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Chicago City Government Records

Bibliography of Studies about Chicago

There are numerous excellent scholarly works about Chicago. This bibliography includes some important monographs from a variety of disciplines, but its primary focus is on academic studies of history. It is not comprehensive, but the listed books do cover the signal events in the city’s past from its inception as a colonial fur-trading post to the height of the industrial revolution to the era of globalization. Researchers who want to learn about the structure and function of the various branches and agencies of Chicago city government should consult this guide's more specialized Bibliography of Chicago City Government Structure    

Purposes of this section:

This bibliography is intended to provide researchers with: 1) a starting point for research about the Chicago’s history and 2) an indication of the range of scholarly approaches, including those that emphasize gender, class, race, politics, and the environment. 


Allswang, John M. A House for All Peoples: Ethnic Politics in Chicago, 1890-1936. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1971.

Balto, Simon. Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power. University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

Barrett, James R. The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multiethnic City. New York: Penguin, 2012.

Barrett, James R. Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago's Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922. University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Barnett, William C., et al. City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago's Environmental History. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020.

Bennett, Larry, Roberta Garner, and Euan Hague. Neoliberal Chicago. University of Illinois Press, 2017.

Bennett, Larry. The Third City: Chicago and American Urbanism. University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Bigott, Joseph C. From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago, 1869-1929. University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Biles, Roger. Big City Boss in Depression and War: Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago. Northern Illinois University Press, 1984.

Biles, Roger. Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago. University of Illinois Press, 2020.

Biles, Roger. Richard J. Daley: Politics, Race, and the Governing of Chicago. Northern Illinois University Press, 1995.

Blair, Cynthia M. I've Got to Make My Livin': Black Women's Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (Historical Studies of Urban America). University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Bluestone, Daniel M. Constructing Chicago. Yale University Press, 1991.

Brinkman, Tobias. Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 2012.

Brown, Victoria. The Education of Jane Addams: Politics and Culture in Modern America. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

Cain, Louis P. Sanitation Strategy for a Lakefront Metropolis: The Case of Chicago. Northern Illinois University Press, 1978.

The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1922.

Cohen, Adam, and Elizabeth Taylor. American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation. Little, Brown, 2000.

Cohen, Andrew Wender. The Racketeer's Progress: Chicago and the Struggle for the Modern American Economy, 1900-1940. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990.

Condit, Carl. Chicago: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology [vol 1: 1910-29; vol 2: 1930-70]. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974.

Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. W.W. Norton, 1997.

Diamond, Andrew J. Chicago On The Make: Power and Inequality in a Modern City. University of California Press, 2020.

Diamond, Andrew J. Mean Streets: Chicago Youths and the Everyday Struggle for Empowerment in the Multiracial City, 1908-1969. University of California Press, 2009.

Drake, Clair. Black Metropolis. Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962.

Duis, Perry R. Challenging Chicago: Coping With Everyday Life, 1837-1920. University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Farber, David R. Chicago '68. University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Fernandez, Lilia. Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Fisher, Colin. Urban Green: Nature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago. University of North Carolina Press, 2015. 

Flanagan, Maureen A. Seeing with Their Hearts: Chicago Women and the Vision of the Good City, 1871-1933. Princeton University Press, 2002.

Ganz, Cheryl R. The 1933 Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress. University of Illinois Press, 2006. 

Garb, Margaret, City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Garb, Margaret. Freedom's Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 2014.

Garrow, David. Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. New York: HarperCollins, 2017.

Gellman, Erik S. Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Gosnell, Harold F. Machine Politics: Chicago Model. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1937.

Green, Adam. Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940-1955. University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Green, James R. Death in the Haymarket a Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America. Anchor Books, 2007.

Grimshaw, William J. Bitter Fruit: Black Politics and the Chicago Machine, 1931-1991. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Grossman, James R. Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration. University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating, and Janice L. Reiff, ed. Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2004.

Guglielmo, Thomas. White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hagedorn, John M., and Perry Macon. People and Folks Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City. Lake View Press, 1998.

Hayner, Don. Binga: The Rise and Fall of Chicago's First Black Banker. Northwestern University Press, 2019.

Helgeson, Jeffrey. Crucibles of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics from the New Deal to Harold Washington. University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Hertz, Daniel Kay. The Battle of Lincoln Park: Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago. Cleveland: Belt Publishing, 2018.

Hirsch, Arnold R., and N. D. B. Connolly. Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960. University of Chicago Press, 2021.

Hoyt, Homer, One Hundred Years of Land Values in Chicago. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1933.

Hunt, D. Bradford. Devries, Jon B. Planning Chicago. Routledge, 2018.

