• Identification00145811
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Chicago Housing Authority development records, 1948-1992
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • Language
    • English.
    • English
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationChicago Housing Authority Chicago Dwelling Association United States Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Chicago Housing Authority times
  • Date1948-1992
  • Physical Description16 linear ft. (39 boxes)
  • LocationMSS Lot C

Processed with funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Boxes 31-33 are closed until 2075.

All rights owned by the donor, including copyright, were deeded to Chicago Historical Society. Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Gift of the Chicago Housing Authority (accession #: 2003.0052.1).

Chicago Housing Authority development records (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Correspondence, legal documents, financial records, research files, newsletters, press releases, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, maps, transcripts of speeches, and other records of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Most of the materials relate to CHA's city development plans for the placement of public housing, including ordinances, easements, urban renewal studies, and issues in administering the agency. Also present are materials on activities by and for tenants; complaint files; and files concerning civil rights, affirmative action, and the 1966 racial discrimination lawsuit against CHA filed by Dorothy Gautreaux and other tenants.

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is a municipal corporation established in 1937 to administer public housing in Chicago. Over the years, CHA built many public housing projects, mostly on the South Side of Chicago and primarily serving low-income families although some projects were built in other neighborhoods and planned for other demographic groups. Some of the most prominent projects were the Cabrini-Green Homes (begun in 1942), the ABLA complex (begun in 1943), the Stateway Gardens Homes (begun in 1955), and Robert Taylor Homes (begun in 1962). ABLA included the Jane Addams Homes, the Robert Brooks Homes (including the Robert Brooks Extension), Loomis Courts, and the Grace Abbott Homes. Over the years, the majority of CHA residents were African American, and the selection of sites for public housing often involved controversy. CHA was accused of racial discrimination and segregation and was brought to court in 1966 in a lawsuit filed by Dorothy Gautreaux and other tenants. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took control of CHA, and its supervision lasted until 2000, when Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City of Chicago regained authority over CHA and began housing renovations and redesigns.

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include "Scrapbooks of newspapers clippings pertaining to the activities of the Chicago Housing Authority, 1957-1967"; and other materials cataloged separately, such as photographs; publications by CHA; and publications about CHA.

  • Names
    • Chicago Housing Authority--Archives
    • Gautreaux, Dorothy--Trials, litigation, etc
    • American Arbitration Association
    • Chicago Boys and Girls Club
    • Chicago Dwelling Association
    • Chicago Housing Authority--Management
  • Subject
    • African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • City planning--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Civil rights--Illinois--Chicago
    • Construction industry--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Discrimination in housing--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area
    • Hispanic Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Low-income housing--Illinois--Chicago
    • Public housing--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Urban renewal--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Economic conditions--20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--20th century
    • Hyde Park (Chicago, Ill.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    • Kenwood (Chicago, Ill.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    • Lincoln Park (Chicago, Ill. : Community area)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    • Near South Side (Chicago, Ill.)

The collection is arranged nine series.

Series 1. Ordinances and zoning materials, 1949-1992 (box 1-3)

Series 1 consists of correspondence, ordinances and easements, city council meeting minutes, claim deeds, traffic summons, and other documents regarding Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Topics include housing, facility repairs, ordinances and zoning, development, and relocation housing projects for the elderly.

Series 2. City plans and urban renewal materials, 1949-1961, 1992 (box 4-10)

Series 2 contains correspondence, maps, plans, administrative files, and other documents regarding city planning, urban renewal, and land clearance. Included are renewal plans and maps for Lincoln Park, 68 South Dearborn in the Loop, and Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhoods, which detail new housing developments. Also present is a Northwestern University Metropolitan Survey which assesses CHA renewal areas (1963-1966) and materials from the 1992 Public Housing Management Assessment Program (PHMAP) for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Series 3. Financial records, 1960-1991 (box 11-16)

Series 3 consists of correspondence, audit reports, bids, rehabilitation and loan agreements, and other financial records of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Financial institutions evident in the materials include the Continental Illinois National Bank (1960-1985), Cole Taylor Bank (1990-1991), and the LaSalle National Bank of Chicago (1960-1990). Also present are materials regarding collection agencies.

Series 4. Correspondence and speeches, 1955-1991 (17-20)

Series 4 contains correspondence to and from the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) regarding a variety of administrative issues such as complaints from public housing residents. Also present are speech transcripts from CHA meetings and project ground-breakings.

Series 5. Chicago Dwelling Association (CDA) materials, 1948-1961 (box 21)

Series 5 contains correspondence, resolutions and bylaws, meeting minutes, and other files relating to the Chicago Dwelling Association (CDA), a branch of CHA that often worked with middle-income families.

Series 6. Administrative files, 1953-1991 (box 22-28)

Series 6 consists of historical records, legal files, policies and procedures, newsletters, and other administrative records of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Publications include annual reports and Chicago Housing Authority Times (also known as CHAT), the CHA monthly newsletter. Legal files consist of materials regarding the 1966 Gautreaux v. CHA lawsuit on racial discrimination, as well as other legal suits. Also included are materials concerning the American Arbitration Association (AAA), which acted as a mediator between public housing residents and CHA. A resident handbook outlining acceptable behavior for public housing residents is also present.

Series 7. City boards and clubs materials, 1955-1983 (box 28-30)

Series 7 contains correspondence, plans, proposals, and other materials regarding Chicago boards and clubs that worked with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), including the Board of Health, Board of Education, the Chicago Boys and Girls Club, religious organizations, park districts, and gym clubs. Also present are correspondence, citations, and proposals regarding to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Series 8. Human Resources Dept. files, 1954-1990 (box 30-33) [boxes 31-33 CLOSED until 2075.]

Series 8 contains incident reports, correspondence, citations, and other administrative files of the Human Resources Department of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). Materials relate to crime, arson, riots, affirmative action, racial integration, and civil rights. Boxes 31-33 are closed until 2075.

Series 9. Development program materials, 1964-1989 (box 34-39)

Series 9 includes contracts, maps, neighborhood reports, construction specifications, proposed budgets, and other materials for the building of mostly scattered site CHA projects throughout Chicago. CHA created and assembled these materials to submit to HUD for approval and eventual funding. Also includes some engineering reports that detail some repairs to CHA buildings.