Lillian M. Campbell Memorial Collection
Scope and Contents
Lillian May (Smith) Campbell and her husband, Frank R. Campbell amassed a collection of photographs of Chicago views that primarily depict streetcars, trolley buses and other modes of transportation as well as document opening ceremonies for bus and streetcar lines across the city in the 1930s. A significant portion of the images depict vehicles and lines operated by the Chicago Surface Lines (CSL), a street railway system in Chicago from 1913 to 1947. This firm and its system of transit lines was a predecessor of today's publicly owned operator, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Other lines associated with CSL that are depicted here include the Chicago City Railway Co. and the Chicago Union Traction Co. Dedication events are documented for the opening of lines on Central Avenue; North Avenue and Austin Boulevard; Higgins Road/Northwest Highway; Madison Street; Foster and Kimball Streets; Pulaski Road and 31st Street; Ogden Avenue and Halsted Street. The collection also includes several photographic views that show the same intersection taken twenty or thirty years apart.
The collection is particularly strong in the neighborhoods of Roseland, South Shore, South Chicago, Woodlawn, Lake View, Rogers Park, Portage Park and Logan Square.
The original inventory of photographs is in Box 1, Folder 1. Covers of the original photograph books 2-5, and sample pages from Book 2 have been preserved in Box 1, Folders 2-3. The remainder of the original books has been discarded.
The dates given for this collection are 1858 to 1940. While there are pictorial representations of artifacts and scenes prior to that date, 1858 is the date of the earliest actual photograph of a real location in Chicago: a copy of Alexander Hesler’s photographs of the Cook County Courthouse (Photograph 207).
- Majority of material found within 1930 - 1940
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Biographical / Historical
Lillian May Smith was born on the West Side of Chicago, August 22, 1881, the daughter of George D. and Susan A. Smith. She married Frank R. Campbell on April 20, 1902. The couple settled in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. They had one son, Frank R. Campbell Jr., who served in World War II as a Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard.
Deeply interested in civic activities, Mrs. Campbell was a member of a number of clubs, including the Austin Woman's Club, Friends of American Writers, West Side Historical Society, Amelia Earhart Civic Club, Iris Garden Circle, and Miriam Chapter #1 Order of the Eastern Star. She also served as President of seven other organizations. In 1937 at a testimonial dinner sponsored by the Distinguished Civic Service Association of Chicago, the presidents of eighteen West Side organizations presented her with a signed citation.
Among her accomplishments, Mrs. Campbell was instrumental in the establishment of the “First Night Fund” at Illinois Masonic Hospital in 1925, which provided a post-operation night nurse for patients unable to pay the costs. In 1937, she was the impetus behind the founding of a alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation home for first-offender women. She served as secretary to the West Side Women’s Division of the 1934 “Drama of Chicago on Parade.”
Of Mrs. Campbell, Cicero Review publisher William Henry Maas wrote, “I always felt that her very entrance into a room was as though another candle had been lighted…With Lillian Campbell, you just naturally felt that life was enriched every time you met her.” She died at her home, 5433 W. Ohio Street, following a long illness, on December 11, 1942, and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery.
Frank R. Campbell was born on Chicago’s west side November 7, 1881. He spent a forty-year career with the Chicago Surface Lines, predecessor of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Mr. Campbell was also active in numerous civic organizations, including the West Side Historical Society. He died in October 1946. Despite their Episcopalian faith, the funeral services for Lillian and Frank were conducted by the Unitarian pastor Preston Bradley.
For further information about the lives of Frank and Lillian Campbell, see the Austin Community Collection, Box 10, Folder 2.
14.5 Linear Feet (in 12 boxes, includes 355 photographs)
Language of Materials
Lillian May (Smith) Campbell and her husband, Frank R. Campbell amassed a collection of photographs of Chicago views that primarily depict streetcars, trolley buses and other modes of transportation as well as document opening ceremonies for bus and streetcar lines across the city in the 1930s. The collection is particularly strong in the neighborhoods of Roseland, South Shore, South Chicago, Woodlawn, Lake View, Rogers Park, Portage Park and Logan Square.
The Lillian Memorial Campbell Collection is arranged in 6 Series by topic and material type:
Series 1: Documents, 1894-1943, undated
Series 2: Businesses and Organizations, 1858-1940, undated
Series 3: Historical Topics, circa 1858-1933, undated
Series 4: Residences, circa 1864-1900, undated
Series 5: Street Scenes, 1875-1940, undated
Series 6: Transportation, 1866-1940, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Frank R. Campbell made his collection publicly available through the West Side Historical Society collections at the Legler Branch Library of Chicago Public Library. 355 of the original 851 photographs are now in Special Collections. The Library gratefully acknowledges the Oriental Consistory which deeded its claim to the collection to Chicago Public Library.
Supplement 1 consists of 39 photographs found in box of miscellany after the original collection was cataloged. The photographs were processed in November 1990.
Supplement 2 consists of Book 8 of the Campbell Collection and includes photographs 684 to 851. Unlike the others, this book was a published viewbook of images of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition: Photographs of the World’s Fair: An Elaborate Collection of Photographs of the Buildings, Grounds and Exhibits of the World’s Columbian Exposition with a Special Description of the Midway Plaisance, Chicago: The Werner Company, 1894. These items were added in February 1991.
- Chicago (Ill.) -- History -- Sources Subject Source: Local sources
- Chicago Surface Lines
- Chicago Transit Authority
- Lakeview (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Local transit -- Illinois -- Chicago Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Logan Square (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Portage Park (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Pullman’s Palace Car Company
- Rogers Park (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Roseland (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- South Chicago (Chicago, Ill.)
- South Shore (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Local sources
- Transportation -- Illinois -- Chicago Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Woodlawn (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Chicago Public Library. Legler Regional (Organization)
- West Side Historical Society (Chicago, Ill.) (Organization)
- Oriental Consistory (Organization)
- Guide to the Lillian M. Campbell Memorial Collection
- Original author unknown, circa 1989. Supplements 1 and 2 were added in 1990 and 1991. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2022
- circa 1989
- 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