Harold Washington Archives and Collections. Mayoral Records. Press Office Photographs
Scope and Contents
The photographs, contact sheets and negatives in this collection were mostly taken by Press Office photographers, Michelle V. Agins, Antonio B. Dickey and Peter J. Schulz, between 1983 and 1987. The images document many of Harold Washington’s engagements and provide a glimpse into his often busy, daily schedule. The types of events he attended varied from day to day, but many were out in the neighborhoods, including community meetings, ground breakings, fundraisers, festivals and charitable events and show how Chicago’s neighborhoods looked in the mid-1980s. Other photographs were taken inside City Hall and document Washington’s administration, appointments and meetings with visiting businessmen, dignitaries and everyday Chicagoans. Some photographs show celebrities and other politicians. Portraits of Harold Washington can be found in box 81.
All of the photographs are in black and white and the collection includes contact sheets, 35mm negatives and some 8” x 10” prints. The photographers often shot several events in the same day, resulting in single contact sheets that document more than one event. When the rolls of film were developed, the photographers frequently identified the events using their own shorthand, dated the contact sheets and signed their initials. Sometimes, especially in the early years of Washington’s tenure, this shorthand on contact sheets is the only identifying information that remains for depicted events. Other times, however, especially in the later years of Washington’s tenure, additional information appears in the files with the photographs, such as schedules, briefing notes and speeches for the events depicted. Archivists have assigned folder titles based on the information present: brief identification by the photographers, or detailed information from accompanying briefing notes.
Slight errors with the dates might exist because some photographers marked their contact sheets with the date the film was processed rather than the date of the actual event. Researchers should look widely around a specific date. Often people other than Harold Washington have been identified and highlighted, but this has not been done comprehensively. Identifiable people appear in photographs throughout the collection, and a name not appearing in the folder heading does not imply the person is not pictured. Please consult the images broadly.
For photographic documentation of various events remembering Harold Washington, please see the Eugene Sawyer Mayoral Records.
- Creation: 1983 - 1987
- Washington, Harold, 1922-1987 (Person)
- Agins, Michelle V. (Person)
- Dickey, Antonio (Person)
- Schulz, Peter J., (Photographer) (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
The Press Office was part of the Office of the Mayor, and as such, Press Office staff worked very closely with the Mayor at all times. The Press Office was responsible for the mayor’s scheduling and for ensuring he was prepared for each event by producing briefing notes with detailed background information. Press Office photographers accompanied the mayor to most of these events and documented them with black and white photographs, contact sheets and negatives. The majority of the photographs in this series were taken by Press Office staff photographers Michelle V. Agins, Antonio B. Dickey and Peter J. Schulz.
The Press Office also prepared press releases, drafted speeches and clipped news articles on many topics. These records are found in the Mayoral Records, Press Office Records. In addition, the Press Office video-recorded the daily television news broadcasts from the major Chicago broadcast stations. The video recordings are available in the Mayoral Records, Press Office Videocassette Collection.
Harold Washington was the first African American mayor of Chicago, elected in 1983.
Harold Washington was born on April 15, 1922, at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. His parents, Roy Lee and Bertha Jones Washington, divorced when he was young, and he lived with his father in Chicago and attended boarding school in Milwaukee. Washington entered Chicago’s DuSable High School in 1939, served in the Civilian Conservation Corps for six months, enlisted in the military from 1943 to 1946, and returned to DuSable High School to graduate in 1946. After earning a bachelor degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a law degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Washington enjoyed a career as a practicing attorney before he turned to politics.
Washington’s political career encompassed roles at the municipal, state and national levels of government. He served as Illinois State Representative for the 26th District from 1965 to 1976. He then became Illinois State Senator for the 26th District from 1976 to 1980. Washington ran for mayor of Chicago in 1977, but lost. In 1980, he became a U.S. Congressman for the 1st District and served in that post until 1983. Washington again ran for mayor in 1983, winning the Democratic primary election in February of that year and the general election in April. He was inaugurated on April 29, 1983 and was re-elected in 1987. Harold Washington died at 1:36 p.m. on November 25, 1987 of a cardiac arrest, just a few months into his second term as mayor. He is buried in Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery.
