Thursday 10:30-8:00 pm
Friday 1:00-5:00 pm
Sat. - Tues.: closed

Asian American Educators
5113 S. Woodlawn (60615) / 773-535-1334

Asian Americans Advaning Justice
5415 N. Clark St. (60640) / 773-728-7120

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Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
6500 South Pulaski Road (60629) / (773) 582-6500 
Open 7 days a week: 10:00-4:00 pm

Black Metropolis Research Consortium Survey

Blue Island Historical Society
Located at the Albee House
13018 Maple Avenue, Blue Island, IL (60406) / 708-371-8546

Blue Island History Museum
Located at the Blue Island Public Library
2433 York Street, Blue Island (60406) / 708-388-1078
Mon.: 9:00am-9:00pm; Fri. & Sat.: 9:00am-5:00pm

Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Community Center
1016 West Argyle Street  (60640) / 773-989-4381

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Cambodian Association of Illinois
2831 W. Lawrence (60625) / 773-878-7090

Cantigny First Division Foundation
1 S 151 Winfield Road, Wheaton (60189) / 630-668-5185
Hours vary by season. Please call ahead to schedule research projects.

Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 S. Michigan Ave (60604) / 312-922-3432
City Space: Mon.-Sun. 9am-9pm
Shop and Tower Center : Mon.-Sun. 9-6

Chicago Commission on Human Relations
740 N. Sedgwick, 3rd floor (60610)
Hours: 9:00-5:00 , Mon-Fri.
(Many CCHR reports can be found in the CPL Municipal Reference Library and in the Research Center of the CHM)

Chicago Council on Urban Affairs
1 North La Salle Suite #3030 (60602) / 312-782-3511 
Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm

Chicago Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1160, Chicago, IL (60690)
List of holdings available online

Chicago History Museum
Research Center
Tues.-Fri.: 1-4:30pm, Sat.: 10am-4:30pm - Appointments required (
Chicago History Museum Research Library's page for History Fair:
View History Fair bibliographies based on CHM sources. (Update: CHM has a new website, the bibliography page is still under construction).
Mon, Wed-Sat: 9:30am-4:30pm, Tues: 9:30am-7:30pm, Sun: 12-5pm

Chicago Park District Archives
541 N. Fairbanks Ct. , 4th floor (60611) /312-743-PLAY (7529)
Julia Bachrach, Park District Historian
Research by appointment with Ms. Bachrach, 312-742-4698
M-F, 8:30-4:30

Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 South State Street (60605)

Each of the departments below has Chicago- specific collections.
Social Sciences and History, 312-747-46160
Newspapers and Periodicals, 312-747-4100
Special Collections (including neighborhood collections), 312-747-4875
Municipal Reference, 312-747-4526
Government Publications, 312-747-4500
Business, Technical, Science, 312-747-4400
Visual Arts & Music, 312-747-4850
Architecture & Art, 312-747-4800

CPL's regional libraries have extensive collections as well as two very important Special Collections:
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 North Lincoln Avenue (60625) / 312-744-7616

Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association
located in Sulzer Regional, 312-742-4455

Woodson Regional Library
9525 South Halsted Street (60628) / 312-747-6900

Vivian Harsh Collection on African American History
located in Woodson Regional, 312-747-6910
This website not only holds the CPL catalog, but is full of primary sources related to different aspects of Chicago history---some specifically related to the current History Fair theme. Each department maintains a big with specific resources too. A "must see" website!


Chicago Public Schools Multicultural Resource Center
Farhat Khan, Roosevelt High School
3436 W. Wilson Ave (60625) / 773-553-1954

Chicago State University Special Collections and Archives
9501 South Martin Luther King Drive (60628) / 773-995-2235

Chinese-American Museum of Chicago
238 W. 23rd St. (60616) / 312-949-1000
Tues-Wed: 9:30am-2:30pm, Thur-Fri: 9:30am-1:30pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm

Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
2169 S. China Place (60616) / 312-326-5320

Clarke House/Glessner House

Collections by appointment
Clarke House 1827 S. Indiana Ave. (60616) / 312-745-0040 (Call Glessner House for tours)
Clark House Tours: Wed, Fri, and Sat: 1pm and 3pm
Glessner House
1800 South Prairie Ave. (60616) / 312-326-1480
Tours: 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm

Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks
33 N. LaSalle St. Suite 1600 (60602) / 312-744-3200

Copernicus Cultural & Civic Center
5216 W. Lawrence Ave. (60630) / 773-777-8898

Council of Educators in Polonia
7551 W. Palatine (60631) / 773-763-5587

Croatian Ethnic Institute
4851 S. Drexel Blvd. (60615) / 773 536 0552

Czechoslovak Society of America
(Heritage Museum Library and Archives) CSA Fraternal Life
2050 Finley Road Suite 70, P.O. Box 249, Lombard (60148) /630-472-0500

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DePaul University Library Special Collections & Archives
2350 N Kenmore Ave, Rm 314 (60614) / 773-325-7864
M-F: 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun. Closed
1. View the collections:
2. Request an appointment if there is material for your topic:

DuPage County Historical Society
No access to research collections by website.

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place (60637) / 773-947-0600 
Tues-Sat: 10am-5pm, Sun: 12noon-5pm

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Elgin Area Historical Society and Museum
360 Park Street, Elgin (60120) / 847-742-4248
Wed.-Sat.: 11am-4pm. Research by appointment.

Elmhurst Historical Museum
120 East Park Avenue, Elmhurst (60126) / 630-833-1457
Galleries: Sun, Tue-Fri, 1-5 pm; Sat: 10am-5pm
Research Room: Mon-Fri, by appointment only, please contact the research staff at 630-833-1457.

Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street Evanston (60201) / 847-475-3410
Research: Tues-Thurs, Sat: 1-4pm, by appointment

Ethiopian Community Association
1730 W. Greenleaf Ave. (60626) / (773) 508 0303

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Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago
5462 S. Dorchester Ave. (60615) / 312-752-2156, by appointment

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio Foundation Research Center
951 Chicago Ave. Oak Park (60302) / 312-994-4000

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Gay & Lesbian, Straight Educators Network (GLSEN)

Gerbert/Hart Library and Archives (LGBTQ Culture and History)
6500 N. Clark St. (60626) / 773-381-8030
Thur: 6-9pm, Fri: 1-7pm, Sat: 12-6pm, No appointment is necessary.

Glen Ellyn Center for Historical Research
800 North Main Street, Glen Ellyn (60137) / 630-790‑9670
Wednesdays 1-4pm, by appointment only

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Haitian American Community Association
1637 W. Morse Ave. (60626) / 773-956-6949
No one available for interviews; No library

Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center
333 South Halsted Street (60661) / 312-655-1234
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: 11am-5pm, Thurs: 11am-8pm

Historic Pullman Visitor Center
11141 South Cottage Grove Ave. (60628) / 773-785-8901
Tues-Sun: 11am-3pm

Historic Pullman Foundation
614 East 113 th , Chicago (60628) / 773-785-8901

Historical Society of Forest Park
P.O. Box 311, Forest Park (60130)

Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest Museum
217 Home, Oak Park, IL (60303) / 708-848-6755
Call in advance a research appointment

Hyde Park Historical Society
5529 South Lake Park (60637) / 773-493-1893

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Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Illinois Labor History Society

430 S. Michigan Ave, Room AUD1851 (60605) / 312-341-2247
Email to set up appointment

Illinois Regional Archives Depository Northeastern Illinois University Library
5500 N. St. Louis Ave (60625) / 773-442-4506
M-F 9:00am-4:00pm

Illinois State Archives

Illinois State Historical Society
Springfield , Illinois

Indo-American Center
6328 N. California (60659) / 773-973-4444

International Sons & Daughters of Slave Ancestry
PO Box 436937 (60643)
See also the Vivian Harsh Collection at the Woodson Regional Library (CPL)

Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox Avenue (60630) / 773-282-7035
Library and museum information:

Irving Park Historical Society
4200 West Irving Park Road (60641) / 773-777-2750

Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago
810 N. Pfingsten Rd. Northbrook, IL 60062 / 847-272-0319

Italian Cultural Center - Casa Itilia Chicago
3800 Division Street, Stone Park, IL (60165) / 708-345-5933

