The Northwestern University Transportation Library (NUTL), in partnership with the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), recently completed the digitization of 92 volumes - over 3,000 pages - of historical materials related to the planning, development, and construction of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
NUTL’s collection of O’Hare materials was developed thanks to a decades-long acquisition of materials from a variety of sources. This unique digital collection contains documents from 1927 through the mid-1990s, and its strengths are in the areas of urban land use, architecture, commercial airport construction, municipal government, environmental regulation, and public and corporate governance. Interestingly, despite a high level of interest in O’Hare materials, these documents are not widely held by libraries or other cultural institutions and have not been digitized prior to this project.
The history of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, as well as its predecessor airports, is integral to the understanding of the economic growth, social life, and internationalization of the Chicagoland and Illinois region in the second half of the 20th century. By providing digital copies of these documents – while maintaing the originals – Northwestern wishes to provide better access to a research collection of a historical and cultural icon.
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