• IdentificationMSMBar92
  • TitleMary Bartelme papers MSMBar92
  • PublisherRichard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
  • LanguageEnglish
  • RepositoryRichard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
  • Physical Description7.5 Linear feet
  • Date1904-1958
  • AbstractPart of the Jane Addams Memorial Collection. Part of the Midwest Women's Historical Collection. Mary Bartelme (1865-1954) was the first woman Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County assigned to the Juvenile Court. She held that position from 1923 until her retirement in 1933. Prior to being elected a judge, Mary Bartelme worked in private practice as a probate and real estate lawyer. In 1897, she was appointed Public Guardian of Cook County. She was the first woman to hold that position. From 1913 to 1923 she was the assistant to Judge Merrit W. Pinckney of the Juvenile Court. The collection contains diaries, photographs, articles, speeches, clippings, correspondence, case records, minutes and obituaries. The materials pertain to election campaigns, the Mary Clubs, the St. Charles School for Boys, the Friends of the Juvenile Court, juvenile delinquents, Hull-House and the Bowen Country Club. Finding aid available.
  • OriginationBartleme, Mary

Old Resource ID was MBartleme

Mary Margaret Bartelme, the daughter of Balthasar and Jeannette T. (Hoff), was born on July 24, 1866 in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents owned farmland located on north Halsted Street. Bartelme, along with her two sisters and brother, attended the West Division High School and Cook County Normal School. At age 19 Bartelme graduated and began to teach at Armour Street and Garfield Park schools. She enrolled in law school at Northwestern University in 1892, graduating in probate and real estate law two years later. In 1894 she was admitted to the Illinois Bar.

Bartelme co-founded the Chicago Business Woman's Club in 1894 becoming president of the club in 1902. She also was a member and office holder of the Chicago Suffrage Club. Bartelme retained active membership in the Chicago Women's Club, the Cordon Club, the Women's City Club of Chicago, the League of Women Voters (after 1920), the Friendly Big Sisters League, and the Everyday Club. Bartelme accepted honorary memberships of the Chicago College Club and the Big Sisters.

Illinois Governor John R. Tanner appointed Bartelme to be Public Guardian of Cook County in 1897. She was the first woman to occupy this office, her tenure lasted 16 years. In 1899, Bartelme with Julia Lathrop, Lucy Flowers, the State Board of Charities, and other reformers she lobbied for and established the juvenile court in Chicago. That same year, with Louise deKoven Bowen and Sara Hart, Bartelme established a detention home instead of adult jail for juvenile offenders. Bartelme resigned from her position as public guardian in 1913 to become assistant judge to Judge Merritt W. Pinckney who presided over a growing number of juvenile court cases. In 1914, she established a "Mary Club" in her house as a place for girls to be supervised before their placement in foster care. In 1916 she created a second Mary Club for white girls and five years later she established a separate Mary Club for black girls. By 1923, over 2,600 girls passed through the houses. Elected judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1923, Bartelme was assigned to the Juvenile Court. She included social scientists in the hearing and sentencing portions of court proceedings. Bartelme believed the county should provide public services to juveniles and worked with the Juvenile Protective Association and the Chicago Park District to give juveniles an opportunity to experience city services. In 1925 she organized the Service Council for Girls. Though elected for a six-year term in 1927, the economic depression just two years later undermined public financial support for juvenile services. Bartelme retired in 1933 and moved to Carmel, California with her brother until her death on July 25, 1954.

The Mary M. Bartelme papers consists of material between the years 1890-1954. The collection consists of journals, correspondence, photographs, and articles. Correspondence includes letters between Bartelme and her family as well as communication with women's organizations and groups. Personal photographs depict Bartelme, her family, and friends vacationing in Africa, Europe, and the United States. Judicial correspondence includes memorandums circulated by the Cook County Juvenile Court, letters from former wards, and Bartelme's thoughts regarding the court. Records from her career as Public Guardian of Cook County and her subsequent retirement to Carmel, California are also included.

This collection is arranged into two series:

Series 1. Personal Papers (1890-1954) - 72 files

Series 2. Judicial Papers (1913-1946) - 82 files

Schultz, Rima Lunin and Adele Haste, eds. Women Building Chicago 1790-1950.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. 66-70.

The Mary M. Bartelme papers were donated to the University of Illinois at Chicago, Main Library, Special Collections, as two distinct collections in 1992 and 1994 from the Bartelme family and Barry Cassidy Rare Books located in Sacramento, California. In 2003 the collections were combined and arranged into series reflecting Bartelme's personal life and judicial career. The series are arranged chronologically.

None beyond access restrictions

Mary Bartelme papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • NamesBartleme, Mary -- Archives
  • Subject
    • Chicago Political and Civic Life.
    • Hull-House and Settlement House History.
    • Juvenile justice, Administration of -- Illinois -- Cook County.
    • Midwest Women's History.