Special Collections at HWLC

The Special Collections and Preservation Division at Harold Washington Library Center showcases rare books and archival material relating to Chicago history. Major areas of interest include: Chicago authors and publishing, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago theater, Civil War, Chicago’s world’s fairs and Mayor Harold Washington.

Digital Collections

Collections from the Special Collections and Preservation Division at Harold Washington Library Center include:
Chicago Examiner
Chicago Public Library’s 10-year run of the Chicago Examiner extends from 1908 to 1918 and represents the longest run of the Hearst newspaper still available.
Chicago Park District Records: Photographs
Photographs from the Chicago Park District document how the city’s parks have grown, changed and been enjoyed for more than a century.
Chicago Public Library Archives
Photographs trace CPL’s history from a small water tank that survived the Great Chicago Fire to the extensive network of neighborhood libraries that span the city today.
Chicago Sewers Collection
Photographs of sewer systems and passageways from 1925 to 1949 offer a rare look at the underbelly of Chicago.
Chicago Theater
Playbills and programs for drama, opera, vaudeville, dance and music at early Chicago theaters, 1848-1922.
Civil War: Wayne Whalen Digital Archive of the Grand Army of the Republic and Civil War Collections
Camp equipment, weaponry and uniforms used on the homefront and the battlefield.
Millennium Park U.S. Equities Realty Collection
See a rail yard transform into a dynamic urban park.
Remembering Harold Washington
Chicago’s first African American mayor served from 1983 to 1987, and his legacy endures.
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Phone: (312) 747-4875