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Daley Family Collections: Richard J. Daley Collection

A guide to the Daley Family collections at UIC Special Collections and University Archives

Finding aids for the Richard J. Daley collection

Finding aids are inventory lists of what is in the collection. Their purpose is to help researchers narrow down which boxes and folders they would like to see.

Richard J. Daley Collection in-depth explanation of series and subseries

The Richard J. Daley Collection contains materials documenting the political career and personal life of Richard J. Daley, 39th Mayor of Chicago. The collection contains a wide variety of formats including documents, publications, ephemera, memorabilia, artifacts, and photographs dating from 1870-2010. The bulk of the collection dates from Daley’s terms as mayor of the city of Chicago and Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party (1953-1976) but material from his family life, his earlier political positions as State Senator, State Representative, Director of Revenue, and Cook County Clerk are included. The majority of the material came from the mayoral office in City Hall, the offices of the Cook County Democratic Party, and the Daley home. Other material was collected by his wife, Eleanor, after his death in 1976. A small amount of material was also received by the family from political colleagues and friends and added to the collection before donation. Due to considerable overlapping between series, the researcher should consult multiple series.

The collection is divided into six series: Political Office Series, Democratic Party Series, Personal Series, Audio/Visual Materials Series, Publications Series, and Honors, Awards, Commemorative Items, and Gifts Series. Some series have additional sub-series.

Series I: Political Office Files

The Political Office series contains material related to Richard J. Daley’s career in public office and contains several sub-series.

Series I, subseries 1: Political Office Papers

This subseries contains primarily office files from Richard J. Daley’s mayoral office. The subseries also includes a smaller amount of material pertaining to Daley’s career as Cook County Deputy County Treasurer, Illinois State Representative, Illinois State Senator, Illinois Director of Revenue, and Cook County Clerk. The material was received by the library arranged by chronological year and the original order of the yearly files and their folder titles have been retained whenever possible. Materials in this subseries consist primarily of correspondence from politicians, local constituents, and others and carbon copies of responses by Daley. The subseries also contains reports, speeches, budget statements, meeting minutes, press releases, memos, newspaper clippings, and other formats of material related to Daley’s activities and the issues with which his office dealt.

Series I, subseries 2: Political Personalities Papers

This subseries contains correspondence from and to prominent national and international politicians and dignitaries as well as correspondence with celebrities. The majority of this material was removed from other series prior to donation to the library. This separation has been retained. A small amount of ephemera is included in cases where it was originally found with the correspondence. Prominent figures included in this series include Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, members of the Kennedy family including Joseph, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, NASA astronauts, and others. Invitations and programs for several White House events are also included.

Series I, subseries 3: the Colonel ‘Jack’ Reilly Papers

This subseries contains a small collection of files from the office of Colonel Jacob Reilly, Director of Special Events for the City of Chicago (1955-1977). This subseries contains materials related to the planning of special events such as inauguration ceremonies, presidential visits, parades for visiting astronauts, and the visit of the Beatles to Chicago in 1964. The files arrived arranged alphabetically and cover the years from 1957-1977. Significant gaps in years and in completeness within each year are evident.

Series I, subseries 4: Political Office Ephemera and Memorabilia

This subseries contains miscellaneous items such as pamphlets, programs, membership cards, tickets, ribbons and buttons, and other memorabilia that relate to Daley’s career in public office or to city events. These items are arranged chronologically. The materials date from 1919-1976, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1940s-1970s.

Series I, subseries 5: Political Office Artifacts

This subseries contains items believed to have been housed in the mayor’s office in City Hall. They include desk furnishings and gifts and other items displayed in the office. Most items are undated, although many of the gifts carry dates on commemorative labels. They are believed to have been displayed or used from 1955-1976.

Series II: Democratic Party Files

This series contains materials related to Richard J. Daley’s activities as a member of the Democratic Party and particularly as Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee. It contains two subseries.

Series II, subseries 1: Democratic Party Office Papers

This subseries contains documents believed to be used in the Cook County Democratic Party headquarters. These papers were received arranged chronologically by year and alphabetically within each year. The subseries mainly consists of correspondence from other politicians and from local constituents to the mayor and carbon copies of his responses. A substantial amount of the correspondence relates to recommendations for political office positions. A large amount of material also pertains to political campaigns, primarily of Richard J. Daley but also for other Democratic candidates, and elections. The materials cover the period 1938-1976, with the bulk of the subseries from 1953-1976.

Series II, subseries 2: Democratic Office Ephemera and Memorabilia

This subseries contains primarily campaign ephemera and memorabilia that were received separately from the Papers subseries. They pertain to Richard J. Daley’s campaigns for office but also include other local and national campaigns. The subseries also includes materials from the National Democratic Party and its conventions, including the 1956 convention held in Chicago. Materials include posters, buttons, ribbons, flyers, vote tallies, song lyrics, poems, Party event programs, invitations, newspaper endorsements and clippings, and other materials related to Daley’s activities with the Democratic Party. The materials date from 1923-1976, with the bulk of materials dating from 1955-1976.

Series III: Personal Papers

The Personal Papers series contains material relating to the Daley and Guillfoyle families, the education of Richard J. Daley, his marriage to Eleanor Daley and his seven children, and memorial material relating to Richard J. and Eleanor’s death.

Series III, subseries 1: Personal Ephemera and Memorabilia

This subseries contains birth, baptismal, marriage, and death certificates for various family members, Richard J. Daley’s school records and diplomas, honorary degrees, a small amount of Richard M. Daley campaign material, and a large collection of memorial materials relating to Richard J. Daley’s death. The materials date from 1870-2010 and are arranged topically.