Hunt, D. Bradford. Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing. University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Karamanski, Theodore J. Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History. Ohio Univ. Press, 2014.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Building Chicago: Suburban Developers and the Creation of a Divided Metropolis. University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide. University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Rising up from Indian Country - the Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago. University of Chicago Pres, 2012.

Keating, Ann Durkin. The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago before the Fire. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Klinenberg, Eric. Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Lewinnek, Elaine, The Working Man's Reward: Chicago's Early Suburbs and the Roots of American Sprawl. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Lewis, Robert. Chicago Made: Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Lindberg, Richard. The Gambler King of Clark Street: Michael C. McDonald and the Rise of Chicago's Democratic Machine. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009.

Maio, Fernando De, Raj C. Shah, John Mazzeo, and David A. Ansell. Community Health Equity: A Chicago Reader. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Manning, Christopher. The Ties that Bind: William L. Dawson and the Limits of Black Electoral Leadership. Dekalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009.

Mayer, Harold M., and Richard C. Wade. Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis. University of Chicago Press, 2005.

McCammack, Brian. Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago. Harvard University Press, 2017.

McEnaney, Laura. Postwar: Waging Peace in Chicago. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.  

Mendes, Joel, Theodore J. Karamanski, and Philip Elmes. The Maritime History of Chicago: A Guide to Sources. Chicago Maritime Society, 1990.

Miller, Donald L. City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America. Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Mitrani, Sam. The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894. University of Illinois Press, 2013.  

Olson, Liesl. Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis. Yale University Press., 2017.

Park, Robert Ezra, E. W. Burgess, and Roderick Duncan McKenzie. The City. with an introduction by Morris Janowitz. University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Pacyga, Dominic A. American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Pacyga, Dominic A. Chicago: A Biography. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Pacyga, Dominic A. Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922. University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Pacyga, Dominic A. Slaughterhouse: Chicago's Union Stock Yard and the World It Made. University Of Chicago Press, 2018.

Pierce, Bessie Louise. A History of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937.

Platt, Harold L. Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2020.

Platt, Harold L. Sinking Chicago: Climate Change and the Remaking of a Flood-prone Environment. Temple University Press, 2018.

Platt, Harold L. The Electric City: Energy and the Growth of the Chicago Area: 1880-1930. University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Rast, Joel. The Origins of the Dual City: Housing, Race and Redevelopment in Twentieth-Century Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Reed, Christopher Robert. All the World Is Here!: The Black Presence at White City. Indiana University Press, 2000.

Reed, Christopher Robert. Black Chicago's First Century. University of Missouri Press, 2017.

Reed, Christopher Robert. The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership, 1910-1966. Indiana University Press, 1997.

Reed, Christopher R. The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis: 1920-1929. Univ. of Illinois Press, 2011.

Reiff, Janice L. Chicago Business and Industry: From Fur Trade to E-commerce. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Reiff, Janice L., Ann Durkin. Keating, and James R. Grossman. Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society, 2005.

Remus, Emily. A Shoppers' Paradise: How the Ladies of Chicago Claimed Power and Pleasure in the New Downtown. Harvard University Press, 2019.

Salzmann, Joshua A. T. Liquid Capital: Making the Chicago Waterfront. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.  

Schneirov, Richard and John B. Jentz. Chicago in the Age of Capital: Class, Politics, and Democracy During the Civil War and Reconstruction. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015.

Schneirov, Richard. Labor and Urban Politics Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-97. University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Seligman, Amanda I. Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago's West Side. University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Seligman, Amanda I. Chicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape the City. University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Sites, William. Sun Ra's Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City. University of Chicago Press, 2020. 

Smith, Carl S. Chicago's Great Fire the Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2020.

Smith, Carl S. The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Spirou, Costas and Dennis R. Judd, Building the City of Spectacle: Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Remaking of Chicago. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016.

Squires, Gregory D., Kathleen McCourt, Larry Bennett, and Phillip Nyden, eds. Chicago: Race, Class, and the Response to Urban Decline. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.

Suttles, Gerald. The Man-Made City: The Land-Use Confidence Game in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Todd-Breland, Elizabeth. A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s. University of North Carolina Press, 2018.

Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi. Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets. Penguin Books, 2009.

Weems, Robert E. Black Business in the Black Metropolis: The Chicago Metropolitan Assurance Company, 1925-1985. Indiana University Press, 2000. 

Weems, Robert E. The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago Anthony Overton and the Building of a Financial Empire. University of Illinois Press, 2020.

Do you know of a title that should be on this list? If so, please email Edward Remus ( and Joshua Salzmann ( to suggest it.