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Performing Arts

This is a guide to historical sources on performing arts focusing on the collections in the Chicago Collections Consortium.

ASK Chicago Collections

Have a question that isn't answered here? Try ASK Chicago Collections, a service where you can send your questions about Chicago history and culture to librarians from Chicago Collections member institutions.

Still Confused?

If you're new to archival research, or just can't figure out how to use this guide or the Explore Chicago Collections portal, we're here to help! We've created a guide for more in-depth coverage of your questions. In it you'll find


Photo credit: Woman clerk examining books at Freight Rate Department, Burlington Railroad office, Chicago, June 1948. Newberry Library. http://explore.chicagocollections.org/image/newberry/83/zp3w559/

Introduction to Research Using Primary Resources and Archives

When searching the Explore Chicago Collections portal, you will find records describing various types of materials, including individual items (e.g. images, photographs, manuscripts) or inventories of entire collections housed at archives and libraries in the Chicago area. Some items are viewable online, while others require you to visit local libraries and archives for access. The libraries and archives with collections listed in this portal have different policies and procedures, so you will need to visit their websites when planning your visit.

If you are new to using archival collections, you may encounter unfamiliar concepts and terminology associated with archival research. For further guidance, see Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by the Society of American Archivists.