Richard J. Daley’s legacy recounted on new library website


Richard J. Daley, the Chicago mayor who helped make UIC a reality, has been memorialized in a website with new oral histories from his colleagues, friends and relatives.

“Remembering Richard J. Daley” features video, audio, photos and documents from the UIC Library’s Richard J. Daley Collection.

There are six interviews with Daley’s wife, Eleanor “Sis” Daley, who donated her husband’s archives to UIC, and interviews with five of Daley’s seven children.  Others interviewed include:

• national figures Jimmy Carter, Richard Durbin, Adlai Stevenson and Andrew Young

• Chicago politicians Ed Burke, Ed Kelly and Michael Madigan

• civic leaders James Compton, former Chicago Urban League president, and Newton Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

• Kay Quinlan, Daley’s personal secretary from 1967 to 1976.

The contributors, interviewed from 2002 through June 2015, offer insights into Daley’s city administration from 1955 to 1976 and his role as head of the Cook County Democratic Party from 1953 to 1976.

“The Daley family was instrumental in identifying and contacting people who could offer an insider’s perspective on decision-making in the Daley administration,” said Peggy Glowacki, archivist for special collections at UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library. “Other interviews, such as with members of the mayor’s security detail and his personal secretary, give a glimpse of the day-to-day workings of his office.”

When UIC opened the Daley Collection in 2013, hundreds of people viewed a temporary exhibition of its artifacts, photos and documents. Since then, researchers have viewed the collection by appointment in the library’s Special Collections Department, but the oral histories were not available until the website went live July 20.

Many of those interviewed for the website joined Chancellor Michael Amiridis, University President Timothy Killeen and library staff at a celebration of the oral history project at the library.

“In 1960, Chicago was one of the only major American cities without a four-year public university. Mayor Richard J. Daley changed that reality five years later when the University of Illinois opened this campus to educate the children of Chicago’s working families,” Amiridis said.

The interviews were conducted by the late Robert Remini, UIC historian and professor emeritus and historian for the U.S. House of Representatives; Fred Beuttler, who served with Remini as House and UIC historian; and Marie Scatena, an oral historian who taught at UIC.

Full transcripts of all interviews, along with an illustrated biography of Daley and a chronology of his life, can be read under “Biographies” on the website.



Elsewhere on the website, oral history excerpts, photos, videos and audio clips are sorted by topic under six categories:

Man on Five

Daley’s leadership style, office routines, relationships with those who worked for him, financial knowledge, sponsorship of city celebrations, presence in national politics, and dedication to Chicago

The City that Works

The mayor’s attention to city services, public resources like UIC and O’Hare International Airport, Loop skyscrapers and corporate headquarters, city beautification, labor relations and business development

Good Government is Good Politics

Daley’s chairmanship of the Democratic Party and ward politics, his approach to campaigning for himself and others, and influence in national campaigns

A Changing Society

Views on Daley’s handling of the civil rights movement, race and housing issues, the Vietnam War, the 1968 riots and Democratic convention, and the national Democratic Party’s refusal of Daley’s slate of delegates for the 1972 convention


Family, friends and colleagues look back on Daley’s sudden death in 1976 and the value of his achievements, including his decision to build UIC.

“We trust that the new website will provide insights,” said Mary Case, university librarian and dean of libraries.

“Historians, students and other interested individuals will find compelling stories about everyday life in the Daley home, the transformation of Chicago into a major world city, and the issues of race and war that gripped the nation in the 1960s.”


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