Chicago Collection


Extent: 2,000 videotapes, video files, and films

Dates: 1949–2016

Description: Our Chicago Collection is the cornerstone of our archive, spanning more than a half century of history and culture. Hundreds of subjects, including musicians, mayors, baseball legends, radio personalities, community leaders, and neighborhood festivals are captured for posterity. Local politics is a particular strength, featuring the lives and times of Alderman Vito Marzullo; Congressmen Rahm Emanuel and Dan Rostenkowski; Senators Barack Obama and Carol Moseley-Braun; Governors Jim Edgar, George Ryan, and Rod Blagojevich; Mayors Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer, David Orr, and Richard J. and Richard M. Daley; and many more. It features activist leaders like Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger, Dovie Thurman, and Marion Stamps, as well as sports heroes like Bill Veeck, Ernie Banks, and Minnie Minoso. Studs Terkel is featured in more than 300 videos. The footage in this collection, produced by passionate independent observers, provides a rare and valuable counterpoint to the official histories of many of Chicago’s most noteworthy 20th century characters.

Explore the full collection.


chicago conspiracy trial

Chicago Conspiracy Trial

Extent: 24 videocassettes (VHS); 1 videocassette (Mini-DV); 2 audiocassettes; 2 DVD; 2 videocassettes (Hi-8mm); 1 videocassette (U-matic)

Paper materials (.5 linear feet):

Drawer 15, collection 18, series 1 (Press)
Drawer 15, collection 18, series 3 (Research)
Drawer 15, collection 18, series 4 (Production)
Drawer 15, collection 18, series 5 (Financial)
Drawer 15, collection 18, series 6 (Legal)

Dates: 1969-2001

Description: This collection includes a short documentary, designed to be a trailer for a full-length documentary, about two controversial figures in the Chicago Conspiracy trial, both named Hoffman: activist Abbie Hoffman and U.S. District Court Judge Julius Hoffman. One of the underlying concepts is that these two diametrically opposed characters were intertwined as people and as courtroom adversaries. The story is told mostly through interviews with various persons involved in the trial, plus some archival footage of the Democratic convention of 1968 (both of the actual convention and the associated riots on the Chicago streets), the Vietnam War, and various press conferences. The collection also includes a recording of an audio theater performance narrating the trial experience, starring David Schwimmer, George Murdock, and Mike Nussbaum .

People: Abbie Hoffman, Julius Hoffman, Thomas Foran, John Froines, Leonard Weinglass, Verna Sadock, Ken Gaines, Jeff Cole, David Schwimmer, George Murdock, Mike Nussbaum

Subjects:Chicago, Chicago conspiracy trial, Chicago seven, Abbie Hoffman, Democratic Convention, Riot


Chicago Slices

Extent: 21 1″ reel-to-reel; 103 videocassettes (U-Matic); 11 videocassettes (Betacam SP); 20 videocassettes (D2); 245 videocassettes (Hi-8); 19 videocassettes (VHS)

Paper materials (1 linear feet):
Drawer 10, collection 12, series 1 (Publicity and artwork)
Drawer 10, collection 12, series 2 (Ideas and research)
Drawer 10, collection 12, series 3 (Production episodes 9301-9317)
Drawer 10, collection 12, series 4 (Legal)
Drawer 10, collection 12, series 5 (Press)

Dates: 1992-1994

Description: Documentary TV series about people and places around Chicago produced by FITV and aired on WPWR-Chicago. The collection features all 17 30-minute episodes plus all the camera originals shot for the series. A wide variety of local events and culture are captured. These include everything from footage and discussion of Chicago traditions like Italian beef, hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and Italian ice; footage of immigrant community traditions, from Serbian weddings to urban Mexican rodeos; parades, neighborhood festivals and ethnic fairs; to street performers and acrobats on the South Side; to footage of Chicago’s vibrant arts and cultural scene, such as the Poetry Slams created by Marc Smith, or legendary blues performers at the Checkerboard Lounge.

