Descriptive inventory for the Sidney R. Yates Papers, ca. 1931-1999

Sidney R. Yates papers

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Descriptive inventory for the Sidney R. Yates Papers, ca. 1931-1999

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: Sidney R. Yates papers, 1931-1999 (inclusive), 1948-1999 (bulk)
Creator: Sidney R. Yates
Dates: 1931-1999 (inclusive), 1948-1999 (bulk)
Accession number: 1998.0174
Bib number: 00066991
Call numbers: MSS Lot Y
Size:262 linear feet (522 boxes)
2 oversize folders
27 scrapbooks
985 color and black and white photographs (7 boxes)
8 audio reels (6 boxes)
9 cassette tapes (2 boxes)
4 VHS tapes (1 box)
1 45 RPM vinyl record (1 box)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Materials were a gift of Sidney R. Yates (accession #: 1998.0174).

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.


Advance appointment required to view photographic and audio material in cold and cool storage. For listening and viewing purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have an access copy made if one is not available); please email

Please cite this collection as:

Sidney R. Yates papers (Chicago History Museum), plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

Related collections at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Lois Weisberg papers, the Bernard Weisberg papers, and the Uptown Chicago Commission records. The Jack R. Oppenheim photograph collection includes one photograph of President John F. Kennedy, Rep. Sidney Yates, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in a car at a parade in October 1962.

Collection Summary +/-

This collection documents the Congressional career of Sidney Yates (D-Illinois), who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1963 and 1965 to 1999. The materials are primarily textual and consist of correspondence, speeches, reports, publications, clippings, notes, bills, and legislative drafts. Other formats include photographs, campaign materials, and audio and video recordings.

The materials reflect the daily business of Yates’ Congressional office including his work with the Appropriations Committee (1956-1998), Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies (1965-1998, and served as Chairman 1975-1995), Select Committee on Small Business (1955-1962), Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations (1995-1999), and Committee on Judiciary (1996-1997).

Significant topics represented in the collection include aging (1952-1995); the arts and humanities (1965-1998); environmental issues such as water diversion (1948-1974), Indiana Dunes (1959-1980), and air and water pollution; the nuclear-powered navy and Admiral Hyman Rickover (1950-1987); supersonic transportation (1964-1978); and Jewish topics such as Israel, Soviet Jewry, the Holocaust Memorial Council, Remembrance Day, and speeches to a number of Jewish organizations and congregations.

Significant gaps in the collection occur in materials from the 1980s and, due to Yates’ appointment as a United States Representative to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, there are few materials from 1963-1964.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Sidney Richard Yates (August 27, 1909 – October 5, 2000) was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Lake View High School and University of Chicago, earning degrees in philosophy and law. Prior to his political career, Yates practiced law and served in the U.S. Navy (1944-1946). Representing the Illinois 9th Congressional District as a Democrat, Yates was elected to the Eighty-first Congress (January 3, 1949) and served in the House of Representatives for the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1963). In 1962, Yates did not seek reelection to the House of Representatives, instead unsuccessfully running for the Senate against Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. President Kennedy appointed Yates as a United States Representative to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, for which he served as Ambassador (1963-1964). Yates returned to his former seat in the House of Representatives, where he served for 17 Congresses (January 3, 1965-January 3, 1999), eventually becoming Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies (1975-1994), centering much of his legislative activities on environmental issues and the arts. He did not run for reelection in 1998.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Animal welfare
Election districts -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 9th Congressional District (Ill.)
Election districts -- United States -- 9th Congressional District (Ill.)
Jews -- Persecutions -- Soviet Union
Legislators -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 20th century
Legislators -- United States -- 20th Century
Nuclear submarines
Politicians -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 20th century
Supersonic planes
Yates, Sidney Richard, 1909-2000 -- Archives
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
United States Holocaust Memorial Council
United States. Congress. House
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations
Guest books
Newspaper clippings
Press Releases
Chicago (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
Evanston (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in nine series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Legislation, 1949-1998 (Boxes 11, 13-18, 32-35, 41-43, 49-51, 57-59, 70, 78-103, 133, 137-139, 148-158, 170-211, 220-225, 237-245, 285-289, 311-321, 325-340, 362-400, 430-431, 434, 447, 456-501, 504-505)
Series 2. General Legislation, 1956-1993 (Boxes 1-2, 12, 111, 134-136, 140-147, 159-169, 212-219, 226-236, 256-260, 272-283, 322-324, 401-429, 506)
Series 3. Correspondence, 1958-1998 (Boxes 453-454)
Series 4. Bills, 1949-1999 (Boxes 3-6, 9-10, 47-48, 52-53, 71, 104-111, 507-517)
Series 5. Committees, 1955-1998 (Boxes 7-8, 112-118, 290-295, 308-310, 350-361, 442-443, 449, 502-503)
Series 6. Topical, 1946-1998 (Boxes 19-31, 36-40, 45-46, 60-62, 66-69, 119-132, 261-271, 296-307, 342-347, 432-433, 444-445, 448)
Series 7. Speeches, 1949-1998 (Boxes 44,54-56, 111, 246-255, 284, 341, 435-441, 519-521)
Series 8. Personal materials, 1948-1998 (Boxes 63-65, 170, 348-349, 446, 450-452, 455, 522, Oversize File 1-2, Scrapbooks 1-27)
Series 9. Photographs, circa 1930-1999 and undated (Boxes 72-77, 518)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Adam Melville using Oxygen editor, 2017.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
Processing Note:Processed with funding provided by the Gabriella and Paul Rosenbaum Foundation and with the support of George Van Dusen and Michael Dorf.
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