The Black Metropolis Research Consortium believes in creating historical value and innovation through collaboration and resource sharing. By sharing resources and expertise and jointly developing collections, the BMRC facilitates access to African American materials in Chicago institutions and provides an enhanced service to researchers, publishers, and students. Communication and access to other professionals may be the most important benefit BMRC membership has to offer.

Currently, the BMRC’s membership is comprised of Chicago-based libraries, universities, Second Space organizations, and other archival institutions.

BMRC Member Collections

Bronzeville / Black Chicagoan Historical SocietyBHS_Exterior2_sm

636 East 35th Street

Chicago, IL 60616

Phone: 312-428-8033

Collection Strengths: Civil Rights Serial collection; LP collection; VHS video collection; Jackson Funeral Home records; Willian Earl Washington collection; Sherry Williams collection; James S. Parker photographic collection

Research visits are by appointment only. Please contact directly.

Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College ChicagoCBMR_Entrance2

618 South Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor

Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: 312-369-7559

Fax: 312-369-8029

Email: cbmr.contact@colum.edu

Collection Strengths: The Library and Archives of the Center for Black Music Research is a comprehensive research collection covering all idioms in black music of the United States and the African diaspora. Collections include books, periodicals, sound recordings in several formats, printed music, photographs and videotapes, manuscripts and archival materials, and a comprehensive collection of theses and dissertations on black music.
Collections of recordings are particularly strong in jazz, art music, and popular music styles from 1900 to the present. The recordings and materials about vernacular and popular music focus on the United States, Caribbean, South Africa, Central Africa, and Central America. Notable collections include: Chicago Music Association; National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM); Society of Black Composers collection; Gospel Music collection

Archival Collections

The Center for Black Music Research does not require researchers to make research appointments in advance. However, any advanced notice that can be given is appreciated. Research requests and inquiries can be sent by phone, email or fax.

Chicago History Museum, Research CenterOptimized-ChicagoHistoryMu1

1601 North Clark Street

Chicago, IL 60614

Email: research@chicagohistory.org

Frequently Accessed African American Collections.docx

Collection Strengths: 18th-21 century Chicago history; Civil Rights collection; Civil War; African Progress Association; Afro-American Family and Community Services; American Colonization Society; Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH), Chicago chapter; Abraham Lincoln collection; prints and photographs collection; The Studs Terkel / WFMT Oral History Archives

Contact directly by emailing for research inquiries. The Chicago History Museum Research Center encourages researchers to plan their visit in advance to ensure a productive experience.

Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and LiteratureOptimized-CPL_HarshReadingRoom

9525 South Halsted Street

Chicago, IL 60628

Phone: 312-745-2080

Email: harshcollection@chipublib.org

Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Collection Strengths: Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago archives; Black Radical Congress archive; Timuel D. Black, Jr. papers; National Association of Negro Musicians papers; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Chicago chapter archives; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Chicago chapter archives; Heritage Press archives; Langston Hughes papers; Illinois Writers Project: “Negro in Illinois” papers; National Black Nurses Association, Chicago chapter archives; International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry archives; People for Community Recovery archives; The Links, Inc. Chicago chapter archives; Richard Wright papers

Research is available during open hours and by appointment. Upon arriving at the Harsh, researchers must complete a registration form and present a valid photo ID. Researchers must inform the Harsh in advance if they choose to use unprocessed collections.

Notice to Researchers

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection is closed while Woodson Regional Library undergoes a complete envelope replacement and interior improvements project. The building is expected to reopen in late 2017.

Harsh Research Collection staff will be temporarily relocated to Harold Washington Library Center, where they will continue to acquire, process, preserve and make available unique materials related to the African American experience in Chicago and the Midwest.

During this time, access to the materials in the Harsh Research Collection will be available by appointment only. Researchers, please make inquiries by:

  • Mail: Harsh Collection, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
  • Email: harshcollection@chipublib.org
  • Phone: (312) 745-2080

We will answer all inquiries within three business days. Requested materials will be made available for research on the 5th floor of Harold Washington Library Center.

