Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Commons Association visual materials, ca. 1896-1969

Chicago Commons Association visual materials

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Open Finding Aid

Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Commons Association visual materials, ca. 1896-1969

Prepared by Diane Ryan; revised by D. Rinder, 2008; revised 2014.
Digitization and preservation of the nitrate negatives was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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 Commons Association visual materials, circa 1896-1969 (inclusive)
Creator: Chicago Commons Association
Dates: circa 1896-1969 (inclusive)
Accession numbers: 1980.0125
Bib number: 00004277
Call numbers: 1980.0125 PPL
1980.0125 PCLF
1980.0125 PLS-0050
1980.0125 PCT-0047
1980.0125 PPN-0097
1980.0125 PCLF
1980.0125 PNN
Size:939 photographic prints : b&w ; 11 x 14 in. or smaller
3 albums (ca. 600 photographic prints plus ephemera) ; 11 x 14 in. or smaller
5 photomechanical prints ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller
25 photographic prints : col., snapshots ; 9 x 14 cm. (3 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.) or smaller
13 negatives : col. ; 35 mm.
12 transparencies : lantern slide ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller
2 transparencies : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
34 negatives : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller
25 negatives : cellulose nitrate ; 9 x 11 cm. (3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.) or smaller
1 folder of non-graphic material
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of Chicago Commons Association, 1968 and later (1980.0125, 1980.0168).

Terms governing use:

Copyright restrictions may apply. Credit photographer(s).


Advance appointment required to view color material in cold storage or negatives in cool storage; please email

To consult lantern slides in the Research Center it is necessary to make an advance appointment (email: ); however most are represented by photoprints in this collection.

Nitrate negatives restricted from access, see reference copies instead.

Alternate format available:

Nitrate reference copies available online

Lantern slides are represented by photoprints in the collection.

Please cite this collection as:

Chicago Commons Association visual materials (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 Commons Association collection of additional photographs (1980.0315), the Chicago Commons Association records, the Lea Taylor papers, and some records of settlement houses that merged into the Chicago Commons Association.

Collection Summary +/-

Photographic material documenting activities of the Chicago Commons Association settlement houses in the Near West Side of Chicago (Ill.). Includes views of activities for adults, children, teenagers, and senior citizens, such as handicraft, educational, vocational, and social activities. Also includes scenes relating to nutrition, physical fitness and sports for children and teenagers; children's summer camp (ca. 1920-1969); portraits of various clubs and committees: Choral Club, Mother's Club, Peace Committee; theatrical presentations, parties, and dances. Images show interiors and exteriors of facilities at four locations. Includes views of people of undetermined ethnicity and views of depressed economic conditions of the surrounding neighborhoods, particularly around Grand Avenue and Morgan Street, ca. 1896-1920.

Early years at the settlement houses are shown in one album belonging to Head Resident Lea Taylor, one scrapbook belonging to staff member Ida Noetzel, and another small album. A few images are portraits of executive staff members: William H. Brueckner, Mrs. William. M. Collins, Clarence Lipschutz, and Dan Nagel, ca. 1950-1969.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

The Chicago Commons Association is a social service organization and former settlement house in Chicago (Ill.). 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.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Adult education--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Camps--Michigan--New Buffalo--1920-1970
Charitable organizations--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Children eating and drinking--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Children's parties--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Norwegian Americans--Illinois--Chicago
Older people--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Settlement houses--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1969
Social settlements--Illinois--Chicago--1890-1970
Theatrical productions--Illinois--Chicago
Brueckner, William H.--Portraits
Collins, William C., Mrs.--Portraits
Lipschutz, Clarence--Portraits
Nagel, Dan--Portraits
Chicago Commons (Chicago, Ill.)--Photographs
Chicago Commons Association--Photographs
Tabernacle Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)--Photographs
Gelatin silver prints
Group portraits
Lantern slides
Photograph albums
Photomechanical prints
145 North Union Street (Chicago, Ill.)
645 North Wood Street (Chicago, Ill.)
917 North Wolcott Street (Chicago, Ill.)
955 West Grand Avenue (Chicago, Ill.)
Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--1890-1970
Chicago (Ill.)--Streets--Grand Avenue--West--955
Chicago (Ill.)--Streets--Union--North--145
Chicago (Ill.)--Streets--Wolcott--North--917
Chicago (Ill.)--Streets--Wood--North--645
Near West Side (Chicago, Ill.)
United States--Illinois--Cook County--Chicago

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged into seven series by physical format.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Black-and-white photographic prints and albums, ca. 1896-1969 (box 1-7)
Series 2. Color photographic prints and negatives, 1957-1965 (folder 1)
Series 3. Color transparencies, undated (folder 2)
Series 4. Lantern slides, 1900-1908 (box 8)
Series 5. Nitrate negatives, ca. 1930-1949 (folder 3)
Series 6. Black-and-white negatives, ca. 1950-1965, undated (folder 4)
Series 7. Non-graphic material, undated (folder 5)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Dana Lamparello using Oxygen Editor, 2017.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to Explore Chicago Collections portal.
Processing Note:Eliminated call number 1980.0125 PNN-0036 during nitrate digitization project 2017/02/24.
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