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Japanese American Citizens League
5415 N. Clark Street Chicago, IL 60640 / 773-728-7170

Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center
4427 N. Clark (60640) /773-275-0097

[Chicago] Jewish Archives Spertus Museum, Asher Library
Spertus Museum, Asher Library
618 S. Michigan Ave (60605) / 312-322-1712

Sun: 12-4, M: 10-6, W: 10-4

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Korean American Resource and Cultural Center
4300 N California Ave (60618) / 773- 583-5501
M-F: 9am-6pm

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La Grange Historical Society
444 South La Grange Road, La Grange (60525) / 708-482-4248
Wed: 9:30am-12pm, Last Sun. of each month: 1-4pm

Lake Bluff History Museum
127 E. Scranton Ave. Lake Bluff (60044) / 847-484-1571

Lake County Discovery Museum
1899 West Winchester Road, Wauconda, IL (60084) / 847-968-3400

Latin American Chamber of Commerce
3512 West Fullerton (60647) / 773-252-5211

Latvia Community Center
4146 N. Elston Ave. (60618) / 773-588-2085 
Museum visits by appointment

Library of Congress

Loyola University Archives & Special Collections
Cudahy Library, Room 218, Lake Shore Campus
1032 W. Sheridan Rd. (60660) / 773-508-2661 
M-F, 8am-12noon, 1pm-4:30pm

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Matteson Historical Museum
Matteson Historical Society
813 School Avenue, Matteson (60443) / 708-283-4985

Media Burn Chicago Documentary Archives

Mexican Civic Society of Illinois, Inc.
3760 W. 38th Street. (60632) / 773-376-8445

Mexican Cultural and Educational Institute 
702 N. Wells (60610) / 312-255-1556
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm

Mitchell Indian Museum
3001 Central Street, Evanston (60201) / 847-475-1030
Email to make an appointment

Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53 Lisle (60532) / 630-968-0074
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm , Central Standard Time
Maze Garden : 9:30 am to 5:00 pm CST

Morton Grove Historical Museum
6240 W. Dempster St. Morton Grove (60053) / 847-965-0203
Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm, Sun: 2:00-4:00pm

Mt. Prospect Historical Society
The Dietrich Friedrichs House & School Museum
101 South Maple Street, Mt. Prospect (60056) / 847-392-9006

Museum of Broadcast Communications
360 N. State Street, Chicago, IL (60654) / 312-245-8200
Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm
Email for Archives and Reference inquiries

Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive (60637) / 773-684-1414
M-F 9:30-4:00 Sat. & Sun. 9:30-5:30

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Naper Settlement
523 South Webster Street, Naperville (60540) / 630-420-6010
Archive: Tues.: 10:00 am-1:00 pm and by appointment.
Museum: Tues.-Sat. 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Sun.: 1:00-4:00 pm
Email for research inquiries

National Archives and Records Administration-
Great Lakes Region
7358 South Pulaski Road (60629) / 773-581-7816 is the national website; be sure to visit its "Digital Classroom"
Mon-Fri: 8:00 am-4:15 pm

National Council of La Raza

National History Day

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 West 19th Street (60608) / 312-738-1503

Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street (60610) / 312-943-9090
Reading Room, Reference and Bibliography Centers
Tue-Fri. 9am-5pm , Sat: (except before Monday holiday) 9am-1pm 
(Students must be at least 14 years old)

Northwestern University Library Special Collections
1935 Sheridan Road Evanston (60208-2300) / 847-491-7635
Check website for research admission requirements.

Norwood Park Historical Society
5624 N. Newark Ave.(60631) / 773-631-4633
Sat. 12:00-4:00pm, and by appointment

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Oak Park River Forest Historical Society
217 Home Avenue, Oak Park (60303) / 708-848-6755
Research by appointment

Oriental Institute Museum
University of Chicago
1155 East 58th St. (60637) / 773-702-9514
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-5pm, Wed: 10am-8pm

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Pakistan Federation of America
640 W. Irving Park 60613

Pan-African Association
6163 N. Broadway (60660) / 773-381-9723

A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porters Museum
10406 S. Maryland (60628) / 773-928-3935
T-F 11am - 4:30pm; Alt. Saturdays

Polish Genealogical Society of America
984 North Milwaukee Avenue (60622) / 773-384-3352
Archives available Wednesdays between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
Or write to PGSA

Polish Museum of America
984 North Milwaukee Ave. (60622-4101) / 312-384-3352
Library hours: Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Wed. 1:00 pm-7:00 pm, Closed Thurs. and Sun.

