Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Teachers Union records, ca.1870-2017, bulk 1930-2015

Chicago Teachers Union records

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Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Teachers Union records, ca.1870-2017, bulk 1930-2015

Prepared by Adam Melville, 2017.
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Instructions for accessing this collection

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Chicago Teachers Union records, 1870-2017 (inclusive), 1930-2015 (bulk)
Creators: Chicago Teachers Union
John Fewkes
Chicago (Ill.). Board of Education
Chicago Teachers' Federation
Chicago Federation of Men Teachers
Federation of Women High School Teachers (Chicago, Ill.)
Elementary Teachers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Playground Teachers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Joint Board of Teachers Unions (Chicago, Ill.)
School Clerks' Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Dates: 1870-2017 (inclusive), 1930-2015 (bulk)
Accession numbers: 1973.0019
Bib number: 00065136
Call numbers: MSS Lot C
MSS Micro C
MSS Oversize C
2016.0067 PCLF
Size:170.5 linear feet (165 boxes)
1 oversize folder
1 folder
10 microfilm reels : neg. ; 35 mm.
7 scrapbooks
5 audio reels (1 box)
3 cassette tapes (1 box)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Materials were a gift of the Chicago Teachers Union (accession #: 1973.0019, 1989.0505, 1993.0001, 2016.0067).

Terms governing use:

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.


For listening purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available). Advance appointment required to view color photographs in cold storage.

Alternate format available:

Seven volumes of scrapbooks in Series 2, subseries 4, are available on microfilm.

Please cite this collection as:

Chicago Teachers Union records (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Chicago Teachers' Federation records, the Joe Jacobs papers, the Lillian Herstein papers, the Cyrus Hall Adams, III, papers, the Thales Kaster papers, the Citizens Schools Committee records, the Chicago Federation of Labor records, and the Photographs and printed materials related to the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union Strike (2013.0087 PCFF).

Separated material:

Separated materials at the Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Chicago Teachers Union visual materials (1980.0142).

Collection Summary +/-

The records of the Chicago Teachers Union are primarily textual and include meeting minutes and agendas, correspondence, reports, financial information, contracts, publications, clippings, flyers, scrapbooks, materials for mass distribution, and general office files created by the CTU, the Men’s Teachers Union, the Federation of Women High School Teachers, the Joint Board of Teachers’ Unions and the American Federation of Teachers.

Subjects covered include teacher unionization, the careers of superintendents William H. Johnson and Benjamin C. Willis, education in Chicago, factionalism within the American Federation of Teachers, particularly alleged communist activity within the AFT, teacher certification, retirement and pension, charter schools, school turnarounds and closings, education reform initiatives such as Renaissance 2010, strike actions (including 1969, 1984, 1987, and 2012), education initiatives, professional development and the Quest Center, contracts with Board of Education, and union constitution and bylaws.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Local 1 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), had its beginnings with the establishment of the Chicago Teachers Federation (CTF) in 1897. In 1902 CTF received a charter from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) as a federal labor union. Composed mainly of high school teachers, the Men’s Teachers Union was founded in 1912. Two years later the Federation of Women High School Teachers was established. In 1916 these three bodies, along with four other non-Chicago teacher groups, successfully petitioned the AFL to charter a new national labor organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The CTF became AFT Local 1, the Men’s group became AFT Local 2, and the Women’s Federation was chartered as AFT Local 3.

During the 1920s, the Men’s Union and the Women’s Federation jointly organized four other groups of Board employees into unions: the elementary school teachers (AFT Local 199), the playground teachers (AFT Local 209), the school clerks (AFT Local 224), and the truant officers. These six groups coordinated activities through the Joint Board of Teachers Unions.

On October 28, 1937, the four AFT charters were formally surrendered and the AFT issued a single charter for the new Chicago Teachers Union, AFT Local 1. In the 1960s, the CTU began including a number of non-teacher’s groups employed by the Board of Education, and secured collective bargaining in 1966. Since its inception, the CTU has advocated on issues such as working and learning conditions; member pay, benefits and job security; evaluation-based merit pay for teachers; and school closures and privatization.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Charter schools -- Illinois -- Chicago
Collective bargaining -- Education
Educational change -- Illinois -- Chicago
Elementary school teachers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 19th century
Elementary school teachers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
High school teachers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 19th century
High school teachers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
Labor unions -- Officials and employees -- Education
Labor unions and communism -- Illinois -- Chicago
Public schools -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 19th century
Public schools -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
School closings -- Illinois -- Chicago
Schools -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 19th century
Schools -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
Strikes and lockouts -- Teachers -- Illinois -- Chicagoy
Teachers -- Certification -- Illinois -- Chicago
Teachers' unions -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 19th century
Teachers' unions -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
Fewkes, John M.
Johnson, William H. -- 1895-
Stewart, Marilyn
Vaughn, Jacqueline
Willis, Benjamin C.
American Federation of Teachers
Chicago (Ill.). Board of Education
Chicago (Ill.). Board of Education -- Compulsory and Voluntary Retirement Fund
Chicago Federation of Men Teachers
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Teachers' Federation
Chicago Teachers Union -- Archives
Chicago Teachers Union -- Quest Center
Elementary Teachers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Federation of Women High School Teachers (Chicago, Ill.)
Joint Board of Teachers Unions (Chicago, Ill.)
Playground Teachers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
School Clerks' Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Agendas (administrative records)
Bylaws (administrative records)
Financial records
Fliers (printed matter)
Chicago (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 19th century
Chicago (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in three series and fourteen subseries.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Predecessor Organizations, 1914-1948 (box 1-6)
Subseries 1. Joint Board of Teachers’ Unions, 1931-1937 (box 1)
Subseries 2. Federation of Men Teachers, 1916-1948 (box 1-3)
Subseries 3. Federation of Women High School Teachers, 1914-1937 (box 3-6)
Series 2. Chicago Teachers Union, 1870-2017 (box 6-92, 103-165, oversize folder 1, PCLF folder 1)
Subseries 1. American Federation of Teachers, 1918-2017 (box 6-13, oversize folder 1)
Subseries 2. General office files, 1870-2017 (box 13-41, 103-105, 111, 155-162, 164, PCLF folder 1)
Subseries 3. Chicago Teachers Union committees, 1931-2009 (box 42-66 and 155)
Subseries 4. Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbooks, 1927-1966 (box 67-92, volumes 1-7)
Subseries 5. Publications, 1943-2017 (box 115-129)
Subseries 6. Executive Board, House of Delegates, House of Representatives, and Field Representatives, 1918-2013 (box 24, 109-110, 130-155, 163-164)
Subseries 7. Contracts, 1967-2015 (box 112-115)
Subseries 8. Marilyn Stewart, 2003-2010 (box 106-108)
Subseries 9. Audio recordings (box 165)
Series 3. School Clerks’ Union (AFT Local 224), 1929-1987 (box 93-102, 161)
Subseries 1. General office file, 1929-1967 (box 93-98)
Subseries 2. Financial documents, 1931-1987 (box 99-102, 161)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Adam Melville using Oxygen editor, 2017; edited by Julie Wroblewski, 2017
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
Processing Note:The 1973.0019, 1989.0505, and 1993.0001 accessions were partially processed and a draft inventory created by CHM staff at an unknown earlier date; the 2016 accession was integrated into the existing collection and processing completed for the earlier materials in 2017.
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