Charlotte Adelman papers, 1968-1995, bulk 1980-1990
- TitleDescriptive inventory for the Charlotte Adelman papers, 1968-1995, bulk 1980-1990
- PublisherChicago Historical Society
- RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
- OriginationCharlotte Adelman
- Physical Description12.5 linear feet (26 boxes)
- LocationMSS Lot A
Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.
Charlotte Adelman papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.
The collection contains correspondence, legislative reports, meeting minutes, directories, press releases, announcements, speech transcripts, scrapbooks (1982-1988), and some photographs from Charlotte Adelman’s career as a lawyer, her work with the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and her service as a member of the Special Commission of Justice in Cook County (1984-1988). Also includes materials related to Adelman’s involvement with women’s rights issues and nature conservancy organizations, including the Evanston North Shore Bird Club.
Born in Illinois in 1937, Charlotte Adelman was a practicing attorney in the Chicagoland area from 1963 through the 1990s. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1959 and was one of only four women to graduate with a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1962. When she graduated from law school many firms would not hire women and she was continuously rejected for legal positions. Her personal experience with sex discrimination in employment led her to open her own law office where she focused on women’s legal issues. Adelman acted as legal counsel for the National Organization of Women (NOW) and was involved in many cases (as well as lobbying efforts) related to prostitution, child support collection, and sex discrimination. She was a member of the Chicago Bar Association and was heavily involved with the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI). She is a former president of the WBAI (1984-1985) and has served as the WBAI historian/archivist since 1984. In 1992 she published a book on the history of the WBAI up to its 75th anniversary entitled "WBAI-75: The First 75 Years". She has been active in nature conservancy efforts in and around Chicago, serving terms on the board of the Evanston North Shore Bird Club as Conservation Chairman (1981-1982) and Recording Secretary (1982-1983).
Adelman was appointed by the Hon. Harry G. Comerford to the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County (CAJCC) which was formed to conduct a wide ranging study of the Circuit Court of Cook County in its entirety and to recommend changes to inform the Court. The Commission was established on August 2, 1984 and published its final report in September of 1988. Chaired by Jerold S. Solony, there were forty-three members of the Commission, consisting primarily of lawyers, some professors, judges, and businessmen. The members were divided into eleven task forces, each of which was responsible for examining various aspects of the court system: Adult Probation Department; Chancery Division; Court Administration; Domestic Relations; Felony Courts; Judicial Conduct; Judicial Selection; Law Division of the Circuit Court; Misdemeanor/Preliminary Hearing Court; Ethics, Discipline, Education; Traffic Court.
Related materials at the Chicago History Museum, Research Center include the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois records and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois visual materials (accession num: 1989.0481); the Mary Heftel Hooton papers and the Mary Heftel Hooton visual materials (acc. num:1994.0139); materials on the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County; and publications by and about the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, cataloged separately.
Container list of boxes 1-9 was created in 2009; descriptive inventory was later completed by Sarah Levine in 2016.
- Circuit courts -- Illinois -- Cook County -- 20th century
- Judges -- Illinois -- Cook County -- 20th century
- Justice, Administration of -- Illinois -- Cook County -- 20th century
- Lawyers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Women lawyers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Women lawyers -- Illinois -- Societies and clubs
- Adelman, Charlotte, 1937- -- Archives
- Illinois. Circuit Court (Cook County)
- Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County
- Women's Bar Association of Illinois
- Cook County Bar Association (Ill.)
- Chicago (Ill.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century
- Illinois -- Politics and government -- 20th century
The collection is arranged in three series.
Series 1: Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County, 1980-1990 (box 1-10)
This series consists of articles, newspaper clippings, correspondence, legal code/statute documents, reports, files on circuit court judges, minutes and meeting announcements, speech transcriptions, and documents related to the distinct task forces within the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County.
Series 2: Subject files, 1968-1995 (box 10-15)
This series consists of materials related to Adelman’s personal interests and her involvement in professional associations. Subjects include Bar associations, nature groups and conservation work, politics, and women's rights issues. Materials include correspondence, reference documents, meeting minutes, membership directories, newsletters and other published material.
Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1982-1988 (box 16-26)
This series consists of the contents of scrapbooks which held newspaper clippings, correspondence, speech transcriptions, press releases, reports, and some photographs related to Adelman’s legal career and personal interests.