To accommodate the retrieval of requested materials, we ask that all research requests be made at least three weeks in advance of your visit and you must identify the exact materials you would like to view. See Archival Collections for a list of all CPL collections and finding aids.

Please note, some materials may not be available for transport to Harold Washington Library Center and would not be available until Woodson Regional Library reopens in 2017.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special CollectionsOptimized-HW3

400 South State Street

Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: 312-747-4875

Email: specoll@chipublib.org

Hours: Monday & Tuesday 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Collection Strengths: Black Ensemble and Free Street and Kuumbra Theater collections; Chicago Blues archives; Harold Washington archives and collection (including Illinois State Representative and Senate, mayoral campaign, mayoral records, pro-mayoral photograph collection)

Research is available during open hours and by appointment. Upon arriving at the Special Collections, researchers must complete a registration form and present a valid photo ID. Researchers must inform Special Collections in advance if they choose to use unprocessed collections.

Chicago State University, Archives and Special CollectionsCSU_LibraryFacilityPhoto_20141003

9501 South Martin Luther King Drive

Chicago, IL 60628

Phone: 773-995-5341

Email: csu_archives@csu.edu

Collection Strengths: Illinois Leadership collection (includes Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and Illinois General Assembly); Progressive Education collection (early Chicago State history including student newsletters); rare books (including 18th and 19th century African-Americana) and genealogy reference; Neighborhood History collection; Illinois Commission on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education; Provident Hospital records; slave narrative collection

Columbia College Chicago, Archives and Special Collections

Columbia Archives & Spec Coll619 South Wabash Avenue

Chicago, IL 60605

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Access to archives is available by appointment only.

Collection Strengths: The Columbia Chronicle Collection, Phi Sigma Collection, Thesis and Capstone Collection, Manuscripts Collection, Oral Histories, and Sherwood Music School Collection,

Dominican University, Archives and Special CollectionsOptimized-DU1 (1)

7900 Division Street

Rebecca Crown Library Room 200

River Forest, IL 60305

Phone: 708-524-5929

Email: archives@dom.edu

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Tuesday 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Friday, closed.

Collection Strengths: Percy Julian papers, African-American student groups records, Civil War materials, University publications, institutional records, architectural plans, foreign programs, student activities, student organizations, graduate programs, graduation ceremonies, marketing campaigns, and lectures.

Due to the size of staff at Dominican University, they request that researchers schedule visits in advance, to ensure that staff will be available to assist the researchers.

IIT Archives, Paul V. Galvin Library, Illinois Institute of Technology
Optimized-IIT_Galvin2

35 West 33rd Street

Chicago, IL 60616

Phone: 312-567-6840

Email: archives@iit.edu

The University Archives & Special Collections Reading Room is open from 1:00- 5:00, Monday- Friday. Appointments can be scheduled between 9:00 and 5:00, Monday- Friday. If you would like to visit between 9:00- 1:00 or spend a full day, you must schedule an appointment in advance via email with a concise description of your research interests, what you hope to find, and any relevant collections you’ve found in ArchiveSearch or collection guides by collection number and name. Please provide 2-3 possible appointment times. You can also schedule an appointment during Open Hours if you would like additional research assistance from a staff member. Outside researchers should request an appointment at least one week in advance; IIT students, faculty and staff can request an appointment two days in advance. The earlier you contact UASC, the more accommodating we can be about your preferred times.

Collection Strengths: Institute of Design collection; Charles Warner Piece papers; Digital collection (including World’s Fair); History of Bronzeville neighborhood; IIT Building Program during World War II; 100-years’ worth of yearbooks; tech news collection
Click here to search the HEALD (IIT Archives Catalog)

Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections Cudahy_Library,_facade

Cudahy Library, Room 218, Lake Shore Campus

1032 West Sheridan Road

Chicago, IL 60660

Contact information here.

