Skip to main content

Research Materials

photo of kennedy at ohare

Since its creation in the mid-1950's, 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.

The Chicago O’Hare International Airport Digital Collection

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.

Read More about the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Digital Collection

Leigh Fisher Archival Collection Guide

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.

Read More about Leigh Fisher Archival Collection Guide

Ralph H. Burke: Early Innovator of Chicago O’Hare International Airport

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.

Read More about Ralph H. Burke: Early Innovator of Chicago O’Hare International Airport

O’Hare Airport Bibliography

A bibliography of books wholly or partially about O’Hare currently held at Northwestern University Libraries.

Read More about O’Hare Airport Bibliography

Air Transportation Library Guide

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.  

Read More about Air Transportation Library Guide

President Kennedy’s Visit

This short March 23, 1963 dedication newsreel video takes us back to that moment in time.