Back of the Yards Community Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection contains materials relating to the Back of the Yards community, including news clippings, historical sketches and microfilm reels of the Back of the Yards Journal and the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BNYC) scrapbooks.
- Creation: 1921 - 1983
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Biographical / Historical
The community known as The Back of the Yards is located to the west and south of the old packinghouse district between Racine and Ashland Avenue. The neighborhood is part of the community area of New City that extends from 39th to 55th Streets between Halsted and the railroad tracks along Leavitt Street, just south and west of the former Union Stock Yard and adjacent packing plants.
Historically, the area was highly industrialized and been populated by successive waves of immigrant groups. It was the setting of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, published in 1905. The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) was founded in 1939 by Joseph Meegan, Saul Alinsky, and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil. Comprised of dozens of small neighborhood organizations and parishes, the BYNC’s local leaders worked with outside organizers to help address community problems ranging from racial and ethnic tensions to economic inequities to housing conservation.
1 Linear Feet (in 1 box, plus 13 microfilm reels)
Language of Materials
The collection contains materials relating to the Back of the Yards community, including news clippings, historical sketches and microfilm reels of the Back of the Yards Journal and the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) scrapbooks.
The Collection is arranged into 2 series: Series 1: Documents, 1921-1970, undated and Series 2: Microfilm, 1937-1983
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Microfilm transferred from the Back of the Yards Library Branch in 1998. Other documents were transferred Sherman Park Branch Library in September 2000. Contents in Box 1, Folders 8-9 were added in 2018.
- Chicago Public Library. Back of the Yards Branch (Organization)
- Chicago Public Library. Sherman Park Branch (Organization)
- Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (Chicago, Ill.) (Organization)
- Guide to the Back of the Yards Community Collection
- Original author unknown. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2021
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository
Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States