In Our Archives

The Society has amassed an extensive collection of photographs, papers, and objects that portray the history of Rogers Park and West Ridge.

Photographs: We have about 9,000 images digitized and cataloged in our collections database. Included are many class photos from local elementary and high schools, as well as photos of prominent neighborhood residents, scenes from daily life, documentation of special events and numerous photos of local streets, homes and businesses from the 1880s to the present. A significant portion of the most recent part of the collection is the work of respected local photographer Marty Schmidt, documenting neighborhood life in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century.

Papers: We have a sorted but not fully cataloged collection of important papers and historical records of prominent Rogers Park and West Ridge individuals, families, businesses and many of the cultural and community organizations of our neighborhood, as well as memorial-occasion publications from local churches, schools and other groups.  

In 2019, the Board of Directors approved a program to transfer stewardship of much of this material to the Northside Neighborhood History Collection held at the Sulzer Regional branch of the Chicago Public Library. Implementation of this transfer is on-going. As they are completed, finding guides for the materials in the collection will be published on this website and by the Chicago Public Library. The materials transferred so far may be accessed during regular NNHC collection hours or by appointment. 

We also have a limited selection of business and telephone directories, a collection of yearbooks from many of our local schools and colleges, a full set of guidebooks from more than 30 years of our annual house tours and a variety of books on Chicago history available for use in the library at our office. 

Objects: We have a sorted but uncataloged collection of objects representing local businesses, community organizations, schools, churches, and everyday life in Rogers Park/West Ridge. From time to time, selections from this collection are displayed at our office, 7363 North Greenview Avenue.

Inquiries

Donations: We welcome donations of photos, and will consider donations of  paper and objects applicable to our community, subject to the terms of our Collections Policy. Fill out the form below to inquire about making a donation to our collections. Donors must sign a Deed of Gift form when they make their donation.

Image Copies: We allow others to use images that belong to the Society’s collections, but any use of RP/WRHS images must be approved by the Society first. Image reproductions are subject to our Image Use Agreement and reproduction fee schedule. Fill out the form below to inquire about obtaining image use rights and/or a copy of an image.

Research: We support research efforts and inquiries about items in the collection. Fill out the form below to request an appointment. Please allow at least two weeks for a response. We are a volunteer organization.

Research Inquiry