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Topel Family Photograph Album

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: spe-w00182-2021-001

Content Description

The Topel Family Photograph Album is comprised of 64 pages containing 476 photographs, the majority of which are candid images and portraits of unnamed individuals (likely members of the Topel family and their friends and ancestors). The photographs taken in Chicago primarily feature the Loop, Grant Park, and the west and south sides, including Garfield Park, Jackson Park, and the Sears, Roebuck, & Co. Campus (now the Sunken Gardens Park) in North Lawndale. Many photographs in the album highlight natural environs outside Chicago, including Photographs 1.95-1.113 of a presumed Art Institute of Chicago retreat at the Michillinda summer resort in Whitehall, Michigan. Of particular significance are the photographs in the album related to World War I, especially Photographs 1.10-1.53 which were taken at Camp Grant, a United States Army training facility that was located near Rockford, Illinois. In addition, Photographs 1.276-1.281 from the United States Government War Exposition—a traveling exhibition held in Grant Park from September 2-15, 1918—and Photographs 1.34 and 1.53 taken at a November 18, 1918, United War Work Campaign rally provide insight into a typical visitor’s experience of World War I morale-boosting events held in Chicago.

Acquisition Type



Purchased and donated by James A. Pierce in 2021

Language of Description


Script of Description


Restrictions Apply



  • circa 1860s-circa 1930s
  • Majority of material found within circa 1917-circa 1925



0.5 Linear Feet (in 1 box, includes 476 photographs)