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Susan B. Rosenblum Papers

Identifier: spe-00186

Content Description

This small collection consists of two large case studies, legal documents and reports, two pamphlets, and one booklet.

Of particular historic value are the two case studies: The 1980 report from the Avery Anti-Displacement Clearinghouse (Folder 1), a collection of interviews with displaced tenants of the Broadway Courts housing complex documenting tenants’ fears about displacement and its potential impacts; and Judith Wittner’s manuscript Ordinary Struggles: The Career of Unrest Among Women Factory Workers (Folder 4), which details the impact of the Playskool factory closing on 30 of its women workers through extensive interviews. From Wittner’s perspective, the closing of the Playskool factory mirrors the rise and decline of Chicago manufacturing enterprises employing women.


  • Creation: 1980-1991


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

Throughout her career, Susan B. Rosenblum worked for both governmental and non-profit organizations in roles related to labor and employment policy and advocacy.

In Chicago, Rosenblum served as the Project Director of the Westside Jobs Network, the Assistant Director of Strategic Planning at the Mayor’s Office of Employment Training (under Mayors Harold Washington and Eugene Sawyer) and the Executive Director of the Chicago Consortium for Worker Education. She was also a volunteer with the Uptown People’s Law Center.

In Washington D.C., she served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), coordinated a national Workforce Development for Poverty Reduction project for the National League of Cities and worked as a Program Analyst for the United States Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General.

The materials in this collection document the trajectory of Rosenblum’s work in Chicago, and relate to three distinct areas of focus.

Displacement in the Uptown neighborhood: In 1975, residents of Broadway Courtyards, a low-income housing complex operated by the United States Department of Housing and Development (HUD), filed a lawsuit in federal court to fight displacement from the neighborhood. The suit charged that the real estate developer who purchased the building and evicted its residents was involved in a conspiracy to destroy the integrated community that had developed there.

The closing of the Playskool toy factory in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood: In 1984, Hasbro/Milton Bradley, the parent company of Playskool, closed its factory in West Humboldt Park. The closure led to the loss of over 700 jobs—held primarily by Black and Latina women —and prompted the City of Chicago to file a lawsuit against the company for breach of contract. The lawsuit stemmed from a $1 million grant the city awarded to Milton Bradley in 1980 for agreeing to retain 1,110 jobs and create 400 more. The city settled out of court in 1985.

The Chicago Consortium for Worker Education (CCWE): The Chicago Consortium for Worker Education, established in 1989, was the first city-wide nonprofit organization to support unions and employers in providing employees with workplace-based classes in adult basic skills, English-as-a-Second-Language and related subjects. CCWE offered classes directly at worksites, including Heinemann’s Bakeries, University of Chicago Hospitals, Nabisco and Hyatt Regency Chicago.


0.25 Linear Feet (in 1 box)

Language of Materials



This small collection consists of case studies, legal documents, reports, pamphlets and booklets connected to Susan B. Rosenblum’s work in Chicago in the 1980s. Items in the collection relate to three distinct areas of focus: displacement in the Uptown neighborhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the 1984 closing of the Playskool toy factory in West Humboldt Park and the creation of the non-profit Chicago Consortium of Worker Education in 1989.


Folders have been grouped by topic and arranged chronologically within each topic.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Susan Rosenblum, 2021

Related Materials

  • Chicago Department of Urban Renewal Records
  • Eugene Sawyer Mayoral Records
  • Harold Washington, Community Services Sub-Cabinet Records
  • Harold Washington, Development Sub-Cabinet Records
  • Harold Washington, Finance and Administration Sub-Cabinet Records
  • Harold Washington, Press Office Records

Guide to the Susan B. Rosenblum Papers
Rachel Esser
July 2022
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