What’s Up, Docs?

The late Mayor Daley’s donated documents are still nowhere in sight at UIC.

Richard J. Daley’s widow and children donated the former mayor’s archives to the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2002. Nearly six years later, here is some of what you can see: ten photographs, a 2007 crystal “visionary award” from the university, and a handbill—"A Family Man for a Family City"—from the 1955 mayoral campaign.

Those items are located on the third floor of UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library at 801 South Morgan Street. The family still has not released many of the remaining Daley papers and memorabilia for the library’s archivists to catalog. (Mayor Richard M. Daley’s office did not respond to a request for a comment. His brother Michael Daley, an attorney, asked for written questions by e-mail but had not replied by Chicago’s presstime.)

The family donated the papers on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard J. Daley, who was mayor from 1955 until his death in 1976 and the father of seven children, including Richard M. Daley. The archives—speeches, official documents, letters, personal notes—had been stored in the basement of the family home in Bridgeport.

Library staffers said the Daleys are releasing the archives bit by bit and they will not be open to the public until everything has been received and processed. Mark Rosati, a spokesman for the university, said “a substantial amount of the material” was delivered “a couple of years” after the official dedication in 2002.

Rosati said that John V. Lindsay, mayor of New York from 1966 to 1973, donated his papers to Yale University. “I believe it took Yale eight years to process them. In the case of Mayor Daley, we’re talking about someone who was in office 21 years,” says Rosati, who could not predict when all of the papers would be available to researchers. A spokeswoman for Yale said that after Lindsay sent his papers in 1973, sorting his mayoral records from his personal papers took several years. The records were finally opened to the public in 1982.

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