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Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association
The collection is held at the Sulzer Library.

Ridge Historical Society
10621 South Seeley (60643) / 773-881-1675
T. 12-4pm, W. 9:30am-2:30pm, F 9am-12pm and by appointment
Can submit questions by email:

Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society
7363 N Greenview Ave. (60626) / 773-764-4078

Roosevelt University Center for New Deal Studies
Michigan Ave & Congress
Online library:
Oral histories and artifacts. RU Library also has collection of labor oral histories.

Roosevelt University Library Special & Focused Collections
Murray-Green Library 430 S. Michigan Ave. (60605) / 312-341-3643
Spring and Fall Semesters Mon.-Fri. 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, by appointment
Email the library:

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Schaumburg Public Library
They have a digital archive, (specific to their library) Illinois Collection and small local history collection.
130 South Roselle Road, Schaumburg (60193) / 847-984-4000
M-F: 9:00 am-10:00 pm; Sat. 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Sun. noon-9:00 pm (summer till 5:00 pm)

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
4048 W. Armitage Ave., 60639 / 773-698-6004

Southeast Side Historical Museum
Mailing address: 3658 E. 106 th St .
Housed in Calumet Park Field House
9801 S. Avenue G (60617) / 312-747-6039 
Thursday, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society
3000 West 170th Place, Hazel Crest (60429-1174) / (708) 335-3340
Visit for hours of operation.

Swedish-American Historical Society
3225 West Foster, 60625 / (773) 583-5722
By appointment to archives: or

Swedish American Museum & Nordic Family Research Center
5211 N Clark St (60640) / 773-728-8111
The Nordic Family Research Center is only open Wednesdays from noon-3

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Ukrainian National Museum
2249 W. Superior (60612) / 312-421-8020
Th-Su 11am-4pm, Suggested donation $5.

University of Chicago Regenstein Library Special Collections
1100 East 57th Street (60637) / 773-702-8705
M-F: 9am-4:45pm, Sat. during semester: 9am-12:45pm

University of Illinois at Chicago
Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections
801 S. Morgan Street (60607) / (312) 996-2742
Make an appointment:
M, T, Th, F. 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., W 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., S, Sun Closed
In addition, primary sources (maps, architecture aim particular neighborhoods) may be found at

United States Historical Census Data Browser
Website is permanently closed.
Consider using or instead



Villa Park Historical Museum
220 S. Villa Ave., Villa Park (60181-2656)
T-F 1-5pm, Sa 10am-4pm

Volkening Heritage Farm
201 S. Plum Grove Rd. Schaumburg (60194) / 847-985-2102
April 1-Oct. 31: Tu-Su 10am-4pm
Nov. 1-Mar. 31: grounds open, by appointment


Warrenville Historical Museum
3 S. 530 Second St. Warrenville (60555-0311) / 630-393-4215
Sep-Nov/Jan-May: Su 1-4pm; Jun-Aug: Su, W 1-4pm. Closed holidays. Donations welcome.

Waukegan History Museum
1917 N Sheridan Rd. Waukegan (60087-5131) / 847-336-1859
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-4pm,  Saturdays 1pm-4pm, Free

Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University Chicago
Piper Hall, Third Floor, Lake Shore Campus
1032 W. Sheridan Rd. (60626) /773-508-8837
M-F, 9am-4pm, by appointment


Sources Used to Create the Guide

Congress of Illinois Historical Societies and Museums, Historical and Cultural Agencies and Museums in Illinois 1989-1990, Springfield, 1989.

Danilov, Victor J., Chicago's Museums, (Revised Edition). Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1991.

Reithmaier, Tina M., A Guide to the Cultural Resources in Illinois, Springfield, Office of the Secretary State, 1988.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis, Chicago and Cook County: A Guide to Research, Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1996.

World Wide Web


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