The Alliance Française of Chicago was founded in 1897 to promote French culture and language. It is among the oldest of cultural institutions in the city. William Rainey Harper, first president of the University of Chicago, was a founder of the Chicago Alliance and the American Federation. University of Chicago professor Ingres, a director of the Chicago Alliance, established the library in 1904.

Today, the Alliance Française de Chicago hosts an impressive array of events celebrating francophone cultures from around the world. Classes are offered for all ages and levels of French, including certifications in French for professional purposes. The Alliance’s Médiathèque – the largest private French library in the Midwest – houses a collection of 18,000 French language and cultural media items and has an online catalog. Items are in both French and English and appeal to all ages. The Alliance also has hosted a diverse group of guests: from presidents, ambassadors, and royalty to authors, film directors, and fashion designers.

In the highly engaged civic spirit of Chicago, the Alliance Française is proud to contribute to its cultural richness as the city’s premier French educational and cultural institution.

Scope and Content

Historical documents dating from 1908 – such as brochures, leaflets, photographs, and other items – related to the Alliance Française de Chicago, its connection to the cultural history of Chicago and with France.

Alliance Française Institutional Archives:

1908 to present.

Olive Hulbert scrapbook collection:

Artifacts dating from 1918 to 1923, organized by past Alliance president, Olive Hubert. The scrapbooks contain documents from various dinners, events, and projects, and are related to individuals connected with the Alliance. They also chronicle the Alliance’s wartime and post-war reconstruction efforts.