Warren and Mary Bacon Papers
Warren Bacon was a prominent Chicago civic leader and member of the Chicago Board of Education. Bacon opposed the policies of Chicago Public Schools superintendent Benjamin Willis. The papers include photographs and documents from Warren's career and from his wife, Mary, and from their membership in the Great Black Book Club.
- Creation: 1951-2006
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restriction
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection
Biographical / Historical
Warren Bacon (1923-1991) was a lifelong resident of Chicago educated in the Chicago Public School system. Bacon received his B.A. degree in Economics from Roosevelt University in 1948 and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1951. He served three years in World War II, as a surveyor in the U.S. Engineers Corps in the South Pacific. When he returned to Chicago, he started his career at Supreme Liberty Life Insurance. He worked at Inland Steel from 1966-1985 in several capacities: Director of Industrial Relations and Manpower Training and President of the Inland-Steel Ryerson Foundation. He was a member of the Chicago Board of Education from 1963-1985 serving with distinction during the turbulent 60s and 70s when desegregation was a heated issue. Bacon was an integral part of the Chicago School Reform Act of 1987. In 1985, Bacon became President of Chicago United, an interracial consortium of prominent business and professional leaders dedicated to the improvement of economic and social conditions in the city. He retired from Chicago United in 1990.
Warren Bacon married Mary Lou Ellen of Cairo, Illinois in 1946. The couple had 3 sons. Mary Lou Bacon was an avid reader who belonged to various book clubs. She and her husband founded the Great Black Book Club. Most of the members were longtime friends and business associates who met and discussed books at members homes. The club disbanded in 2004. Mary Lou Bacon was the club photographer. She was also part of the committee that facilitated the endowment of the Warren Bacon Chair in Urban Education at Roosevelt University. Mary Lou Bacon died in 2010.
Warren Bacon sat on many committees dealing with improving the American education system to meet the new global challenges. He was touted as a viable candidate for the first Black mayor of the City of Chicago but chose instead to serve as the Chairman of the successful Harold Washington for Mayor Committee. He held seats on the Education Committee of the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington, DC; Seaway National Bank of Chicago and Hyde Park Federal Savings and Loan Association; Former Chairman of the Illinois Employment and Training Council (CETA) from 1974-1980; Russell Sage Foundation out of New York.
His community and civic activities included: Chairman, Personnel Board, City of Chicago; Governor’s Advisory Committee on Provident Hospital; Cochairman, Mayor’s Advisory Council on the Chicago Housing Authority. Warren Bacon received honors both from Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago for his community work on behalf of equality and employment opportunities for the citizens of Chicago, especially for minorities and the disadvantaged. Bacon died in 1991.
- Kemp, Jack. “Man Ahead: Warren H. Bacon” in SAY! The Alumni Magazine of Roosevelt University, 1964 Winter
- Thomas, Karen. “Warren Bacon, Education Crusader,” Chicago Tribune, 1991 May 31
- “Warren Bacon Resigns as Council Chair,” Consensus, 1980 May
3 Linear Feet (in 5 boxes, includes 9 photographs and 1 oversize scrapbook)
Language of Materials
Warren Bacon was a prominent Chicago civic leader and member of the Chicago Board of Education. Bacon opposed the policies of Chicago Public Schools superintendent Benjamin Willis. The papers include photographs and documents from Warren’s career and from his wife, Mary, and from their membership in the Great Black Book Club.
There are 9 series in this collection. The series are: Biography, Correspondence, Warren Bacon Chair, Newspaper Clippings, Organizations, Programs, Scrapbook, Serials, and Photographs
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Mary Lou Bacon, widow of Warren H. Bacon in 2009
- Bacon, Warren H., 1923-1991 -- : Archives. (Person)
- Bacon, Mary Lou, 1922-2010 -- : Archives. (Person)
- Bacon, Warren H., 1923-1991 -- : Correspondence. (Person)
- Bacon, Mary Lou, 1922-2010 -- : Correspondence. (Person)
- Bacon, Warren H., 1923-1991 -- : Photographs. (Person)
- Chicago Public Schools (Organization)
- Chicago (Ill.). Board of Education (Organization)
- Roosevelt University (Organization)
Genre / Form
- Business correspondence.
- Memorial service programs.
- Personal correspondence.
- Programs (Publications)
- Records (Documents)
- Serial publications.
- Guide to Mary and Warren Bacon Papers
- Beverly A. Cook
- June 2021
- 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 Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository
Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States