Harold Washington Archives and Collections. Mayoral Records. Chief of Staff Records
Scope and Contents
The records document the role of the Office of Chief of Staff in the management of the city’s workforce, the execution of policies set by Mayor Washington’s Administration, and the administrative direction of the mayoral liaisons. Topics covered are extremely varied and include affirmative action; Aviation Department’s O’Hare Collateral Development Plan; budgets; Chicago Housing Authority, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and General Obligation (GO) Bonds; crime prevention; Equal Employment Opportunity; Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs; Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)/Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE); O’Hare Development Program; public-private partnerships; Shakman compliance and Transition Team materials. Records include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, reports, research files and studies.
- 1974 - 1988
- Majority of material found within 1983 - 1987
- Washington, Harold, 1922-1987 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least 24-hours prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
The Chief of Staff reported directly to the Mayor. When Harold Washington took office in 1983 he formed five sub-cabinets that were responsible for the coordination, development and implementation of the mayor’s policies which cut across departmental boundaries. A Mayoral Liaison was appointed to head each sub-cabinet and they in turn reported to the Chief of Staff. The sub-cabinets were Community Services, Development, Finance, Infrastructure, and Public Safety/Regulatory. The Harold Washington Archives and Collections have been processed in such a way as to retain this organization.
William "Bill" Ware was appointed Harold Washington’s Chief of Staff on May 1, 1983. Ware, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, graduated from the University of Chicago’s Law School in 1975 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1976. After moving to Washington, D.C. in 1977, Ware worked as legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and later became Director of the Office of Congressional Affairs at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 1981, Ware joined Harold Washington’s U.S. Congressional staff as an administrative assistant, staying in this position until he was appointed Washington’s Mayoral Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, Ware was responsible for the overall operation of the mayor’s office, supervise the department heads, and was in charge of the City’s 40,000 employees.
Ware was often criticized as Chief of Staff for failing to move quickly. In order to remove some of the pressure from Ware, Mayor Washington hired Ernest Barefield in August 1984 as Deputy Chief of Staff. In the first few months of 1985, Ware decreased his workload due to illness. On May 9, 1985, he was admitted to a hospital and died on May 25, 1985, at the age of 37.
In July 1985, Washington appointed Ernest G. Barefield Chief of Staff and Brenda Gaines Deputy Chief of Staff. Barefield graduated from Southern University in 1969, finished graduate school at Atlanta University in 1971, worked for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson; and as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer under Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young before joining the Washington Administration.
Brenda Gaines was a Deputy Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1980 to 1981, then moved on to become special assistant to the Regional Administrator at HUD. Gaines was appointed Chicago Commissioner of Housing in September 1983 where she remained until joining the Chief of Staff’s Office in July 1985. Gaines grew up in North Chicago, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Roosevelt University.
Susan Annable served as Assistant to the Chief of Staff, 1983-1987.
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, Illinois. 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 PM 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.
51.5 Linear Feet (in 115 boxes)
Language of Materials
Records in this collection document the roles of Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff in the management of the city’s workforce, the execution of policies set by Mayor Washington and the administrative direction of the mayoral liaisons. The records were created by William Ware, Ernest G. Barefield, Brenda Gaines and Susan Annable.
The files are arranged in two series:
Series 1: Staff Files, 1974-1988 (bulk dates 1983-1987)
- Subseries A: William Ware Files, 1980-1987 (bulk dates 1983-1985)
- Subseries B: Ernest G. Barefield Files, 1974-1988 (bulk dates 1985-1987)
- Subseries C: Brenda Gaines Files, 1983-1988 (bulk dates 1985-1987)
- Subseries D: Susan Annable Files, 1983-1987
Researchers are encouraged to search broadly as topics recur across several Subseries.
Series 2: Departmental Management Plan, 1983-1988
- Subseries A: General Files, 1983-1988
- Subseries B: Community Services Sub-Cabinet Files, 1983-1988
- Subseries C: Development Sub-Cabinet Files, 1983-1988
- Subseries D: Finance and Administration Sub-Cabinet Files, 1983-1988
- Subseries E: Infrastructure Sub-Cabinet Files, 1983-1988
- Subseries F: Public Safety and Regulatory Sub-Cabinet Files, 1983-1988
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Chicago Public Library acquired the records after Harold Washington’s death.
- Budget -- Illinois -- Chicago Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Business correspondence. Subject Source: Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms
- Chicago (Ill.) -- Politics and government -- 1951- Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Chicago (Ill.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Municipal Ordinances Subject Source: Local sources
- Records (Documents) Subject Source: Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms
- Washington, Harold, 1922-1987 (Person)
- Ware, William (Person)
- Barefield, Ernest G. (Person)
- Gaines, Brenda (Brenda J.), 1949- (Person)
- Annable, Susan (Person)
- Guide to the Harold Washington Archives and Collections. Mayoral Records. Chief of Staff Records
- Originally processed by Brian Keogh in 1998. Updated by Morag Walsh, 2022. Ingested into ArchivesSpace by Sarah Zimmerrnan, 2022
- 1998 and 2022
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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