News

  • 09 Aug 2017 9:23 AM | Laura Alagna (Administrator)

    CAA thanks all who attended the CAA Summer Cookout on August 6 at LaBagh Woods forest preserve. 28 people (and one dog!) joined their fellow archivists and friends to enjoy some summertime food, beverages, and fun in the great outdoors. The rain held off, which made for a pleasant summer day! CAA thanks all those who brought things to share for the potluck. We look forward to having the cookout every summer!







  • 07 Aug 2017 9:58 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

     “This is my great aunt in the middle of the photograph. I know she lived in Chicago for a while, but I don’t know what she was doing there. Can you tell me anything about her?”

    Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Chicago Archives.

    Family historians contact the Archdiocesan Archives asking “What parish did my ancestors attend?” or “I want to trace my genealogy – what records do you have that can help me?” By using clues from this photograph and from our collections, we’ve identified the woman in the center of this photograph as Sr. M. Petronilla, superior general of the Sisters of St. Joseph, LaGrange Park, IL. As mother superior in the 1960s, she oversaw nearly 300 religious women who worked at 20 grammar and high schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The lives and work of religious women are under-documented in histories of Chicago Catholics, but every nun has a story to tell, and Archives can help those stories come to life.

    Join us Tuesday, August 8, at 6:00 PM at DePaul University for the Chicago Open Archives Spotlight Event Workshop as we piece together a genealogical mystery: the life of a religious woman in Chicago.

    The COA Spotlight Event Workshop is designed for Chicago Area Archivists members and allies who are interested in hosting an archives month event that follows the 2017 theme. The 2017 theme, Hidden Stories, will give visitors an opportunity to uncover a story from your collections using specific “clues” (documents, artifacts, images, maps) that create a narrative. During the workshop members of the COA Working Group will demonstrate a 'building a narrative' activity, brainstorm hidden story ideas with you, and discuss our vision for encouraging visitors to attend multiple COA events.  Consider the clues your collection uses to help researchers tell their story.

    For more information and to register, visit the Workshop events page.


  • 31 Jul 2017 10:34 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

    “Will you please give me information regarding the Chicago Health Institute, 36 West Randolph Street, City?”  William Fishbein, of Chicago, wrote the American Medical Association (AMA) on December 10, 1928.


    Photo courtesy of AMA Archives.

    The AMA’s response called the advertisement full of “scare stuff” from “men’s specialist” type of quacks. According to the AMA, the thing belonged to the class of fake medical institutes. The Bureau of Investigation assured the inquirer that they were reaching out to the Illinois Department of Registration and Education in Springfield to learn who the physicians were behind this outfit.  The AMA doggedly went after the quacks inside the Chicago Health Institute or “the sucker mill” as the Chicago Tribune referred to it over the years, exposing the unlicensed physicians and advising the public against the untruths going on behind the walls of 36 West Randolph Street.


    Photo courtesy of AMA Archives.

    Join us Tuesday, August 8 at 6:00 PM at DePaul University for the Chicago Open Archives Spotlight Event Workshop as we piece together the AMA’s case against a Chicago quack, the Chicago Health Institute.

    The COA Spotlight Event Workshop is designed for Chicago Area Archivists members and allies who are interested in hosting an archives month event that follows the 2017 theme. The 2017 theme, Hidden Stories, will give visitors an opportunity to uncover a story from your collections using specific “clues” (documents, artifacts, images, maps) that create a narrative. During the workshop members of the COA Working Group will demonstrate a 'building a narrative' activity, brainstorm hidden story ideas with you, and discuss our vision for encouraging visitors to attend multiple COA events. 

    For more information and to register, visit the Workshop events page.

  • 29 Jul 2017 9:20 AM | Laura Alagna (Administrator)

    CAA thanks all who attended the CAA@SAA meetup on July 28 in Portland. 21 people - both CAA members and friends of CAA - joined colleagues after the MAC members' meeting to catch up and swap SAA stories. Everyone enjoyed discussing fun they had in Portland so far, and the Chicago Open Archives committee was in action spreading the word about the great plans they have for October!



  • 23 Jun 2017 3:30 PM | Erin Matson (Administrator)
    On Thursday, June 22, 12 CAA members traveled to Batavia for a tour of Fermilab and its archives, hosted by fellow CAA member and Fermilab archivist Valerie Higgins. 

    Valerie led attendees through Fermilab's archives, providing an overview of the collections and a history of its development, and answering questions from the group. The tour also included a stop at Fermilab's linear accelerator (LINAC) and an artwork exhibited gathered from the archives, as well as a look at some other items and artifacts of interest from the collections. 

