A two-year effort by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library to chronicle the tenure of Chicago’s longest-serving mayor through videotaped interviews with former presidents, city officials and others has been completed.
The Richard M. Daley Oral History Project consists of 45 interviews including candid discussions with former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, chiefs of staff, political advisors, administration officials and family.
The interviews took place from 2017 to 2019 following the former mayor’s decision to make UIC the repository for his extensive collection of papers and artifacts amassed during his 22 years as mayor.
Daley’s donated papers have been available since 2018 to researchers and students in the Special Collections and University Archives of the Richard J. Daley Library, named after his father, who served 21 years as mayor.
Due to logistical issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the library is not currently open to researchers but a website dedicated to the Daley papers is expected to be up and running this fall. The interviews and associated transcripts are available online here.
The videotaped interviews and documents will be part of a class offered this fall for Honors College students. The class, “The Daley’s Chicago: From Midcentury to Global City,” will be taught by David Greenstein, lecturer in Special Collections and University Archives.
“These oral histories will enable students to analyze first-hand accounts of Chicago’s political history,” Greenstein said. “Right now, it’s especially important for student researchers to have access to primary source evidence online, so this collection is a valuable resource that will enhance our coursework with the Library’s Daley papers.”