Founded by Robert S. Abbott in 1905, the Chicago Defender is one of America's longest-running African American newspapers. The Defender is best known for having spurred the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the nation's urban centers in the north--especially Chicago--during the first decades of the 20th century. The Defender also paved the way for the modernization of the Black press, given its capital resources; advanced printing technologies; national and international distribution networks; and multi-cultural, transnational readership.
The paper's signal collection is its photograph archives, which contain nearly 100,000 items. A limited number of vintage images dates back as early as the 1930-40s, but the strength of the collection lies in photographs from the 1960s-1990s.
Topically, the archives are particularly strong in the fields of Black business, politics (local, state, national, and international), the Civil Rights Movement, entertainment, celebrities, leisure culture, sports, community organizations, and community activism.
Founded in 1961 and the oldest institution of its kind in the U.S., the DuSable Museum of African American History mounts exhibits that interpret African American and African history for the general public.
The exhibition holdings range from paintings by master African American artists, a collection of over 2,000 African artifacts and a range of objects from the early 1800's to the present. There is an extensive photographic collection as well as costumes, works on paper, and sculpture.
The Archives/Research Collection contains the personal papers of notable African Americans, rare books, periodicals, manuscripts, political ephemera, oral histories, film, video and communications equipment documenting African and African American leadership, businesses, organizations and institutions. The scope of the collections ranges from the southside of Chicago to national and international history, art and culture.
The Harsh Collection is the oldest and largest African American Studies repository in the Midwest. The collection was founded in 1932 by Vivian G. Harsh, the first black librarian to head a branch of the Chicago Public Library. Harsh was an activist in Carter G. Woodson's Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, she actively sought donations for the collection from scholars, writers, and community activists. Originally housed at the Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library, located in the heart of the Bronzeville community, the Harsh Collection began life as the "Special Negro Collection". In the 1930s and 1940s the collection became a central meeting place and resource during the Chicago Renaissance. By 1975 the collection was moved to the new Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, where it was renamed in honor of Vivian G. Harsh.
Today the Harsh Collection holds more than 75,000 books, many of them rare, over 500 periodical titles, some 15,000 reels of microfilm, nearly 5,000 clipping files, and some 175 manuscript and archival collections. Although the holdings include materials on peoples of African descent across the United States and throughout the Diaspora, the collection's primary focus is on documenting all aspects of African American history and culture in Chicago and the state of Illinois. The scope of the manuscript and archival holdings is especially diverse; these holdings include significant resources in literature, art, music, journalism, social science, civil rights activism, religion, law, business, labor, the medical professions, and social clubs. Chronologically, the strength of the collection lies primarily in the period 1930 to 2000.
As one of the leading private research libraries in the United States, Northwestern University Library serves the educational and information needs of its students and faculty as well as scholars around the world. Its collection of more than 4.6 million volumes is contained in several sites located on Northwestern's Evanston and Chicago campuses. The Library includes a portfolio of distinguished special collections with manuscript and archive collections relevant to UNCAP, notably:
The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies is the largest separate Africana collection in the world. Its subject matter ranges from art, history, literature, music, and religion to communications, management, and cooking.
The Music Library is among the largest music collections in the U.S. It has an unmatched strength in 20th century and contemporary classical music. The Music Library's more than 300,000 volumes of books, scores, sound recordings, and journals also include collections of original manuscripts and correspondence.
More than 225,000 rare books, periodicals, posters, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials are found in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections. Holdings span writing's entire history, from a cache of 5,000-year-old cuneiform Mesopotamian tablets to an enormous trove of publications and ephemera documenting the Women's Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Among the collection's many other treasures are an extensive collection of materials on 20th century Dada, Surrealist, Expressionist, and Futurist artists; two folios of Shakespeare's plays; and original publications by W.B. Yeats and William S. Burroughs.
University Archives houses official Northwestern records of historical significance, Northwestern-related serial publications and monographs, extensive audiovisual materials, and hundreds of manuscript collections relating to University faculty, students, alumni, and associates.
Digital Library Collections. Digital Collections Department advances the University's teaching and research mission by providing digitization services and support to Northwestern faculty and graduate students. The department partners with other Library and University departments to provide these services and to undertake special digitization projects that bring Northwestern's unique and rare collections to researchers around the world.
The South Side Community Art Center is the oldest African American Art Center in existence. It has held classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and crafts, even going beyond the visual arts and offered literary and performing arts programs as well. The Center has an impressive collection of works by African-American artists like Charles White, Henry Avery, Archibald Motley, Jr. and Marian Perkins.
Although during the 1930's the WPA provided funds to hire staff and faculty and to remodel the South Side Community Art Center's building, the community had to pay for the lease and purchase of the building, for utilities, and for art supplies. At the time of Depression this was especially difficult for poor communities.
The original fundraising efforts involved three years of activity, including theater performances, card parties, a 'Mile of Dimes' street-corner campaign, lectures and exhibitions held in churches, community centers, schools and clubhouses. The most successful event was the Artists' and Models' Ball held on October 23, 1939 at the Savoy Ballroom. This single event raised the funds to acquire the building for the future Center.
The South Side Community Art Center continues to act as a resource for the arts community locally and abroad. It takes pride in its past and present contributions to the development and showcasing of emerging and established artists.
For information about the South Side Community Art Center, visit their website.
Welcome to the University of Chicago Library, home of one of the largest and richest research collections in the world. Our resources are housed in six library sites, all of which are located on the main campus. The Library supports study and teaching at the University by building and creating information resources and providing services that enhance their usefulness, accessibility, and availability over time. Central to our mission is the excellence in collections we develop, the excellence in information we provide, the excellence in services we offer, and the excellence in environments we create. Our print resources total more than seven million printed works, increasing at the rate of 150,000 volumes per year. Over thirty million manuscripts and archival pieces, 420,000 maps and aerial photographs, and large sets of microform materials complement the printed collections. The distinctive rare book, manuscript and archival holdings of the Special Collections Research Center are available for your study.
For information about collections at the University of Chicago Library, you may contact the Special Collections Research Center.