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Chicago History Resources

Online Resources:

Historical Chicago Tribune

This database includes articles and advertisements from 1849 to 1997. This database is accessible through the Maine South Library website or through the Park Ridge Library website.
To access the database from home:
Go to
Click on "Research & Learn"
Then click on "Databases"

Chicago Daily News Digital Photographs

This collections contains over 55,000 images of Chicago captured on glass plate negatives by Chicago Daily News photographers between the years 1902 and 1933.

Encyclopedia of Chicago

The online full-text version the Encyclopedia of Chicago containing thousands of historical resources that include articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers related to Chicago's colorful and complex history.

Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

The Chicago Historical Museum created this digital collection to provide online access to its primary source materials relating to the Haymarket Affair.

Dramas of the Haymarket from the Chicago History Museum and Northwestern University

The Dramas of Haymarket examines selected materials from the Chicago Historical Society's Haymarket Affair Digital Collection and interprets these materials.

Great Chicago Fire and Web of Memory

This online exhibition was created by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Chicago Fire. The exhibition includes essays, photographs, eyewitness accounts, and example of how the fire has been remembered and commemorated through the years.

Digital Newberry: Collections 

Explore more than 1 million digitized items including manuscripts, maps, books, photographs, artworks, and other rare & unique materials. Topics include the Chicago and the Midwest Collection, Chicago Protest Collection, Pullman Digital Collection, and much more.  

World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 

"The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893" website was created by the Illinois Institute of Technology to give access to thousands of illustrations and full-text images. 

Includes The Book of the Fair by Hubert Howe Bancroft published in 1893. 

Images of Progress: Views from Century of Progress International Exposition, 1933-1934

An online collection of publicity and documentary photographs from the Exposition presented by The University of Illinois at Chicago.

Homicide in Chicago, 1870-1930

The Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index chronicles 11,000 homicides in the city during 1870 through 1930. 

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Famous Cases

This collection includes narrative summaries of famous cases, images of original case documents, and advice on how to get further information about the cases.

Chicago Architects Oral History Project

Oral records of Chicago architects show life experiences of those who shaped the physical environment in Chicago and surrounding communities.

Illinois Digital Heritage Hub (IDHH)

IDHH is the Illinois section of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  It contains digital history collections from libraries, historical societies, museums, and other cultural institutions in Illinois. The collections contain image, text, and audio files.

Illinois Digital Archives

The Illinois Digital Archives website run by the Illinois State Library. These archives include local histories, photographs, postcards, and much more!

Included are three collections from the Park Ridge Public Library that are available to search or browse:

Park Ridge Library Resources:

When researching Illinois history topics at the Park Ridge Public Library there are multiple places to find materials. Make sure to check our online catalog for further information on our holdings.

Circulating Materials

There are various areas to find materials in our circulating collection. It depends on the specific topic being researched. Here are some of the biggest subject areas for Chicago history.

Subjects: Call Numbers

Great Lakes and Midwest History: 977
Illinois and Chicago History: 977.3
Oversize Chicago History: Oversize 977.3
Chicago Architecture books: 720.977
Chicago Travel Call Numbers: 917.731

Local History Materials

The Library's Local History Collection are reference materials that require an ID or library card to use. The titles are in a closed staff area and not available for browsing. All Local History books can be found in our online catalog available through Once a title and call number are identified in our catalog, a staff member at the reference desk will retrieve the item(s). Materials that are fragile are subject to review by a librarian before the items can be used.

Chicago History Magazine

The Park Ridge Public Library has The Chicago History Magazine from 1945 to current, with some issues missing. Issues are in storage and need to be requested at the reference desk. An ID or library card is required for library use of the Chicago History Magazine Collection. The magazines are not available to check out, but photocopies of pages can be made. 

Other Resources:

There are several other libraries and museums in the Chicago area where you can find Chicago History information.

Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Public Library website features a Chicago History section that has links to library collections and online resources on Chicago history. You may also want to visit one of the many Chicago Public Library branches in person to use their collections.

Chicago History Museum

Visit the Chicago History Museum online or in person to learn about Chicago history firsthand. Current exhibitions include information on Chicago blues, remembering Dr. King, Lincoln's Chicago, and more.

Chicago Metro History Fair Website

The official site of the History Fair includes information for students, educators, and the general public. View their research guide which includes a guide for primary and secondary sources, along with a directory of local historical collections.