Series III, subseries 2: Personal Library

This subseries contains books owned by Richard J. Daley and stored in his office and home. Many are inscribed gifts from authors or political figures. Autographs includes those from John F. Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson, and others.

Series III, subseries 3: Personal Artifacts

This subseries contains a small amount of personal items owned by Richard J. Daley, items from his home desk, license plates, and several stuffed fish caught by Daley.

Series IV: Audio/Visual Materials

This series contains photographs and assorted films and audio tapes.

Series IV, subseries 1: Photographs

This subseries consists of over 6,000 images. It is made up primarily of black and white 8x10 inch photographic prints that document the political career of Richard J. Daley. There are also a small number of negatives, slides, and oversized photographic prints in the collection. The photographs range in date from the 1880s to the 2000s, with the bulk of them from 1955-1976. The series is arranged chronologically from earliest to latest dates, followed by undated items, portraits of Richard J. Daley arranged chronologically, and then finally oversized items arranged alphabetically by subject.

Subjects covered in the photographs series include the Daley and Guilfoyle family, the political career of Richard J. Daley from Illinois legislator, to Director of Revenue, to Cook County Clerk, and finally to Mayor of Chicago. Post-death photographs include Richard J. Daley memorial events, such as the Chagall America Windows dedication in 1977, the Richard J. Daley memorial statue dedication in Springfield, Illinois in 1981, and the dedication of the Richard J. Daley branch of the Chicago Public Library in 1989. The post-death photographs also include activities of Eleanor Daley’s such as her visits with Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Bill Clinton. Also included are a few photographs from Richard J. Daley’s son Richard M. Daley’s mayoral inauguration in 1989.

Notable personalities found in the photographs series include: Richard M. Daley, Adlai Stevenson II, Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, various Popes, Harry S. Truman, Frank Sinatra, Dwight Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth II, Eleanor Roosevelt, various astronauts, Jack Benny, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson, Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, various Irish politicians, Cardinal John Cody, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Henry Kissinger, Walter Mondale, Ariel Sharon, John Wayne, Paul Douglas, Neil Hartigan, Marc Chagall, Gerald Ford, Hirohito, Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, Imelda Marcos, and Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, Yitzhak Rabin, and Bill Clinton.

Series IV, subseries 2: Media

This subseries contains films, VHS tapes, DVDs, and audiotapes that document campaigns and city events and issues. The materials date from 1950-1989. Some of these media have DVD or CD use copies available for viewing/listening in the Daley Library. Contact the Special Collections Department for more information.

Series V: Publications

The Publications series contains magazine and newspaper articles about Richard J. Daley, the Democratic Party, and other politicians and city issues. The series also contains pamphlets and brochures about city events and some published proceedings of the City Council. The material is arranged topically and loose, unfoldered newspaper clippings are unavailable for research until further processing is completed.

Series VI: Honors, Awards, Commemorative Items, and Gifts

This series contains the numerous awards, commendations, and honors that Mayor Richard J. Daley received from a variety of business and civic organizations during his many years in public office. Commemorative memorabilia came from government agencies and private organizations. Mayor Daley also received gifts, primarily artwork, from both private groups and individual Chicago citizens. The series contain plaques, certificates, trophies, sculptures, paintings, drawings, medallions and paperweights.

This series is divided into four subseries:

Subseries 1: Honors, Awards, Commemorative Items, and Gifts – boxed

Subseries 2: Honors, Awards, Commemorative Items, and Gifts – Paper

Subseries 3: Honors, Awards, Commemorative Items, and Gifts -- Oversize plaques

Subseries 4: Trophies, Gifts, Awards – Oversize Individual Artifacts

Item-level descriptions

For a more detailed view of the collection, please use the Richard J. Daley collection item level list. Researchers can access that spreadsheet by using the UIC Special Collections and University Archives SKCA/CuadraStar search tool. (See Guide to using SKCA/CuadraStar.) You can also Ask a Librarian for help accessing the spreadsheet.

UIC Special Collections and University Archives is committed to improving the accuracy and ease of use of this spreadsheet. If you notice any errors, please feel free to Ask a Librarian to let us know.

Audio and Film in the Richard J. Daley Collection

Series 4, subseries 2 of the Richard J. Daley collection houses approximately 600 audio and video materials. Some of those materials may be available for viewing or listening onsite in the special collections reading room, but please contact special collections and university archives to verify availability.

Researchers can access a spreadsheet that lists the audio and video materials by using the UIC Special Collections and University Archives SKCA/CuadraStar search tool. (See Guide to using SKCA/CuadraStar.) You can also Ask a Librarian for help accessing the spreadsheet.

Quick tips

  • Series 1 concerns mostly with Richard J. Daley's official duties as mayor. It contains some records from when he held other offices before 1955.
  • Series 2 concerns the history of the Cook County Democratic Party, of which Richard J. Daley was the chairman.
  • For topics that deal with Chicago history, Series 1: Political Office Papers and Series 2: Democratic Party Papers are the series most likely to have the documents you are looking for.
  • For city events and other elements of public life, Series 1 is most likely to have the documents you are looking for.
  • All photographs are found in Series 4, subseries 1.
  • Most artifacts (that is, human-made objects that aren't documents or media) can be found in Series 6. However, Series 1, 2 and 3 also contain artifacts.
  • The finding aid for Series 1 and Series 2 each has its own link. Series 3, 4, 5 and 6 are all found at the same link.
  • Box numbers are long and can be confusing, but they contain the information we need in order to page the materials. So please note them carefully.
  • The item-level description works best if you are looking for the name of a specific person. For most other uses, the folder-level finding aid (inventory) descriptions will probably work better.

Daley family project archivist

Profile Photo
Dan Harper
Richard J. Daley Library
University of Illinois at Chicago
MC 234
801 S. Morgan St. 3-330
Chicago, IL 60607