Friday, December 6, 2013

Good news for Chicago-area manuscript researchers

The Chicago Collections Consortium is not news and I'm not up to date on its current status, but its every-word-searchable listing of 4660 brief descriptions of publicly available archival collections held by eleven Chicago institutions may be just what your research project needs. The other day I delved into one collection at the Newberry Library, and when I later happened onto the CCC web site I discovered a related collection at the Chicago History Museum. The CCC aspires to a full-fledged portal but this interface is simple, straightforward, and not duplicated elsewhere.

It's not clear exactly what portion of the members' collections are listed on this site, and the listings are less detailed than the institution's own finding aids. But sites like this make reasonably exhaustive searches less exhausting. Besides TNL and CHM, the web site lists current members Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, and seven schools: Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. (A 2011 Sun-Times article included the Chicago Park District, Northeastern Illinois University, and Roosevelt University as members, but they are not present on the web site roster.)

And this is all about Chicago. The collection's scope is "Chicago-related collections held by CCC member institutions containing subject matter related to the Chicago metropolitan area. This area includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana." If you're curious about what these institutions might have on Alaska or Greenwich Village -- or even La Porte County, Indiana; Kenosha County, Wisconsin; or Berrien County, Michigan -- you're on your own.

Map credit: Adapted from United States Census Bureau, "Counties and Statistically Equivalent Areas of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas," 2003 PDF download ( : viewed 29 November 2013).

Harold Henderson, "Good news for Chicago-area manuscript researchers," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 6 December 2013 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

1 comment:

Harold Henderson said...

FYI, Jennifer Holik commented as follows on Facebook (copied with permission):

"The Chicago Cultural Alliance is working on a similar project - starting a digital archive of the ethnic museums and institutions in and around Chicago. When I finish getting Casa Italia's archives organized and usable for researchers, we will be getting on board with digitization."