Today's inaugural spotlight comes from the Chicago History Museum:
In 2009, the Chicago History Museum (CHM) was awarded a National Historic Publications and Records Commission Basic Processing grant to reveal hidden manuscript collections. Archivists began by conducting a cataloging and assessment survey of CHM manuscript collections of 0.5 linear feet and larger. Over 1000 collections totaling nearly 20,000 linear feet were surveyed. Survey objectives included determining collections’ ideal minimal processing level; flagging found-in-collection materials lacking adequate accession information; updating MARC records; and assessing collections’ physical and intellectual access, potential research value, and conservation concerns. Survey data was then used to establish a prioritized list of collections to be processed to the series level. Among the factors considered when assessing potential research value was the relevance of a collection to gender and women's studies. Because of this effort, a number of women-related collections were processed as part of the NHPRC project. The project team is pleased to present a selection of these collections with the Women’s Collections Roundtable and larger scholarly community.
1. Alpha Gamma Pi records, 1963-1979. 1.5 linear feet.
Correspondence, meeting minutes, membership material, newspaper clippings, financial records, photographs, and other records of Alpha Gamma Pi, an African American sorority organized to recognize progressive women, serve as role models, and provide scholarships. Women were awarded for their academic and social achievements, especially those from low-income backgrounds.
2. Black Women in the Middle West project records, 1980-1985. 4.5 linear feet.
Questionnaires, lists, agendas, announcements, and other records of a grant project supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities to collection documentation on the lives of African American women in the Middle West. Completed questionnaires contain biographical information provided by Black women in Illinois and Indiana.
3. Chicago Home Economists in Business records, 1966-1983. 2.5 linear feet.
Financial records, membership information, board meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, press releases, and other records of the Chicago Home Economists in Business (CHEIB), an organization that focused on the relationship between home economists, business, and consumers.
4. Chicago Woman's Musical Club records, 1895-1979 (bulk 1914-1979). 6 linear feet.
Newspaper clippings, programs, newsletters, sheet music, music periodicals, correspondence, administrative files, annual directories, scrapbooks, and other records of the Chicago Woman's Musical Club, which sponsored performances of classical music, fostered music appreciation, and awarded scholarships to young musicians and prizes.
5. The Fashion Group of Chicago records, 1950-1987. 4.75 linear feet.
Administrative records, correspondence, financial records, reports, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, and other records of The Fashion Group of Chicago, a local chapter of the international non-profit organization, The Fashion Group. Most materials relate to fashion shows, seminars, and other events hosted by the organization, which sought to promote high-end fashion and provide educational opportunities and resources for individuals interested in the fashion industry.
6. Ann Landers papers, 1947-2002. 106 linear feet.
Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and other papers of Ann Landers, primarily regarding her career as an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun Times and later for the Chicago Tribune, and in syndication to newspapers throughout the United States. Scrapbooks contain her newspaper column, "Ask Ann Landers", and other newspaper clippings, articles, photos, etc. about Landers' journalism career, social service activities, and personal matters.
7. National Council of Jewish Women, Chicago Section records, 1899-1973 (bulk 1920-1970). 8.75 linear feet.
Meeting minutes, annual reports, financial records, correspondence, periodicals, newsletters, press releases, brochures, pamphlets, directories, manuals, scripts, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and other records of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Chicago Section, a community service organization. Materials relate to services offered by the NCJW, both locally and nationally, such as job placement for immigrants and youth, scholarships and courses; care packages for servicemen and Jewish orphans during World War Two; and the Council Camp, a Jewish family camp in Wauconda (Ill.). Present are biographical materials pertaining to Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, founder and first president of the NCJW, and president of the Chicago Section for 12 years.
8. Lois Rosen papers, 1963-1996. 14 linear feet.
Correspondence, meeting minutes, conference notes, press releases, publications, periodicals, committee reports, legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, flyers, and other papers of Lois Rosen, a Chicago social and civic activist from the 1960s-1990s. Most of the collection relates to Rosen's work within the Chicago Commission on Women, the Southwest Community Congress and Rosen's personal subject files. Also present are materials on the Chicago Newspaper Guild and the Chicago Tourism Council.
9. Charlotte E. Senechalle papers, 1950-200 (bulk 1950-1990). 3.75 linear feet.
Correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, and other papers of Charlotte E. Senechalle, primarily relating to her work with school improvement and the conditions of the Cook County Department of Corrections. Included are materials pertaining to Senechalle's work with the League of Women Voters (1960s), Church Women United (1990s), and the Citizens Schools Committee. Observer reports on the Chicago Board of Education (1971-1976) regarding school integration and desegregation and research files on criminal justice, penal systems, and prison conditions in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois are also present.
10. Sister Miriam Wilson's collection on the Pontiac Brothers prison reform movement, 1978-1982. 1 linear foot.
Newspaper clippings, pamphlets, flyers, booklets, handouts, correspondence, and other documents of the Pontiac Brothers prison reform collection compiled by Sister Miriam Wilson. Materials document the response to the conviction of 31 prisoners in the 1978 Pontiac prison rebellion in Pontiac, Illinois, one of the largest prison riots in the United States. The Pontiac Prison was known for its crowded quarters and mistreatment of prisoners. 17 of the convicted prisoners were sentenced to death, which gained the attention of several local religious organizations and individuals such as Sister Miriam Wilson of St. Scholastic Priory in Chicago.
The project team consisted of archivists Peter Alter, Sarah Dorpinghaus, Jennifer Fowle, and Rachel Juris; collection and registration technician Christine McNulty; and project manager M. Alison Eisendrath. For more information about collections at the Chicago History Museum, please visit the CHM Research Center website.