• Identification00066991
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Sidney R. Yates Papers, ca. 1931-1999
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • Language
    • English.
    • English
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationSidney R. Yates
  • Date
    • 1931-1999
    • 1948-1999
  • Physical Description
    • 262 linear feet (522 boxes)
    • 2 oversize folders
    • 27 scrapbooks
    • 985 color and black and white photographs (7 boxes)
    • 8 audio reels (6 boxes)
    • 9 cassette tapes (2 boxes)
    • 4 VHS tapes (1 box)
    • 1 45 RPM vinyl record (1 box)
  • Location
    • MSS Lot Y
    • 0MM.236
    • PCP-270

Advance appointment required to view photographic and audio material in cold and cool storage. For listening and viewing purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have an access copy made if one is not available); please email research@chicagohistory.org.

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Materials were a gift of Sidney R. Yates (accession #: 1998.0174).

Sidney R. Yates papers (Chicago History Museum), plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

This collection documents the Congressional career of Sidney Yates (D-Illinois), who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1963 and 1965 to 1999. The materials are primarily textual and consist of correspondence, speeches, reports, publications, clippings, notes, bills, and legislative drafts. Other formats include photographs, campaign materials, and audio and video recordings.

The materials reflect the daily business of Yates’ Congressional office including his work with the Appropriations Committee (1956-1998), Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies (1965-1998, and served as Chairman 1975-1995), Select Committee on Small Business (1955-1962), Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations (1995-1999), and Committee on Judiciary (1996-1997).

Significant topics represented in the collection include aging (1952-1995); the arts and humanities (1965-1998); environmental issues such as water diversion (1948-1974), Indiana Dunes (1959-1980), and air and water pollution; the nuclear-powered navy and Admiral Hyman Rickover (1950-1987); supersonic transportation (1964-1978); and Jewish topics such as Israel, Soviet Jewry, the Holocaust Memorial Council, Remembrance Day, and speeches to a number of Jewish organizations and congregations.

Significant gaps in the collection occur in materials from the 1980s and, due to Yates’ appointment as a United States Representative to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, there are few materials from 1963-1964.

Sidney Richard Yates (August 27, 1909 – October 5, 2000) was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Lake View High School and University of Chicago, earning degrees in philosophy and law. Prior to his political career, Yates practiced law and served in the U.S. Navy (1944-1946). Representing the Illinois 9th Congressional District as a Democrat, Yates was elected to the Eighty-first Congress (January 3, 1949) and served in the House of Representatives for the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1963). In 1962, Yates did not seek reelection to the House of Representatives, instead unsuccessfully running for the Senate against Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. President Kennedy appointed Yates as a United States Representative to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, for which he served as Ambassador (1963-1964). Yates returned to his former seat in the House of Representatives, where he served for 17 Congresses (January 3, 1965-January 3, 1999), eventually becoming Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies (1975-1994), centering much of his legislative activities on environmental issues and the arts. He did not run for reelection in 1998.

Related collections at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Lois Weisberg papers, the Bernard Weisberg papers, and the Uptown Chicago Commission records. The Jack R. Oppenheim photograph collection includes one photograph of President John F. Kennedy, Rep. Sidney Yates, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in a car at a parade in October 1962.

Processed with funding provided by the Gabriella and Paul Rosenbaum Foundation and with the support of George Van Dusen and Michael Dorf.

  • Names
    • Yates, Sidney Richard, 1909-2000 -- Archives
    • National Endowment for the Arts
    • National Endowment for the Humanities
    • United States. Congress. House
    • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations
    • United States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • Subject
    • Animal welfare
    • Election districts -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 9th Congressional District (Ill.)
    • Election districts -- United States -- 9th Congressional District (Ill.)
    • Jews -- Persecutions -- Soviet Union
    • Legislators -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 20th century
    • Legislators -- United States -- 20th Century
    • Nuclear submarines
    • Politicians -- Illinois -- Chicago Metropolitan Area -- 20th century
    • Supersonic planes
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
    • Evanston (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
    • United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century

The collection is arranged in nine series.

Series 1. Legislation, 1949-1998 (Boxes 11, 13-18, 32-35, 41-43, 49-51, 57-59, 70, 78-103, 133, 137-139, 148-158, 170-211, 220-225, 237-245, 285-289, 311-321, 325-340, 362-400, 430-431, 434, 447, 456-501, 504-505)

Series 1 is largely comprised of correspondence with Yates' constituents regarding various legislative matters. Accompanying and supporting materials such as clippings, publications, questionnaire responses, and bills are also included. The subject range is very broad and includes aging; appropriations; arts and humanities; civil rights; defense; environmental issues; foreign affairs; humane treatment of animals; immigration; the Middle East; postal service; railroads; Social Security; tax; House Un-American Activities Committee; and the Vietnam War. Also included in this series are the newsletters and questionnaires that Yates mailed to his constituents (1949-1997).

