Richard J. Daley Collection opens at UIC

Richard J. Daley viewing the skyline in 1966 from atop the then-new Daley Center

Richard J. Daley views skyline in 1966 from atop then-new Daley Center. Photo: UIC Library Special Collections (click on image for larger file size)

Documents and artifacts from Richard J. Daley’s six terms as mayor of Chicago will be available for review by researchers and the public beginning July 25 with the opening of the Richard J. Daley Collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Housed in a 2,550-square-foot room in the Special Collections Department of UIC’s Daley Library, the Daley collection contains 150 linear feet of documents generated and received by Daley during his six terms as mayor of Chicago and his simultaneous terms as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Committee.

The collection also contains:

–More than 7,000 photographs, some portraying Daley’s political career and others documenting his family life, including family dinners, fishing trips, Daley playing Santa at his children’s school, and Daley as an altar boy.

–Photographs of Daley with politicians and celebrities such as Pope Paul VI, Harry Truman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anwar Sadat and Bob Hope.

–Decades of news clippings.

–Memorabilia from Daley’s campaigns for sheriff, county clerk, state senator and mayor.


Richard J. Daley and Queen Elizabeth II during her 1959 visit to Chicago

Richard J. Daley and Queen Elizabeth II during her 1959 visit to Chicago. Photo: UIC Library Special Collections (click on image for larger file size)

–Daley’s license plates with number 708222, his vote tally from his first mayoral election.

–Books from his personal library, ranging from “Life of Christ,” by Fulton J. Sheen, to “The Shadow that Scares Me,” by Dick Gregory — many inscribed by the authors.

–Painted portraits of Daley, including one with Queen Elizabeth II and one in St. Patrick’s Day regalia.

–Artworks and commemorative items from other governments, such as a silver plate with a message from President Luis Bracamontes of Mexico, a statuette from the City of Rome, and a key to the city from Mayor HUH Chung of the Special City of Seoul.

–Artifacts from Daley’s personal life, such as shillelaghs, family portraits and his night-school law diploma.

–Gifts from private citizens, such as a framed skyline image made of matchbooks from the president of an association of Chicago crossing guards.

Daley served as mayor from 1955 to 1976, a period when American cities faced population declines, job losses, infrastructure decay, and social unrest. Under his leadership, Chicago gained new skyscrapers, expressways, public art, an expanded airport and the UIC campus. After his death, his widow, Eleanor Daley, made the decision to donate his archives to the institution the mayor considered one of his greatest achievements.

The collection will be available to the public for study and research, with assistance from librarians, during regular Special Collections hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Appointments are recommended.  For information, visit the Daley Library’s Special Collections Department web page.

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