• IdentificationMSHPNC67
  • TitleHyde Park Neighborhood Club records MSHPNC67
  • PublisherSpecial Collections
  • LanguageEnglish
  • RepositorySpecial Collections
  • Physical Description111.5 Linear feet
  • Date1936-1985
  • AbstractThe Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC) was founded in 1909 as part of the settlement house movement, to serve neglected or abandoned youth in Chicago's south side neighborhood of Hyde Park. It was deliberately named "the Club" as a reaction to the exclusivity of private clubs of the time. Over the years it has redefined its mission to respond to community needs, expanding to provide programs and services to adults and senior citizens. The collection consists of correspondence, reports, published materials, case records, and photographs pertaining to the programs and administration of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, the Hyde Park neighborhood and other Chicago-area social service organizations.
  • OriginationHyde Park Neighborhood Club (Chicago, Ill.).

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club was founded in 1909 (or 1911, sources differ) by a group of women from the Hyde Park area. Like many settlement houses it moved a number of times over its lifespan. It was originally housed in the Monroe Building (later known as Kenwood Gardens) on Chicago's South Side. It soon moved to the Hyde Park YWCA, but quickly outgrew that space as well, resulting in the purchase of a building at 56th and Dorchester Ave. This building was torn down in 1948, and the club was temporarily hosted at the Hyde Park police station until May of 1951 when a new building was constructed at 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. In addition, the C.W. Hoff gymnasium was built during the 1950s as part of the HPNC.

The HPNC provided a number of services at its main building and at the nearby gymnasium. As of 1954, the main building housed "an activities room, shop, craft room, clubroom, gameroom, kitchen, office and boiler room," and was used for "dancing, cooking, arts and crafts, woodworking and a kindergarten" (Chicago Sunday Tribune, 3 January 1954, Section 3, p. 1). The gymnasium was used primarily for sports, including volleyball, basketball and roller skating.

One of the most interesting features of the HPNC was its Craftmobile. A mobile craft shop, the Craftmobile visited summer camps and play lots beginning in the early 1960s throughout Hyde Park in order to provide children with craft materials and instructors to lead them in arts and crafts activities. The types of craft projects included painting, mask making, and modeling clay.

While the HPNC's primary focus remained the same - "to offer wholesome recreation to restless youth" (Chicago Sunday Tribune, 10 January 1960, Section 3, p. 1) - the various activities it sponsored changed over time. Originally, the HPNC provided recreational opportunities for neighborhood girls. During the Great Depression, it expanded to providing job placement services to out of work neighborhood residents and set up a soup kitchen as well. It was also during the Depression that the HPNC began to make use of nearby gyms to provide neighborhood kids with safe places to play. In 1942, a fire in the nearby Kenwood Gardens area led the HPNC to open their doors to the displaced residents, offering them food and a place to stay.

By the 1960s, the HPNC had dramatically expanded the range of services they were offering to Hyde Park residents. In addition to youth sports programs, the HPNC began to offer adult education classes, senior citizens programs, and "tot lot" programs for smaller children. And they continued to publish a newspaper, provide workshops, club rooms, social activities, youth counseling. They also ran a children's summer camp known as Camp Reinberg in Palatine, IL.

In 1962, the HPNC created its Study Center, which was the first study center in the city of Chicago for grade school students. There were two locations for the Study Center, the first at the Club itself and the second, the Kenwood Study Center, at the First Baptist Church at 935 E. 50th St. These study centers marked an expansion of the HPNC's educational role, which was further enlarged in 1969 with the start of the Club's Head Start program.

The HPNC continues to operate today, offering a variety of services to Hyde Park residents. In addition to its long standing commitment to providing neighborhood children with safe places to play, the HPNC runs a health clinic, a computer lab, and an Adult Day Center for local seniors.

Though the collection contains documents spanning from 1936 into the mid 1980s, the bulk of material comes from the 1960s and 1970s. The collection consists of correspondence, reports, published materials, case records, and photographs pertaining to the programs and administration of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, the Hyde Park neighborhood and other Chicago-area social service organizations.

The collection is divided into four series. Series I consists of Summer Day Camp and Head Start Program materials. Series II holds program files pertaining to the Summer Youth Employment, Tutoring, After School, and Adult Programs. Series III contains administrative files, including board of directors material, correspondence, financial, and personnel records. This series also entails organizational files and various reports. Series IV contains visual materials and mainly consists of photographs.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club records were initially deposited at the UIC Library in 1967. Additional supplements have been added to the collection in 1971, 1982, 1986, and 1989.

Patrons cannot access closed files. Patrons wishing to view restricted files must first fill out and sign a confidentiality agreement. In addition, patrons may not obtain photocopies of any records containing personnel materials.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club Records contain restricted and closed files. Patrons cannot access closed files. Patrons wishing to view restricted files must first fill out and sign a confidentiality agreement.

Hyde Park Neighborhood Club records, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Names
    • Hull-House (Chicago, Ill.).
    • Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (Chicago, Ill.). -- Archives
    • Project Head Start (U.S.).
  • Subject
    • Adult day care centers.
    • Adult education.
    • Chicago Neighborhoods.
    • Day care centers.
    • Older people--Recreation.
    • Social settlements.
    • Student activities.
    • Youth--Employment.
  • Geographic CoverageIllinois--Chicago.