Appointments are strongly recommended, available from Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Collection Strengths: The Archives & Special Collections hold over 8,500 linear feet of collections including Loyola records; Catholic collections; the papers of Samuel Insull and several of his employees and companies; faculty, staff, and alumni papers; and political papers. The rare book collection is also part of Special Collections and currently contains approximately 13,000 volumes with strengths in the areas of religion, philosophy, history, literature, and the history of medicine. Of particular note is the Edward A. Cudahy Jesuitica Collection, which includes a first edition of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises as well as volumes on Jesuit missions and books by Jesuit scientists; the Charles A. Whittingham Chiswick Press collection; and the Michalak Collection, which includes the 19th century British satire and caricature collection and the Edward Gorey collection.

The Newberry Library New-Roof-9-10-08

60 West Walton Street

Chicago, IL 60610

Browse Core Collections and check out the Online Catalog. Contact the Newberry’s Research Centers with questions.

If you are decided on your topic of research and are making plans to visit the Newberry, you should familiarize yourself in advance with the Newberry’s Reading Room Policies, Reading Room Procedures, and information about Obtaining a Reader’s Card. The Newberry also provides Tours and Orientations focused on the reading rooms. Numerous Research Guides are organized alphabetically by subject, to help researchers begin their exploration of the collections.

Collection Strengths: The Newberry collections focus on the humanities, which is a broad category of academic disciplines that includes history, literature, art, foreign languages and cultures, music, philosophy, and religion.

Northwestern University Libraries

1970 Campus Drive

Level 3, Charles Deering McCormick Library

Evanston, IL 60208

Phone: 847-491-3635

Email: special.collections@northwestern.edu

Collection Strengths: Chicago history including Illinois political pamphlets; architectural drawings; Civil War and World War I papers; Evanston chapter of the NAACP; 1968 Democratic National Convention; printing and publishing collections; African-American and African Studies; papers of Cyrus Colter, Leon Forrest, Dennis Brutus, Katherine Flowers.

It is recommended that researchers from outside of the Chicago area send inquiries in advance to insure that the materials needed are present. Please check the repository website for updated information on hours of operation, access, and staff assistance.

Click here to search the archival database.

1970 Campus Drive

Level 5, East Tower, Main Library

Evanston, IL 60208

Phone: 847-467-3084

Email: africana@northwestern.edu

Collection Strengths: Largest separate Africana collection in existence, subjects range from art, history, literature, music, and religion to communications, management, and cooking. Northwestern’s disciplinary programs are reflected in the collection.


It is recommended that researchers from outside of the Chicago area send inquiries in advance to insure that the materials needed are present. Please check the repository website for updated information on hours of operation, access, and staff assistance.

Click here to research the collection.

1970 Campus Drive

Level 1, Charles Deering McCormick Library

Evanston, IL 60208

email: archives@northwestern.edu

Collection Strengths: Papers and records of distinguished faculty, University departments, and student organizations; University-generated publications (Daily Northwestern, Syllabus yearbook, student and staff directories, catalogs and bulletins from colleges and schools, department annual reports; and athletic, theatre, and musical performance programs); films, video, and audio materials; books by Northwestern faculty; Northwestern University History reference collection; campus life photographs; artifacts; biographical files on past and present faculty; subject reference files on University history.

Please contact the University Archives via email with any questions about their holdings.

Rebuild Foundation Rebuild Foundation Photo

6916 South Dorchester Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637

Please note that the Frankie Knuckles Records and Edward J. Williams Collections are open by appointment and are also included in our free Saturday tours of the Stony Island Arts Bank.

Stony Island Arts Bank Open Hours

Tuesday-Saturday | 11am–6pm
Closed Sunday–Monday

6760 S. Stony Island Ave.

Chicago, IL | 60649

Reading room access to the Johnson Publishing Library and Glass Lantern Slide Collection requires a free library orientation. Orientation sessions last approximately 20 minutes and are held on a walk-in basis based on staff availability. Additionally, weekly orientation sessions are held Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11:30 am.

Admission is free and includes access to our ongoing exhibitions as well as our reading room.