    Attendees also received a nice surprise when Fermilab's deputy department head of operations provided an impromptu overview of the science conducted at Fermilab and some of the challenges of building and maintaining the high-tech and highly sensitive equipment required for those tasks. 




    If you missed this event, don’t worry – there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of dates, times, and locations.

    Coming soon:

    • CAA @ SAA Meet-Up : July 28, 20174-6 p.m. Coopers Hall, 404 SE 6th Avenue, Portland Ore. 
    • CAA Summer Cookout : August 6, 2017. More details coming soon!
    Have an idea for a CAA event? Contact the CAA Events Subcommittee at info@chicagoarchivists.org with your suggestions.


  • 26 May 2017 10:03 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

    Many of Chicago’s cultural institutions have used grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to preserve, promote, and provide access to their collections. In response to the proposed elimination of funding for these federal agencies, CAA asked members to submit stories highlighting the projects that their institutions have undertaken with support from the NEH, NEA, and IMLS. We hope these stories will inspire a dialog among Chicagoans about how we can advocate for and better protect our cultural heritage.

     

    Today’s submission is from Media Burn Archive. Media Burn Archive collects, restores and distributes documentary video and television created by artists, activists and community groups. Media Burn is a project of the Fund for Innovative TV (FITV), which has been producing challenging documentary video and television since 1990. With the support of funding from the NEH and NEA, Media Burn has made a staggering amount of historical video footage available to the general public.

     

    In 2011, Media Burn was awarded a $79,000 federal grant from the NEH Save America’s Treasures program in order to preserve and make available one-of-a-kind documentary footage of the 1992 presidential election and the U.S. senatorial election in Illinois. The Media Burn Archive holds the largest single collection of documentary footage of the 1992 election cycle–over 450 hours of footage. The 120 videotapes chosen to be preserved include behind-the-scenes footage of then-Governor Bill Clinton’s early campaigning with his wife Hillary, and dozens of hours with Clinton’s strategic team. The collection also includes footage from other campaigns that ran at the same time, including that of President George H.W. Bush, and the videos were produced by some of the best independent videomakers in the country. These videos can be publicly accessed on the Media Burn website.

     

    In 2015, the NEA awarded a grant of $50,000 to FITV/Media Burn for a project dedicated to digitizing and creating access to 239 videotapes from three rare, unfinished or previously unreleased collections from the Kartemquin Films archives that document artistic communities and the role of art in society. The three collections include A Year on Teen Street (1996), Chicago Crossings (1994), and When Art Makes a Difference (1991). More details about this project can be found on Media Burn’s blog.

    To learn more about Media Burn Archive, please visit http://mediaburn.org/.


    Do you have a story about your federally funded project and its significance to your community? Submit your stories to info@chicagoarchivists.org.


     



  • 15 May 2017 2:10 PM | Hathaway Hester (Administrator)

    Thank you to everyone who attended CAA mini-MAC at CPL-Lincoln Belmont on May 2nd. Twenty-two people joined us to hear from Chicago-area colleagues who presented at MAC. CAA would like to thank the panelists who dedicated their time and expertise to this great program: Joanna Russ, Morgen MacIntosh-Hodgetts, Anita Mechler, Julie Wroblewski, and Laura Alagna. Those who attended also grabbed a peek at the promo video for MAC Chicago 2018. Panelists and attendees gathered afterwards to chat with colleagues at The Green Lady. This program was so great it left those who attended a little sad that MAC will be in Chicago next year…but only a little.

    Didn't make it to this event? Don't worry - there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of dates, times, and locations.  Stay tuned for more event announcements from CAA. -Amber Dushman

  • 09 May 2017 9:58 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)
    Thank you to everyone who attended the CAA tour of the Lenhardt Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden on April 25th. 13 people joined us to learn about their amazing collections. Thank you to Leora Siegel, Senior Director of the Lenhardt Library for hosting us!

    Didn't make it to this event? Don't worry - there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of dates, times, and locations. Coming soon:




  • 01 May 2017 8:17 PM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

    Many of Chicago’s cultural institutions have used grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to preserve, promote, and provide access to their collections. In response to the proposed elimination of funding for these federal agencies, CAA asked members to submit stories highlighting the projects that their institutions have undertaken with support from the NEH, NEA, and IMLS. As of Monday, May 1, the newly proposed budget would not cut funding to these organizations, and in fact would slightly increase these budgets. This will be need to be officially approved by lawmakers on May 5th. We will continue to post these stories in the hopes that they will inspire a dialog among Chicagoans about how we can continue to advocate for and protect our cultural heritage.

