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Chicago City Government Records

Archives

The records of Chicago city government are scattered across several area archives. Some of the most important collections of City government documents are held at: University of Illinois at Chicago Special Collections; the Harold Washington Library Center’s Municipal Reference Desk; the Chicago History Museum; and the Illinois Regional Archives Depository at Northeastern Illinois University. Researchers who want to determine which archives to visit—as well as how to do so—can learn about the collections at the aforementioned repositories directly from the archivists who manage them by watching the video interviews below.  

Purpose of this section:

This section of the guide features videos that help researchers: 1) learn about the Chicago city government document holdings in four key archives directly from the archivists who work with the collections; 2) to determine how to use these four collections.

Longform interviews:

The first set of four video recordings features interviews, approximately 60 to 90 minutes in length, with some of the archivists and librarians who manage collections of Chicago city government records at area repositories. These longform interviews will offer researchers an in-depth look at: what city government documents the collections hold; how the collections are used; and what the archivists think are some of the most interesting and/or under-utilized parts of the collection.   

Short interviews:

The second set of four, 4-to-6-minute-long videos offers researchers a quick overview of the collections at each repository and a guide to how to access them. These videos are aimed at Chicago Metro History Fair Students and other beginning researchers who want a short primer on how to conduct research at the particular archive.  

Full-length video interviews

This conversation discusses how to research Chicago city government records using the archival holdings of the Municipal Reference Collection located at the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center. The conversation features Lyle Benedict, Government Publications/Municipal Reference Librarian, and Sarah Erekson, Librarian with the Municipal Reference Collection.

This conversation discusses how to research Chicago city government records using the Special Collections and University Archives of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conversation features Dan Harper, Special Collections Assistant Archivist, and Benjamin Aldred, Research Services and Resources Librarian and Government Information Librarian.

This conversation discusses how to research Chicago city government records using the archival holdings of the Chicago History Museum. The conversation features the Chicago History Museum's Ellen Keith, Director of Research and Access and Chief Librarian, and Julie Wroblewski, Head of Collections.

This conversation discusses how to research Chicago city government records using the archival holdings of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. The conversation features Elisabeth Wittman, Archival Specialist for the City of Chicago's Office of the City Clerk, and Paul Hughes with IRAD.

Video Introductions for History Fair Student Researchers

This conversation explores how Chicago Metro History Fair student researchers can access the archival holdings of the Municipal Reference Collection located at the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center. The conversation features Lyle Benedict, Government Publications/Municipal Reference Librarian, and Sarah Erekson, Librarian with the Municipal Reference Collection.

This conversation explores how Chicago Metro History Fair student researchers can access the archival holdings of the Special Collections and University Archives of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conversation features Dan Harper, Special Collections Assistant Archivist, and Benjamin Aldred, Research Services and Resources Librarian and Government Information Librarian.

This conversation explores how Chicago Metro History Fair student researchers can access the archival holdings of the Chicago History Museum. The conversation features the Chicago History Museum's Ellen Keith, Director of Research and Access and Chief Librarian, and Julie Wroblewski, Head of Collections.

This conversation explores how Chicago Metro History Fair student researchers can access the archival holdings of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. The conversation features Elisabeth Wittman, Archival Specialist for the City of Chicago's Office of the City Clerk, and Paul Hughes with IRAD.