People: Studs Terkel, Ben Hollis, Brigid Murphy, Donny Osmond, Ed Holstein, Gordon Walek, Joe Cummings, Leroy Brown, Eddie Clearwater, Marc Smith, Mike Murphy, John Obie, Sally Station, Judy Markey, Aaron Freeman, Patrick Walsh

Subjects: Chicago Slices, Tom Weinberg, Chicago, Chicago Culture, FITV, WPWR-Chicago, documentary, Joel Cohen

Joe Cummings

Joe Cummings

Extent: 3 videocassettes (VHS); 3 videocassettes (VHS) (audio only); 13 videocassettes (U-Matic); 5 videocassettes (Hi8); 1 videocassette (MiniDV)

Dates: 1968-1999

Description: This collection features Joe Cummings (1930-1999), a legendary Chicago newsman and a genuine character on the air and in real life. He was a street-smart wisecracking reporter for WBBM radio who fearlessly chased the stories for more than 20 years. After retiring from radio, Joe dedicated himself to being a part of TV shows for and about everyday people, such as Chicago Slices, Wild Chicago, and THE 90’s–“the way TV should be.” This collection includes segments from each of these television shows and includes the original raw tapes from Overnight Man, a documentary about Joe Cummings by Tom Weinberg. This collection also includes audio of Cummings’ news reports on WBBM.

People:  Joe Cummings, Tom Weinberg, John Callaway, Ken Solarz, Michael Sneed, Mary Laney (former WBBM-TV news reporter), Scott Craig (former WBBM-TV producer), Bob Wallace (former WBBM-TV news reporter), John Drummond (former WBBM-TV news reporter), Angela Schreiner (friend), Celeste Zielke (niece), Joe Heffernan (friend), Shiela Murphy (cousin), Harvey Moshman (producer for Wild Chicago)

Subjects: Chicago history, politics, protest, war, Vietnam War, Peace March, religion, immigration, Skokie, The Overnight Man, Chicago Slices, The 90s, Wild Chicago, Image Union, Chicago Neighborhoods

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Extent: 2 videocassettes (U-Matic); 3 videocassettes (VHS); 1 videocassette (MiniDV); 1 videocassettes (Betacam SP)

Dates: 1996-1999

Description: This collection contains the raw footage and edited material by Skip Blumberg and Tom Weinberg. The footage was first seen in the program “None of the Above,” and then used for the documentary, “The Other M.J.,” which aired on the WTTW-Chicago program “Image Union.” This collection documents Michael Johnson, who works on the floor of the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls and the site of the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Johnson struggles to make ends meet on a minimum wage job amidst the pomp and circumstance of the DNC. Through his candid reflections, one sees the struggle of many workers across the country as they are faced with limited employment options, no benefits, and no room for advancement.

People: Michael Johnson

Subjects: Michael Johnson, United Center, voting, documentary, social problem

nelson algren

Nelson Algren

Extent: 7 videocassettes (Hi8); 2 videocassettes (VHS)

Dates: 1991-1999

Description: This collection commemorates Nelson Algren (1909-1981), a prolific writer who depicted mid-20th-century urban America with a cool eye and a compassionate heart, as seen in such masterpieces as The Man with the Golden Arm, Neon Wilderness, Never Come Morning and his great prose poem, Chicago: City on the Make. The videos in this collection cover biographical information about Algren, as well as events hosted in Chicago to commemorate Algren’s birthday and the creation of the Nelson Algren Foundation.