41.5 Linear Feet (in 83 boxes)
Language of Materials
Harold Washington was the first African American mayor of Chicago, elected in 1983. The Press Office was part of the Office of the Mayor, and was responsible for the mayor’s scheduling and for ensuring he was prepared for each event by producing briefing notes with detailed background information. The photographs, contact sheets and negatives in this collection were mostly taken by Press Office photographers, Michelle V. Agins, Antonio B. Dickey and Peter J. Schulz, between 1983 and 1987. The images document many of Harold Washington’s engagements and provide a glimpse into his often busy, daily schedule. The types of events he attended varied from day to day, but many were out in the neighborhoods, while others took place inside City Hall.
The collection has been divided into three series:
Series 1: Chronological Photographic Images, 1983-1987
Series 2: Undated Photographic Images, circa 1983-1987
Series 3: Undated, Unidentified Photographic Images, circa 1983-1987
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records were acquired by the Chicago Public Library after Harold Washington’s death.
- Chicago (Ill.). Office of the Mayor (Organization)
- Washington, Harold, 1922-1987 (Person)
- Bernardin, Joseph, 1928-1996 (Person)
- Bloom, Lawrence (Person)
- Bud Billiken Parade (Organization)
- Burroughs, Margaret Taylor, 1917-2010 (Person)
- Chevere, Gloria (Person)
- Chicago (Ill.). Department of Streets and Sanitation (Organization)
- Chicago (Ill.). Mayor (Organization)
- Chicago (Ill.). Mayor's Press Office (Organization)
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport (Organization)
- Chicago Public Library. Central Library (Organization)
- Evans, Clay, Rev., 1925-2019 (Person)
- Clements, George H. (Person)
- Davis, Danny K., 1941- (Person)
- Dunne, George W., 1913-2006 (Person)
- Evans, Timothy C. (Person)
- Galante, Louis (Person)
- García, Jesús, 1956 April 12- (Person)
- Gilliam, Sharon Gist (Person)
- Gutierrez, Luis V., 1953- (Person)
- Halpin, John (Person)
- Hartigan, Neil F., 1938- (Person)
- Hayes, Charles A., 1918-1997 (Person)
- Holewinski, Michael (Person)
- Hollander, Elizabeth L., 1939- (Person)
- Jackson, Jesse, 1941- (Person)
- Jefferson, Nancy (Person)
- Kupcinet, Essie (Person)
- Kupcinet, Irv (Person)
- Langford, Anna, 1917-2008 (Person)
- Mondale, Walter F., 1928- (Person)
- Netsch, Dawn Clark (Person)
- Netsch, Walter (Person)
- Operation PUSH (U.S.) (Organization)
- Ordower, Sid (Person)
- Orr, David Duvall, 1944- (Person)
- Rush, Bobby L., 1946- (Person)
- Sawyer, Eugene (Person)
- Simon, Paul, 1928-2003 (Person)
- Smith, Mary Ella (Person)
- Stroger, John H., Jr., 1929-2008 (Person)
- Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008 (Person)
- Thompson, James R., 1936- (Person)
- Tillman, Dorothy, 1947- (Person)
- Travis, Dempsey J. (Dempsey Jerome), 1920-2009 (Person)
- Velazquez, Juan (Person)
- Winfrey, Oprah (Person)
- Woods, Dolores (Person)
- Wyatt, Addie L., 1924-2012 (Person)
- African Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago.
- Asian Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Sources
- Educational change -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Ethnic groups -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Gay rights
- Hispanic Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Music festivals -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Neighborhood government -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Neighborhoods -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Religious institutions -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Schools -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Guide to the Harold Washington Archives and Collections. Mayoral Records. Press Office Photographs
- Roslyn Mabry, Johanna Russ, Morag Walsh, Sarah Zimmerman, 2018. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2022
- 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