The University of Illinois at Chicago Library (UIC), in connection with the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), has received a $194,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development and implementation of the Chicago Portal. The grant was awarded to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on behalf of the Library, which is leading the project with CCC.
The fifteen-month grant will fund the development of CCC’s major first initiative, a freely accessible, online portal to materials documenting the rich history of Chicago. The portal paves the way for CCC to fulfill its vision of connecting and preserving Chicago-focused collections, and increasing public and scholarly interest in and study of the Chicago region’s diverse history and culture.
Mary M. Case, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at UIC, and Chair of the CCC Board of Directors, commented, “The portal will use the power of technology and the research expertise of librarians and archivists to put information about diaries, photographs, letters, and other original materials from those who shaped Chicago’s history into our hands. We are very grateful to The Mellon Foundation for making it possible for us to tangibly connect the past and present and, in this way, promote scholarship and learning.”
CCC members already collaborate to connect researchers with materials. A few recent examples are these:
- A professor from Princeton was looking for an image of Charles Percy in the 1966 midterm campaigns for a book he is finishing on the Great Society. CCC enabled him to retrieve an image in just 24 hours.
- A member of the public traveled to the Chicago area from Ohio to conduct research for a biography he is writing on family member Katherine Whitney Curtis, the originator of synchronized swimming. CCC helped him schedule a visit to the local institution that holds Curtis’ papers.
- Cook County, IL is inventorying their historical archives and sought CCC assistance in identifying an institution for consultation on collection development, preservation, access, and education. UIC library staff provided advice and referral to the Illinois State Archives.
Using the technology of the Chicago Portal, researchers worldwide will discover historical resources even more quickly and easily. Jaclyn Grahl, Executive Director of the CCC, remarked, “The portal represents just the beginning of this terrific collaboration of Chicago institutions working together to provide first-rate programs and services that will benefit the public in exciting new ways.”
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. For more information about UIC, please visit www.uic.edu.
ABOUT THE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS CONSORTIUM
The CCC is a new nonprofit organization that preserves, presents, and promotes the history and culture of the Chicago region by coordinating and leveraging the collections, programs, and expertise of its member libraries, museums, and other institutions with Chicago-focused archival materials. By promoting cooperation and collaboration across Chicago’s cultural heritage community, CCC aims to develop a robust offering of collaborative programs highlighting the unique collections that document both the history and contemporary concerns of one of North America’s largest and most complex urban communities. With the Chicago Portal as its cornerstone initiative, future projects such as citywide online and physical exhibits, neighborhood guides, curricular materials, and educational programs will be developed.
Founding members of the CCC include: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Public Library, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, The Newberry Library, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, The University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago.