Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Teachers Union visual materials, ca. 1910-2012, bulk 1980-2000

Chicago Teachers Union visual materials

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Descriptive inventory for the Chicago Teachers Union visual materials, ca. 1910-2012, bulk 1980-2000

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 visual materials, 1910-2012 (inclusive), 1980-2000 (bulk)
Creator: Chicago Teachers Union
Dates: 1910-2012 (inclusive), 1980-2000 (bulk)
Accession numbers: 1980.0142
Bib number: 00004327
Call numbers: 1980.0142 PPL
1980.0142 PCP-0269
1980.0142 PPN-0006
1980.0142 0MM-0327
1980.0142 PFL
Size: 13.5 linear feet, including approximately 3,600 images and 5 videos (16 boxes, 2 folders)
Language of material:Collection is written in English, and Spanish.

Provenance statement:

Materials were a gift of the Chicago Teachers Union (accession number: 1980.0142, 1980.0156, 1985.0418, 2016.0067.2).

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 color material in cold storage or negatives in cool storage; please email

To consult color slides and lantern slides in the Research Center it is necessary to make an advance appointment (

In order to view an original videotape, a research copy must be made (email:

Please cite this collection as:

Chicago Teachers Union 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 Teachers Union records (1973.0019; 1989.0505; 1993.0001) and the Photographs and printed materials related to the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union Strike (2013.0087+).

Separated material:

Separated materials at the Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Chicago Teachers Union records (2016.0067.1) and three images transferred to the composite collections.

Collection Summary +/-

Black-and-white and color photographic prints, negatives, slides, and albums related to the work and promotion of the Chicago Teachers Union and its predecessors. Images depict union leaders, committees, conferences, meetings and activities, including demonstrations against payless paydays (1933) when the Chicago Board of Education could not pay its employees and later rallies and strikes. Also included are posters and placards; VHS and Beta cassettes; and transparency reproductions of cartoons, charts, and clippings regarding salaries, benefits, facilities, birth statistics and legislation. Most photoprints are annotated and identified.

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 +/-

Collective bargaining--Education
Educational change--Illinois--Chicago
Labor unions--Officials and employees--Education
School closings--Illinois--Chicago
Schools--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Strikes and lockouts--Teachers--Illinois-–Chicago
Teachers' unions--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Fewkes, John M.
Herrick, Horace N.
Stevenson, Adlai E.
Taggart, Helen E.
Vaughn, Jacqueline
Chicago (Ill.). Board of Education
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Teachers Union
Gelatin silver prints
Group portraits
Lantern slides
Photographic prints
Photographic prints--color
Portrait photographs
Video recordings
Chicago (Ill.)--Politics and government--20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in four series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Strikes, circa 1952-2002 (6 boxes, 1 folder)
Series 2. Activities, circa 1930-2005 (7 boxes, 2 folders)
Series 3. Meetings and Committees, 1931-2001 (6 boxes, 1 folder)
Series 4. People (4 boxes, 1 folder)

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:The 1980.0142, 1980.0156, and 1985.0418 accessions were partially processed 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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