Politics Collection


Extent: 800 videotapes

Dates: 1971–2016

Description: A diverse set of materials, documenting the major presidential campaigns and elections, Illinois House and Senate, and Chicago politics. Featuring every Chicago mayor since Richard J. Daley, as well as extensive footage of city council members, it’s an eye opening picture of how politics really works in Chicago. The Media Burn collection covers the lasting cultural impact of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and Chicago Conspiracy trial, and the Chicagoans who have shaped public policy locally and nationally, such as David Axelrod, the Daley family, and Rahm Emanuel.

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1992 Election

Extent: 250 videotapes

Dates: 1992

Description: Preserved through funding by the federal “Save America’s Treasures” program as a crucial record of American history and democracy. More than 500 hours of footage documenting all the candidates, including Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Jerry Brown, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot, as well as the role of the press in American elections. Shot for the award-winning national PBS series THE 90’s.


Chicago Politics

Extent: 150 videotapes

Dates: 1976–2016

Description: Footage of some of Chicago’s most prominent leaders and activists of the last forty years. Videos range from in depth and candid interviews to raw footage of rallys, public protests, and electiont coverage. Collection includes footage of Mayors Harold Washington, Jane Byrne, and both Daleys, as well as Barack Obama, Dan Rostenkowski, and Vito Marzullo.


Harold Washington

Extent: 17 videocassettes (DVCAM); 2 videocassettes (Hi-8); 12 videocassettes (VHS); 36 videocassettes (U-Matic); 4 videocassettes (Betacam SP); 1 videocassette (U-Matic SP); 1 DVD-R; 24 digital files

Dates: 1979–1994

Description: Harold Washington (1922-1987) was a lawyer and politician who served as a U.S. Representative for Illinois and was elected the first African-American mayor of Chicago.This collection includes footage of Harold Washington in action, both his fiery speeches on the campaign trail and in office, going up against “The Eddies” during the Council Wars, as well as a host of interviews with people throughout the Chicago community, talking about working with him, his influence, his time as mayor, and the loss felt at his early passing.

People: Harold Washington, Richard J. Daley, Richard M. Daley, Studs Terkel, Bob Lucas, Jay McMullen, Jane Byrne, Marion Stamps, Jesse Jackson, Edward Vrdolyak, Bernard Epton, Irv Kupcinet, Aaron Freeman, James Thompson, Adlai Stevenson, Art Jones, Donald Haider, Robert Moon, Ray Wardingley, Harry Golden Jr., Thomas Hynes, Dan Rostenkowski, Michael Bilandic, Bill Veeck

Subjects: Chicago Politics, elections, political speeches


Dan Rostenkowski

Extent: 50 videotapes

Dates: 1980–1994

Description: Ever wondered what really goes on behind closed doors in Congress? Cameras would never be permitted in closed door meetings today, but in 1981, we managed to shoot a rare peek at an orientation for newly elected House Democrats (including Harold Washington). In it, Majority Whip Dan Rostenkowski, with his typical tell-it-like-it-is attitude, explains to the freshmen how things are really done in D.C. It’s part of the excellent documentary Rostenkowski, shot when the Ilinois Congressman had just been elevated to Chairman of Ways and Means. Shot both in Washington and the near west side of Chicago, these tapes demonstrate the power of the Democratic Party in Chicago and document the peculiarities of the Congress. This collection of footage was digitized through the support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.


Vito Marzullo

Extent: 49 videocassettes (U-matic); 6 videocassettes (DVCAM); 1 videocassette (Mini-DV)

Paper materials (.5 linear feet): Drawer 7, collection 7, series 1, folder 1 (Vito production)

Dates: 1978

Description: Tom Weinberg’s Vito Marzullo is a portrait of Chicago’s 25th Ward Alderman Vito Marzullo (1897-1990), who is described as “the last of the old time machine politicians.” It chronicles the workings of Marzullo’s ward, Chicago’s City Hall, and politics in general within the Chicago Democratic “machine.” This piece and the 14.5 hours of raw footage also provide insight into Marzullo’s family life with his wife of 65 years, Letiza. Paper materials document the making of the documentary.

People: Vito Marzullo, Jimmy Carter, John Domagala, Letizia Marzullo, Wilson Frost, George J. Hagopian, Fred B. Roti, Timothy Evans, Milton Rakove, Leon Despres

Subjects: Brigid Murphy, Arts and culture, Performance, Live variety


None of the Above

Extent: 56 videocassettes (Hi 8 mm); 6 videocassettes (VHS); 3 videocassettes (U-Matic); 5 videocassettes (Mini DV)

Paper materials (2 linear feet):
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4, folder 1 (Financial)
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4, folder 2 (Legal)
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4, folder 4 (Press/distribution)
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4 (WTTW/Medill voting study)
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4, folder 5-6 (Research)
Drawer 18, collection 24, series 4, folder 7-10 (Production)

Dates: 1996

Description: None of the Above was a 1996 documentary that investigated the phenomenon of non-voters. It conducted in collaboration with Professor Ellen Shearer of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Approximately a dozen non-voters from around the country were selected for in-depth documentary profiles. The program also featured political analyst David Axelrod, Senator Paul Simon, and journalist John Callaway. The 90-minute edited program aired on public television. This collection contains 100 hours of camera original footage that holds incredible significance for public policy, sociology, urban studies, rural studies, and psychology researchers to learn about the significant numbers of people who do not participate in the American electoral system.

People: David Axelrod, Bob Dole, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, Lamar Alexander, Phil Gramm, Alan Keyes, Tim Russert, Jack Kemp, Elizabeth Dole, Oliver North, Art Kunkin, Joe Cummings, Michael Bowser, Holly Bowser, John Callaway, Tom Weinberg, Patrick Creadon, Frank RePass, Cindy RePass, Gene Tenzca, Roger Bacon

Subjects: Political campaigns, Voting, Voting–Abstention, Voter Turnout, Politics


Outside Agitators Collection

Extent: 200 videotapes

Dates: 1972–2016

Description: Footage documenting activists and outsiders, such as Abbie Hoffman, Rennie Davis, Fred Hampton, Paul Krassner, Stewart Brand, Tulli Kupferberg, A.J. Weberman, Reverend Billy, Bill Ayers, Tony Schwartz, as well as demonstrations and activist movements around the country related to wars, AIDS, labor, housing, and other issues.

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