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Austin Newspapers Collection

Identifier: spe-nhrc-anc

Scope and Contents

The collection contains issues of community newspapers including The Austin Herald, The Austin News, The Austinite, The Austin Voice, The Austin Weekly News, and The Windy City Word.


  • Creation: 1876-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970 - 1997

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 Austin neighborhood is seven miles west of Chicago’s Loop. Community number 25 of Chicago's 77 official communities, it is on the western edge of the city bordering Cicero, Oak Park and Elmwood Park. Austin was annexed into Chicago in 1889.

Over the years, the Austin community has been served by several different newspapers. Reporters for these local papers closely followed community events and people. Stories about community controversies, political trends and prominent local citizens, as well as articles about local businesses, religious institutions, social organizations, and schools dominate the reporting in these neighborhood papers. The newspapers also provide information about contemporary business establishments, especially through their advertising.

Published by Pioneer Press, The Austinite has been Austin's most enduring newspaper. The Austinite offers a good historical overview of Austin’s commercial development with advertisements, club announcements and general news stories.

In the early 1970s, Austin was characterized by demographic changes that precipitated racial tension and in some instances, violence. The Austin News chronicles this episode in Austin’s history and is a good contemporary counterpart to the historical archival materials held in the Austin Community Collection.

By the mid-1980s, two other community newspapers were in publication: The Austin Voice and The Austin Weekly News. The Austin Voice began as a weekly in 1985. A division of Megamedia Enterprises, the Voice promised “a steady flow” of Austin news, features, advice, and life. The Austin Voice also served the Garfield Park and Lawndale communities and featured articles on area gangs, businesses, hospitals, schools, religious institutions, and politicians. The Austin Weekly News began operations in 1986 and was published by The Oak Park Wednesday Journal. The News masthead reads: “Working together to reflect the Austin Community” and section titles include Health, Military Notes, Austin Entrepreneurs, and Across Austin.

Finally, The Windy City Word, another newspaper distributed free of charge, serves the greater West Side of Chicago. “Reporting progressive news weekly,” the Word includes articles on fashion, the arts, schools, public utilities, and health.


69 Linear Feet (in 23 boxes plus 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



The collection contains community newspapers includes The Austin Herald, The Austin News, The Austinite, The Austin Voice, The Austin Weekly News, and The Windy City Word. The issues primarily span 1970-1997.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by newspaper and chronologically within title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Austin Newspaper Collection consists of an initial accession and two supplementary accessions. The initial accession was transferred from Chicago Public Library, Austin Branch as part of a Dr. Scholl Foundation grant in 1984. The issues span Boxes 1-10 and include The Austin Herald, The Austin News, The Austinite, Austin Topics and Austin Vindicator.

The supplements span Boxes 11-21 and Boxes 22-23, respectively, and include The Austin Voice, The Austin Weekly News and The Windy City Word.

Related Materials

Austin Community Collection

Austin Daughters of the American Revolution

Austin High School Records

Austin Women’s Club Records

Chicago African American and Latino Newspapers Microfilm Collection

Goldwin E. Anderson Notebooks

David Gremp Photographs

West Side Newspaper Collection

Guide to the Austin Newspapers Collection
Original author unknown, 1985. 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.

Repository Details

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
(312) 747-4875