    Today’s submission is from the Chicago Film Archives (CFA), who has depended upon the NEH and NEA funding for operational and special arts and preservation projects throughout its 13-year existence.

    Each year CFA applies to the NEH for a $6,000 small preservation grant. All of CFA's archival shelving has been funded by this grant. NEH has also funded Operational Consultants for the organization. These grants have allowed CFA to operationally strengthen and grow over the past decade.

    CFA has also gotten grants from the NEA to process, stabilize, digitize, describe and stream online the entire Ruth Page Collection, which consists of nearly 1,000 films. Currently, several hundred of those films are streaming from the Ruth Page Finding Aid on the CFA website. This site is used for dance reference on a routine basis by scholars, historians and dancers.

    The NEA also funded a retrospective on the late Howard Alk, a filmmaker and editor who directed the documentaries JANIS and MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON.  Even to date, Alk is relatively unknown, in spite of these accomplishments.

    To learn more about the Ruth Page Collection, please visit bit.ly/2n7qpwV.

    To learn more about the 2009 retrospective Howard Alk: A Life on the Edge, please visit bit.ly/2nRYQI3.

    Image: "Bolero" (1928) [Ruth Page Collection]

    Do you have a story about your federally funded project and its significance to your community? Submit your stories to info@chicagoarchivists.org.

  • 24 Apr 2017 9:31 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

    Many of Chicago’s cultural institutions have used grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to preserve, promote, and provide access to their collections. In response to the proposed elimination of funding for these federal agencies, CAA asked members to submit stories highlighting the projects that their institutions have undertaken with support from the NEH, NEA, and IMLS. We hope these stories will inspire a dialog among Chicagoans about how we can advocate for and better protect our cultural heritage.


    Today’s story comes to us from the Chicago History Museum, who received IMLS funding in 2016 to digitize and upgrade the storage of its historically significant yet rapidly deteriorating cellulose nitrate negatives. Expected to conclude in 2018, the project’s goals are to implement urgently needed steps to arrest the degradation of the Museum’s nitrate holdings while also improving CHM’s overall physical, intellectual, and administrative control over these materials.


    Containing over 35,000 negatives in more than 70 individual collections, CHM’s nitrate holdings document Chicago and its neighboring communities, as well as select people, places, and moments in American history, from the 1890s through the 1950s. These materials help us connect with the history of Chicago’s steel and railroad industries, social service agencies, and built environment; the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and 1933-34 A Century of Progress International Exposition; Chicago neighborhoods including Pilsen, Lincoln Park, the Loop, and the Near West Side including Maxwell Street; the 1919 Chicago Race Riot and Republic Steel Strike of 1937; and a broad range of other newsworthy topics, people, and events represented in the Chicago Daily News photographic archive. The vast majority of these materials do not exist in any other format.


    The project is the third and final phase of a multiyear effort to identify and address the challenges posed by CHM’s nitrate holdings. Project activities have included digitizing the negatives to reduce the potential of damage due to handling; making the digital surrogates available for use; enhancing information in electronic records to improve access; and upgrading the storage environment to achieve preservation conditions. IMLS funds have been used to purchase the equipment necessary for rapid capture digitization and the freezer storage required to house the original negatives and arrest film base deterioration.


    Through the support of the IMLS grant, the project will ultimately result in:


    • Nearly 28,000 new digital files with embedded administrative and descriptive metadata

    • Approximately 376 enhanced catalog records will be available in ARCHIE, CHM's online public access catalog, and the corresponding digital images will be accessible in CHM's Collections Online portal.

    • Over 35,000 nitrate negatives packaged and transferred into long-term preservation storage in safe laboratory-grade freezers.






    Image Credits (Left to right, top to bottom): 1) Conservation Lab, Chicago History Museum. © Chicago Historical Society; 2) The World's Columbian Exposition dedication, 1892. Copyright Notice: No known copyright restrictions; 3) National Sewing Machine Company, circa 1923-1936. Copyright Notice: No known copyright restrictions; 4) Near North Side general views, Chicago, Illinois, 1932. © Chicago Historical Society; 5) Nitrate Storage, Chicago History Museum. © Chicago Historical Society; 6) Construction, Wrigley Building, Chicago, Illinois, 1888-1950. © Chicago Historical Society.


    Do you have a story about your federally funded project and its significance to your community? Submit your stories to info@chicagoarchivists.org.

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