Skip to main content

Chicago Government Information: General

A research guide for Chicago government information



The Chicago Public Library's central library (Harold Washington Library), Municipal Documents Collection is the official depository for the Chicago governments documents. If we don't have what you need, make sure to check their collection. Also, for pre-1923 reports by the Chicago Government, try searching in Google Books. Most pre-1923 items are available for download as PDF.

Useful Links

Internet Archive: Text Archive
Download free books and texts. The Internet Archive Text Archive contains quite a few digitized books of Chicago & Chicago government publications.

Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
This web archive website provides you with old, archived, web pages. All you need is a URL of a home page you want to go back and see!

Key Resources

Chicago History Resources: Chicago Public Library
Explore Chicago's rich and colorful past with these resources from the Chicago Public Library.

Chicago History Museum: Online Search Tools
Online Search tools provided by the Chicago History Museum.

A History of Chicago
Pierce, Bessie Louise, A history of Chicago (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1937-1957)
Call number: 977.3 P615 1975 

The Governments of Chicago (1958)
By Harvey Karlen. A must-read book if you are looking for historical documents of the Chicago governments. This book provides with historical background of government entities and a broader understanding of what it is that the city governments do, and how they are organized to do it.
Call number: 352.0773 K18g

The Government of the City of Chicago (1960, 64, 66, 69, 73, 78, 82 & 83)
By Chciago Municipal Reference Library. Sort of a follow-up series of "The Governments of Chicago" by Harvey Karlen (above.) The library has 1960, 64, 66, 69, 73, 78, 82 & 83.
Call number: varies

Chicago Government : A Reference Book on Local Governmental Units and Agencies in Chicago (1954)
Prepared by League of Women Voters of Chicago and published by Citizen Information Service of Metropoitan Chicago.
Call number: 352.07731 L434c

Key to Chicago Government (1954)
Prepared by League of Women Voters of Chicago and published by Citizen Information Service of Metropoitan Chicago.
Call number: 352.0773 L434k

Key to Government in Chicago and Suburban Cook County (1966, 72 & 1989, title varies)
First published in 1966 and in 1972 ("The Key to Our Local Government") and in 78 & 89, this book is also a good guide to the structure of local government in Cook County, Chicago, and municipalities and special service ares within the County.
Call number: varies 

Blueprint of Chicago government, 1989
Similar to the two books above, this book is intended to provide reference materials on the operations of Chicago government.
Call number: L 352.00731 B658 1989

Chicago and Cook County : a guide to research
A genealogical research book by Ancestry. Though this book is meant for genealogists, some information might be useful for Chicago historians.
Call number: 016.9291 S998c 1996

Subject Guide

Anne Zald's picture
Anne Zald
Anne Zald
Subjects: Government Information; Social Science Data; Regulatory Compliance
Main Library Room 1214
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Skype Contact: anne.zald