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Chicago History Resources

Online Resources:

Historical Chicago Tribune

This database includes articles and advertisements from 1849 to 1992. 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

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

Chicago Encyclopedia

Thousands of historical resources that include articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers related to Chicago's colorful and complex history.

Chicago History Files

This collection includes information and bibliographies on Al Capone, Chicago Fire, Fort Dearborn, Columbian Exposition, Pullman Era, Stockyards, A Century of Progress, The Black Sox, and Parades, Protests, and Politics in Chicago.

Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

The Chicago Historical Museum has created this digital collection to provide on-line 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.

Great Lakes Digital Collection

The Great Lakes Collection contains 550 images of Illinois and the Great Lakes from the French period of exploration and settlement to the early 20th Century.

World's Columbian Exposition: Book of the Fair

This website has a digital copy of The Book of the Fair by Hubert Howe Bancroft published in 1893.

Century of Progress, the 1933-1934 World's Fair

Three hundred and fifty pamphlets published for the fair have been digitized and made available for on-line viewing.

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.

Digital Illinois

Digital Illinois is a consortium of libraries in Illinois. 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 Library’s Digital Past collections have been added to 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

Reference Books

Our reference books are in the stacks across from the Reference desk. These books cannot be checked out, but can be used in the library and photocopied.

General American history books are in the Ref 970's

This area includes titles such as:
American Era: Ref. 973 AME
Encyclopedia of American History: Ref. 973.03 ENC
American Decades: Ref. 973.9 AME
Working Americans, 1880-2006 Call Numbers:Ref. 973.9 DER

Illinois and Chicago history books are in the Ref 977's

This area includes titles such as:
The American Midwest: Ref. 977.003 AME
An Interpretive Encyclopedia:Ref. 977.3 ENC
 Encyclopedia of Chicago: Ref. 977.311 ENC
Chicago Ward Maps:Ref. 977.311 STY

Heritage Room Materials

Heritage Room Materials are non-circulating materials that require an ID or library card to use. Heritage Room titles are in a closed staff area, therefore they are not available for browsing. All Heritage Room books are 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. There is a limit of two Heritage Room Items at a time. 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. The current issue can be found in our Magazine section of the Reference Room. Back issues are in storage and need to be requested at the reference desk. Past issues of the Chicago History Magazine require an ID or library card for use and are non-circulating.

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 Learn Chicago 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 Schaumburg, quilting, mapping Chicago, and more.

Chicago Metro History Fair Website

The official site of the History Fair. See their resource guide and directory of local historical collections.