Roosevelt University Library and ArchivesOptimized-RU1

430 South Michigan Avenue

Murray-Green Library

Chicago, IL 60605

Collection Strengths: Oral History Project in Labor History; Biographical collection (papers of Christopher Reed, Percy Julian, and St. Clair Drake); Dempsey Travis papers; The Auditorium Theatre collection; The Center for New Deal Studies collection; speech collection; photo collection

The archives are available by appointment from 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday (except university holidays). Please contact University Archivist Laura Mills at lmills@roosevelt.edu or 312-341-2280 or Archives Specialist Michael Gabriel at mgabriel@roosevelt.edu or 312-341-3645 for more information.

All guests including alumni, students, faculty and staff of other I-Share schools are required to show a state issued photo i.d. to obtain a guest pass to the building. Access to Roosevelt University’s Archives is by appointment only during regular business hours.

Click here to search the collections.

Shorefront Legacy CenterOptimized-ShoreFrontExt2014

2214 Ridge Avenue, Lower Level

Evanston, IL 60201

Phone: 847-864-7467

Email: shorefront@me.com

Collection Strengths: The Black experience, community organizations, and families on the Chicago suburban North Shore; NAACP Evanston Chapter; Evanston photographic negative collection; Evanston newspapers (Evanston Newsette and Evanston Sentinel); North Shore Music collection; Community Hospital of Evanston collection; Emerson Street YMCA collection

Please call or email the Shorefront Legacy Center if you wish to establish a research visit.

University of Chicago, Special Collections Research CenterOptimized-UofC1

1100 East 57th Street

Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: 773-702-8705

Contact directly for research inquiries by first creating a request account.

Collection Strengths: Chicago Jazz Archive; Ida B. Wells papers; Detroit Race Riot Records of 1943; Julius Rosenwald papers; Uncle Tom’s Cabin collection; University of Chicago’s African Studies Workshop records; University of Chicago’s Committee on African Studies; African-American Popular Fiction (over 1300 volumes); Civil War-era papers (including Lincoln collection); Slavery and Indentured Servitude collection

Click here to search the collections.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago Special Collections and University ArchivesOptimized-UIC_HS

1750 West Polk Street, Room 320

Chicago, IL 60612

Phone: 312-996-8977

Collection Strengths: Chicago’s history on the education and practice of the medical arts; Cook County School of Nursing records; Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing records; National Organization for Women, Chicago and West Suburban Chapter records

Researchers should contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of their visit to discuss their research project. An appointment is encouraged so staff can assist researchers more effectively.

Click here to research the collections.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Richard J. Daley, Special Collections and University Archives DepartmentOptimized-UIC

801 South Morgan Street, Room 3-330

Chicago, IL 60607

Phone: 312-996-2742

Collection Strengths: Social, political and cultural history of Chicago; YMCA Association records; Associated Negro Press collection; National Alliance of Black Feminists collection; Administrative History of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Sierra Leone collection; Chicago Urban League records; Chicago Conference on Religion and Race collection

Researchers should contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of their visit to discuss their research project. An appointment is encouraged so staff can assist researchers more effectively.

Click here to research the collections.

Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago 

Piper Hall

1032 W. Sheridan Road

Chicago, IL 60660

Phone: 773-508-8837

Email: WLArchives@luc.edu

Hours: May be found on the WLA website

Visits outside of our normal scheduled hours may be arranged for researchers, such as History Fair participants, who would otherwise be unable to visit the archives during normal business hours. Please contact the Director at nfreeman1@luc.edu for more information and to arrange a special visit. An appointment is not required, however, it is recommended.

Collection Strengths: Activism and Women’s Issues; Authors; Education; Environment; Mundelein College; Public Service; Social Justice; Fine, Performance, and Visual Arts; Women Religious.

Collection materials are also found in the Women and Labor On-line Exhibit and in digital collections such as Feminism in Chicago, Women and Social Justice, and Women in Science.

Click here to research the collections.