The Chicago Public Library in Chicago, Illinois, has a free Chicago History page with online resources available to all.

They also have online resources and digital collections available only to patrons with a Chicago Public Library card.



Free, Online Resources

    • Chicago Examiner – The Chicago Public Library’s 10-year run of the Examiner, while incomplete, extends from 1908 to 1918 and represents the longest run of the paper still available.
    • Chicago Park District Records: Photographs – These 10,000 images capture the parks’ construction, architecture, plant life, and public enjoyment. 
    • Chicago Public Library  From single water tank to expansive system of libraries in every city ward
    • Chicago Public Library Digital Collections  Photographs from Chicago Public Library’s special collections. View photos of Civil War artifacts, Millennium Park’s construction, Mayor Harold Washington and Chicago neighborhoods. Search the Chicago Examiner newspaper and playbills from Chicago’s early theaters.
    • Chicago Renaissance  African American creativity, activism and scholarship, 1930 to 1950
    • Chicago Sewers  Construction of Chicago’s subterranean underbelly
    • Chicago Theater  Playbills and programs from Chicago’s great early theaters
    • Civil War Artifacts from the homefront and the battlefield
    • Encyclopedia of Chicago A project of the Chicago History Museum, the Newberry Library and Northwestern University, this online version of the award-winning print encyclopedia is a first stop for research into any topic on Chicago’s past.
    • Esther A. Barlow Collection – Family photographs of CPL Librarian Esther Barlow and images of her work at the former Hild Regional Library and Lake View Branch Library from 1927 to 1976.
    • Explore Chicago Collections Locate archival collections and digital images from archives and libraries with Chicago history collections.
    • Harold Washington  The first African American mayor of Chicago
    • Henry D. Green Photograph Collection – Subjects in the collection include local business establishments, community groups, religious institutions, celebrations in neighborhood parks and events at local schools. Many photographs reflect life on the North Side during World War II, including images of military personnel.
    • History Fair Online Resources
    • Millennium Park Transformation from rail yard to dynamic urban park
    • Northside Neighborhoods  Street scenes, businesses, residences and portraits, 1860s to present
    • Northside High Schools
    • Philip David Sang Collection – During the 20th century, Chicago native and former president of the Illinois State Historical Society Philip David Sang collected a wide variety of documents and manuscripts exploring American history. The majority of the collection, and the selections made available here, document the African American experience in slavery and in the resistance which culminated in its abolition. Series include Abolitionism, Runaways, Inventory and Birth Records.
    • Robert W. Krueger Photograph Collection – Krueger photographed hundreds of restaurants, street scenes, parks, businesses, schools, houses, cemeteries, religious institutions, community events and residents of North Side neighborhoods. These photographs are a sample of his work.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.