Chicago Commons Association records

Descriptive Summary

Chicago Commons Association records
Chicago Commons Association
Brueckner, William H., Taylor, Graham, 1851-1938, Taylor, Lea Demarest, 1883-1975, Chicago Commons (Chicago, Ill.)
ca. 82 linear ft. (ca. 131 boxes)
8 oversize folders.
Material is in English unless otherwise noted.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, minutes (1894-1960), annual and other reports, personnel records, records of clubs based at the settlement house, neighborhood census data and surveys compiled by the Chicago Commons, the second settlement house founded in Chicago, and by the Chicago Commons Association, which operated several additional settlement houses. Topics include employment, housing, education, and social conditions in the neighborhoods that the settlement houses served, primarily on the Near North Side; ethnic and racial neighborhood change and its problems, particularly among Polish, Italian, and African Americans; and various children's and adults' activities at the Commons, including education for naturalization and, during the 1940s and 50s, interracial camping. Correspondents include head residents Dr. Graham Taylor, his daughter Lea D. Taylor, William H. Brueckner, and others.

Scope and Content

Includes oversize map with pins marking neighborhood sites.

Conditions for Access

In order to consult case files and certain marked boxes, researchers must sign the Chicago History Museum's "Request for Research Access to Confidential Materials" form. Portions of this collection are unprocessed. This collection has been assessed for access and can be requested except for noted restrictions (boxes 58-60 and warehouse material). Researchers using this collection will need to sign the Access to Unprocessed Collections form.

Conditions Governing Use

Contact the archives for more information on licensing and permissions for use and reproduction.

Preferred Citation

A common citation for archives is as follows: Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, Collection title, ID number, Repository name, location.

Custodial History

Gift of the Chicago Commons Association beginning in 1968 (M1968.0714; M1968.0765; M1969.0003; 1991.0402; 1999.0097; 2010.0042.1). Also includes materials received from Lea D. Taylor (M1974.0045) and a joint gift of Mrs. William Brueckner and the Chicago School of Social Work Administration (1983.0280).

Biography or History

The Chicago Commons was founded in 1894 by Graham Taylor at 140 N. Union Street; incorporated in 1895; moved to Grand Avenue and Morgan Street in 1901; established Farm Camp near New Buffalo, Michigan in 1923. In later years, it became the Chicago Commons Association through merger with Emerson House, 645 N. Wood Street, in 1948; headquarters moved to Taylor House, 915 N. Wolcott Avenue, in 1958; opened Jackie Robinson House in the Henry Horner Homes (Chicago Housing Authority), 124 N. Hoyne Avenue in 1965; Olivet Community Center, 1441 N. Cleveland Avenue (founded 1888) merged in 1966; Mary McDowell Settlement, 4630 S. McDowell Avenue, merged in 1967; Benton House, 3052 S. Gratten Avenue, merged in 1967.

Other Descriptive Data

Unprocessed additions to the collection are not described in this record.

Related Material

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Lea Taylor papers; the Leroy Snyder papers on the Chicago Commons Association; the Chicago Commons Association photograph collection; the Chicago Commons Association collection of additional photographs; publications of the Chicago Commons settlement house and the Chicago Commons Association; and records of settlement houses that merged into the Chicago Commons Association and continued to operate under their original names.

Descriptive inventory available. Does not include later additions to the collection.

Indexed Terms


NUCMC MS 71-889.