O'Hare@50: Research Materials

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Since its creation in the mid-1950, the Northwestern University Transportation Library has been collecting and sharing its research materials and collections with the world. The resources on this page provide access to specialized collections, as well as, other unique resources specifically developed to help research O’Hare.

This unique digital collection contains 92 volumes - over 3,000 pages – related to the planning, development, and construction of the airport. It covers from 1927 through the mid-1990s and its strength lies in the areas of urban land use, architecture, commercial airport construction, municipal government, environmental regulation, and public and corporate governance.
Leigh Fisher (1922-1982) was an airport consultant and founder of Leigh Fisher Associates (LFA). Fisher advised on the development of over 200 airports worldwide. He participated in the design and construction of Chicago O'Hare International Airport from the airport’s lease negotiations in 1959 to participating as a member of the Chicago Airlines Top Committee, a small working group of airline companies and consultants who worked on the construction of the airport, from 1959 to1963. This archival collection guide consists of 22 memoranda.
Ralph H. Burke (1884-1956) was an engineer for the City of Chicago responsible for almost all aspects of the planning and early construction of O’Hare until his death in 1956. Burke, who was influential in Chicago's mid-20th century city planning, was part of both the land acquisition and the planning of the airport's footprint. Burke’s acquisition of the large land parcel, his innovations in runway design, and his plans for road and local transit left a significant legacy in the history of the airport. Despite these accomplishments and others in Chicago-area transportation planning, his legacy remains almost completely forgotten in the 21st century.
A bibliography of books wholly or partially about O’Hare currently held at Northwestern University Library.
This library guide provides research resources for air transportation. It includes sources for articles, databases, websites, and books. Some of these resources are fully available through the web, while others are only available to the NU community.
President Kennedy’s O’Hare dedication newsreel and speech text
This short March 23, 1963 dedication newsreel video takes us back to that moment in time.

Read the inspiring and futuristic full text of the speech.

From the hundreds of images available on reports from the O'Hare International Airport Digital Collection (see above), we have selected a sample and created a short slide show.

A gallery of the images with citation information is also available.