People: Studs Terkel, Leon DesPres, Stu McCarrell, Art Shay, Dan Simon, Mark Blottner, Bill Savage, Bob Rudnick, Darrel Warren, Jim Tomasello, Nelson Algren, Ron Miles, Stu Mccarrell, Warren Leming

Subjects: Bob Rudnick, Bop Shop, Darrel Warren, Gilgamesh Band, Jim Tomasello, Nelson Algren, Nelson Algren Committee, Ron Miles, Stu Mccarrell, Warren Leming, Chicago history

radio faces

Radio Faces

Extent: 26 audio cassette tapes; 2 1″ reel-to-reel, 97 videocassettes (U-Matic); 2 videocassettes (D2); 23 videocassettes (Hi-8); 3 videocassettes (VHS)

Paper materials (1 linear foot):
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 1, folder 1 (Radio Faces I (1989) Press)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 1, folder 2 (Radio Faces II (1995) Press)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 1, folder 3 (Radio Faces Viewer Responses)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 2, folder 1 (Research)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 3, folder 1 (Publicity)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 4, folder 1 (Radio Faces I Production)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 4, folder 2 (Radio Faces II Production
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 5, folder 1 (Radio Faces I Legal)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 5, folder 2 (Radio Faces II Legal)
Drawer 10, collection 13, series 6, folder 1 (Financial)

Dates: 1989-1996

Description: A program following several Chicago radio personalities and examining the business of radio in Chicago. The program contains footage of the personalities at work (both on the air and off the air) and follows some of them during their time outside of work. Other people interviewed include various station managers and executives as well as Chicago radio critic Robert Feder. Some personalities featured include: WGN ‘s Bob Collins, WGCI’s Tom Joyner, WBEZ’s Dick Buckley, WXRT’s Terry Hemmert, and WLUP’s Steve Dahl, Gary Meyer, Kevin Matthews, and Jonathon Brandmeier.

People: Bob Collins, Tom Joyner, Dick Buckley, Terry Hemmert, Steve Dahl, Gary Meyer, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier

Topics: radio, Chicago, Chicago radio, media


Richard J. Daley

Extent: 4 videocassettes (U-Matic); 2 videocassettes (VHS); 2 audio tapes (1/4″ reel-to-reel).

Paper materials: (.5 linear feet)
drawer 6, collection 5, series 1, folder 1 (all photos and research for Daley)
drawer 6, collection 5, series 2, folder 1 (Daley press)
drawer 6, collection 5, series 3, folder 1 (Daley production)
drawer 6, collection 5, series 4, folder 1 (Daley legal)

Dates: 1966-1986

Description: The Richard J. Daley Collection contains videocasettes, audio recordings, and papers relating to the political machine and powerful influence of Richard J Daley (1902-1976), the 48th mayor of Chicago, IL from 1955-1976. Topics include Chicago history and politics, urban development, Mayor Daley, and machine politics. Many of the materials were gathered or produced for the 1986 TV special “Daley.”

People: Richard J Daley, Harold Washington, Jane Byrne, Michael Bilandic, Bill Singer, Irv Kupcinet, Leon Despres, John Hoellen, Daley Family

Subjects: Chicago history, Chicago politics, politics, urban development, Mayor Daley, machine politics, political speeches


Robert “Yummy” Sandifer

Extent: 2 videocassettes (U-Matic); 1 videocassette (VHS); 10 videocassettes (Hi-8); 2 videocassettes (DVCAM)

Dates: 1994-1995

Description: This collection contains videocassettes about events surrounding the murder of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, filmed by Andrew Jones for an episode of Weekend TV. Sandifer, a member of the street gang the Black Disciples, came to national attention after killing 14-year-old Shavon Dean while only 11 years old. He was shot by two other members of the Black Disciples, Cragg and Derrick Hardaway, because they feared he would become an informant and was bringing too much attention to the gang. Jones talks to family and friends about the tragedy and how it reflects on our society. This collection also includes raw footage coverage of the murder trial.

