Since OneHistory has its home in Chicago, we decided to create a Chicago History page. When you begin to look seriously at Chicago history, you realize that virtually every kind of person is represented here, along just about with every aspect of the diverse history we are trying to get into our schools, our art, and our society.
Chicago Historical Society
You really need to pay a visit to the museum itself in order to get the full impact of the collections. In addition to wonderful exhibits, the CHS has books, documents, and photographs that any researcher can look at. You'll need to be able to identify yourself, explain what you're researching, and wear white disposable gloves when you go through the collections. It's worth it. Online, you can access the great collection of Chicago Daily News photographs, which cover from about 1910 to1932. You can also see what's in most of the collections so that you'll know whether you want to make the trip. The Chicago Historical Society is at Clark St. and North Ave. in Chicago.
Encyclopedia of Chicago
The Encyclopedia of Chicago was created by the Chicago Historical Society, the Newberry Library, and Northwestern University. It is an amazing source of information about all things Chicago and is completely accessible, free, online.
Chicago Chinese American Museum
There's a ton of information on this website and some wonderful photographs. The museum mounts new exhibits regularly and has published its first book, Chinese in Chicago, which includes 180 early photographs.
The DuSable Museum of African-American History is the oldest museum of its type in the country and the only major independent institution in Chicago established to preserve and interpret the historical experiences and achievements of African-Americans.
Chicago Public Library
The Chicago Public Library has a great wealth of material about Chicago's history. That material is represented online by several fine exhibits, including Chicago Renaissance: A Flowering of African American Culture. and Learn Chicago, which includes a very good timeline, bibliography, and other basics. To use most of the books and documents, you'll need to go to the central library or one of the branches. The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature is at the Carter G. Woodson Branch. There are large community history collections as the Woodson and the Sulzer.The largest Hispanic Heritage collections are at
Humboldt Park, Lozano, North Pulaski, and the Sulzer. The CPL website has a catalog of which branches have collections in various areas.
The Newberry is Chicago history itself. It's not part of the public library system, but it's open to anyone who wants to do research. You just have to bring ID, your inside voice, and a willingness to take notes--nothing can be checked out. The Newberry has an excellent Chicago history section, Chicago Neighborhood Research , but when you sit down to look at your book on Humboldt Park, you may find yourself sitting next to someone studying medieval Rumanian poetry. It's a beautiful place with mildly geeky but very nice, helpful workers.
Center for Latino Research
The Center for Latino Research is at DePaul University. It sponsors research and publications, brings speakers into the community, and provides space and assistance for community research projects.