Collection Access

118 North Clark Street, Room #436, Chicago, Illinois 60602

CARO Photo Archive

Descriptive Summary

CARO Photo Archive
Documents in English
8000 images
Cook County Historic Archives and Records Office
The CARO Photo Archive is a collection of still images (with a limited number of videos) created by Cook County Government throughout the 20th century, with some older photos dating back to the 1800s. Many of these photos were collected by or fell into the possession of former Secretary to the Board and County Historian Matthew B. DeLeon. Additionally, he is the creator of many photographs, particularly those from the 21st century. Collection includes many newspaper clippings collected by DeLeon, and the usage of such may be governed by copyright. There are numerous albums related to highway construction from the 1950s through 1970s. These and other photos from the mid-to-late 20th century were created by Cook County departments and agencies and were digitally preserved in the current format during DeLeon’s tenure as Secretary to the Board. Many albums were created by DeLeon and Cook County Staff depicting Board Room happenings and various events held there. Depictions of elected and appointed officials in Board Meetings from the 1990s were collected by DeLeon in the form of screenshots of the official Board Proceedings video, when Cook County started filming Board Meetings in 1991.
Cook County Government, DeLeon, Matthew B.

Conditions for Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be under copyright restriction, e.g. newspaper clippings.

Preferred Citation

Cook County Historic Archives and Records Office, Secretary to the Board of Commissioners, Offices Under the President, Cook County (Ill.) Government.

Indexed Terms

Related Material

UIC Special Collections and Archives, Forest Preserve District Photo Archives


Ongoing accruals are expected.

Processing Information

Various dates and ongoing.

Biography or History

Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 by an act of the Illinois State Legislature as the 54th county established in Illinois. The unincorporated Fort Dearborn settlement at the mouth of the Chicago River became the new county’s seat. On May 7, 1831, Cook County elected its first officials. Cook County is an urban county in the upper northeastern section of the State of Illinois that contains more than 800 local governmental units within its boundaries. With a population of approximately 5.2 million people, it is the second most populous county in the nation and the 19th largest government in the United States (2015 census statistics). It is a home rule county pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 of the Illinois State Constitution and is governed by a 17-member Board of Commissioners who are elected from single-member districts. The Commissioners and a County Board President are elected to four-year terms by the citizens of the County. Cook County contains 134 municipalities in its region, the most well known being the City of Chicago – which is the County seat where the central offices of Cook County are located. The City of Chicago and the suburban municipalities account for approximately 85% of the County’s 946 square miles, while unincorporated areas make up the remaining 15%. The unincorporated areas of the County are under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. As mandated by State law, County government has principal responsibility for the protection of persons and property, the provision for public health services and the maintenance of County highways.