People: Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, Andrew Jones

Topics: Murder victims, Chicago (Ill.)–History, Gang members, Robert “Yummy” Sandifer


Studs Terkel

Extent: 135 videocasettes (VHS); 17 videocasettes (U-Matic); 5 digital files; 4 videocassettes (1/2″); 7 films (16mm); 1 videocassettes (Betacam); 36 videocassettes (Betacam SP); 2 videocassettes (Betacam SX); 6 videocassettes (Digi-Beta); 1 videocassettes (Digital S / D9); 7 videocassettes (DVCAM); 17 DVD; 3 DVD-R; 2 videocassettes (Hi-8); 3 MiniDV

Paper materials (.5 linear feet):
Drawer 7, collection 6, series 1, folder 1 (Studs on a Soapbox press)
Drawer 7, collection 6, series 2, folder 1 (Studs on a Soapbox production)
Drawer 7, collection 6, series 3, folder 1 (Studs research)
Drawer 7, collection 6, series 4, folder 1 (Studs photos)
Drawer 7, collection 6, series 5, folder 1 (Studs on a Soapbox publicity)
Drawer 19, collection 6 (Studs oversize photos)

Dates: 1949–2008

Description: The largest collection in the world of videos featuring the oral historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and radio DJ; about half were donated by Terkel himself. There are also many original tapes from programs featuring Terkel, produced by FITV and associates throughout a thirty-year relationship. In addition to providing an in-depth portrait of Terkel, the tapes follow Terkel’s innumerable humanities-oriented interests (music, art, theater, etc) across a half-century.

People: Studs Terkel, Norman Corwin, Stetson Kennedy, Hazel Wolf, Jessica de la Cruz, Victor Reuther, Edie Rubinowitz, Warner Saunders (Host of Common Ground), Michael Wilmington, Beverly Younger, Win Stracke, John Galvarro, Sunda Love, Les Podwell, Buster Keaton, Dorie Thurman, David Thompson, Tom Snyder, Dave Marsh, Ken Burns, John Callaway, Marianne Faithfull, Rita Braver, Larry Carlson, Howard Robs

Subjects: Studs Terkel, Studs’ Place, Chicago, Chicago politics, Bughouse Square Debates, Chicago history, Work, U.S. Labor


This Week in Joe’s Basement

Extent: 69 digital files

Dates: 1989–1993

Description: All 60 episodes, as well as alternate versions, of the cult classic Chicago cable access show. This Week in Joe’s Basement aired on public access cable (CAN-TV) in Chicago from 1989 to 1993. The series combined offbeat humor, social critique, and incisive documentary segments in a way television audiences had never seen before. It won two local cable TV awards and was featured in the Chicago Tribune, NBC’s Today, Jenny Jones, MTV’s Day in Rock, BBC’s World of Wonder, and PBS’s Image Union and The 90s. Joe’s Basement became so notorious that when Saturday Night Live’s “Wayne’s World” skit was made into a movie, the Chicago Tribune assigned Joe to interview star Mike Myers.

People: Joe Winston, Paul Pomerlau, Anton Kast, Gully Weiss, Mark Audrain, Paul Birchall, Aaron Rothenberg, Adam Goldman, Juan Luco, Kate Olsen, John Harriman, Jengis Alpar, Page Phillips, Michelle Heuer, Emily Reber, Rachel Silverman, Ben Posner, Justina Frank, Kris Hipps, Noel Steere, Gail Cox, Lydia Royer

Topics: comedy, Chicago, Hyde Park, satire, sketch, man-on-the-street, interview, cable access


Voices of Cabrini

Extent: 8 videocassettes (Hi 8mm); 10 videocassettes (U-Matic); 54 videocassettes (Betacam SP); 1 videocassette (Mini DV)

Dates: 1980–1999

Description: Mark Pratt, Cora Moore, Bobby Rush, Ray Tores, David Tkac, Guana Stamps, George Robbins, John Stevens, Adrianne Bryant, Trevente Pratt, Sandra Watson, Flynn McRoberts, Marion Stamps, Moe Robbins, Peter Geller, Margaret Ray, Sirwanta Terry, Twanna Murdock, Tammy Smith, Jesse White, Walter Burnett, Joseph Shuldiner, Lynette Havis, Henry Washington, Charita Havis, Ricky Hendon, Pandora Meadows, John McCarron, Andy Shaw, Richard M. Daley, Michael Johnson, David Axelrod, Jane Byrne, Lu Palmer

Subjects: Public housing; housing policy; Chicago history

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