The series is arranged chronologically by year and, within each year, alphabetically by topic. During the 1990s, the filing logic changed. The chronological arrangement was retained but “top level” topical categories were established. These were arranged alphabetically with related subtopics grouped beneath. For example, “Foreign Operations” is followed by individual files for each country.

Series 2. General Legislation, 1956-1993 (Boxes 1-2, 12, 111, 134-136, 140-147, 159-169, 212-219, 226-236, 256-260, 272-283, 322-324, 401-429, 506)

Series 2 is comprised of correspondence with Yates' constituents and is arranged chronologically by year and, within each year, alphabetically by author. However, also included are some topical designations that can be found in Series 1 such as Health, Education and Welfare, Soviet Jewry, and lake diversion, in addition to other topical headings including requests for photographs and documents, letters of recommendation, thank you letters, and sympathy letters.

Series 3. Correspondence, 1958-1998 (Boxes 453-454)

Series 3 is comprised of correspondence that is both personal and professional in nature. A number of folders contain letters from United States Presidents including Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

Series 4. Bills, 1949-1999 (Boxes 3-6, 9-10, 47-48, 52-53, 71, 104-111, 507-517)

Series 4 is comprised of bills, acts, resolutions, voting records, congressional record statements, correspondence, notes, and reports. It focuses on bills introduced or sponsored by Yates on topics such as switchblade knives; Soviet Jewry; aging; environmental issues including water diversion, Indiana Dunes, and emissions standards; and various immigration cases. The materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Series 5. Committees, 1955-1998 (Boxes 7-8, 112-118, 290-295, 308-310, 350-361, 442-443, 449, 502-503)

Series 5 is comprised of correspondence, reports, publications, hearings, statements, bills, resolutions, memos, and press releases relating to Yates’ involvement Congressional committees including the Select Committee on Small Business (1953-1963), Subcommittee on Interior (1975-1980, 1991-1998) and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations (1995-1998). This series is arranged by committee.

Series 6. Topical, 1946-1998 (Boxes 19-31, 36-40, 45-46, 60-62, 66-69, 119-132, 261-271, 296-307, 342-347, 432-433, 444-445, 448)

Series 6 is comprised of reports, hearings, publications, articles, notes, correspondence, pamphlets, press releases, and research files pertaining to specific topics which include supersonic transportation; water diversion; Admiral Hyman G. Rickover; Federal Power Commission; natural gas; aluminum industry (1955-1957); Quartermaster Food and Container Institute (1960-1966); Naval Selection Boards (1955); United States Postal Service (1970-1997); United States Holocaust Memorial Council and Day of Remembrance (1979-1997); National Endowment for the Arts; the impeachment of President Richard Nixon; radiation in U.S. territories (1979-1982); Bailly Nuclear Plant (1976-1981); House Un-American Activities Committee (1964-1967); Subversive Activities Control Board (1971-1973); and Soviet Jewry. This series is arranged by topic.

Series 7. Speeches, 1949-1998 (Boxes 44,54-56, 111, 246-255, 284, 341, 435-441, 519-521)

Series 7 is comprised of speeches Yates made along with accompanying edited drafts, notes, correspondence, ephemera (such as event programs) and audio recordings. His audiences included organizations such as the Women’s National Democratic Club; Japanese American Citizen League; Independent Voters of Illinois; and various Jewish congregations and organizations including the North Shore Congregation Israel; Sisterhood of Ashe Emet; B’nai B’rith; Combined Jewish Appeal; and the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. Topics include aging; anti-ballistic missile systems; civil liberties; civil rights; communism; House Un-American Activities Committee; Indiana Dunes; the Middle East; Soviet Jewry; supersonic transportation; and the United Nations. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 8. Personal materials, 1948-1998 (Boxes 63-65, 170, 348-349, 446, 450-452, 455, 522, Oversize File 1-2, Scrapbooks 1-27)

Series 8 is comprised of scrapbooks, books, invitations, event programs, passports, honorary degrees, certificates, schedule books, guest books and campaign materials.

Series 9. Photographs, circa 1930-1999 and undated (Boxes 72-77, 518)

Series 9 is comprised of color photographs, black and white photographs, slides, and negatives. Included are pictures from Yates' various political campaigns, including his run for senate; playing college basketball at the University of Chicago; Yates with various members of the House of Representatives; Yates with U.S. Presidents including Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton; portraits from throughout his Congressional career; Yates at Congressional hearings and meetings; Yates at various events and ceremonies, including being awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal; and Yates with international figures such as King Juan Carlos of Spain, and Moshe Dayan.