Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
WASHINGTON, Harold (1922-1987)

WASHINGTON, HAROLD, a Representative from Illinois; born in Chicago, Ill., April 15, 1922; attended the public schools; B.A., Roosevelt University, Chicago, 1949; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, Evanston, Ill., 1952; admitted to the Illinois bar in 1953 and commenced practice in Chicago; served in the United States Air Force Engineers, 1942-1946; assistant city prosecutor, Chicago, 1954-1958; arbitrator, Illinois industrial Commission, 1960-1964; member, Illinois house of representatives, 1965-1976; member, Illinois senate, 1977-1980; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-seventh and Ninety-eighth Congresses and served until his resignation on April 30, 1983 (January 3, 1981-April 30, 1983); elected mayor of Chicago on April 12, 1983; reelected in 1987 and served from April 29, 1983, until his death in Chicago on November 25, 1987; interment in Oakwood Cemetery.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Springfield, IL
Papers: In the Bernard E. Epton Papers, 1969-1983, 1.42 linear feet.
Other authors include Harold Washington.


Chicago Public Library
Archival Collections
Chicago, IL
Papers: In the Illinois State Representative Records, 1969-1976, 3 linear feet.
The records were created by Harold Washington while serving as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. The material documents legislation and committees and contains index card files of constituents, correspondence, news clippings, news letters and press releases, speeches, artifacts and photographs. Includes material on the Fair Employment Practices Commission, the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday bill, the Medical Malpractices Act and the activities of the Judiciary Committee. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Congressional Records, 1981-1983, 54 linear feet.
The congressional records of Harold Washington document his promotion and sponsorship of legislation, his committee work and his involvement with the Congressional Black Caucus. The papers contain correspondence and other contacts with his constituents, including case work, fund raising, and the organization of task forces to deal with such issues as housing and health. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Mayoral Records, 1983-1987, 15 linear feet.
The Community Services Sub-cabinet files focus on the "people-oriented" departments of City government. The separate series on AIDS and education reflect the importance of these issues to the Washington Administration. The Chicago Public Library series is mainly concerned with the design-build competition for the new central library, which was named after Mayor Washington. Mostly, these documents date from the years 1983-1987 although there is a substantial portion that carries over into 1988, after the death of Mayor Washington. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Mayoral Records, 1983-1987, 27 linear feet.
The Development Sub-cabinet staff were Mayor Harold Washington's link to several Commissioners' Departments, including the Department of Economic Development, Department of Planning, Department of Housing, Mayor's Office of Employment and Training, Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Chicago Housing Authority. Through these links the Liaison and his staff were able to work on projects involving neighborhood development and economic development. The records contain administrative files, correspondence, memoranda, project files, meeting notes and minutes, planning reports, economic studies, reports from other city and community agencies from the files of Mayoral Liaison Ben Reyes and his two assistants, Shelly Sandow and Juanita Burris. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Mayoral Records, 1983-1987, 7 linear feet.
The Financial and Administrative Record Group represent files created by Lucille R. Dobbins, Assistant to the Mayor for Finance and Administration, and Kevin A. Price, Fiscal Policy Economist. The documents within this series are varied and include reports, minutes, memos, personnel issues, monthly status reports and correspondence. There is also correspondence and other documents from other city agencies concerning economic issues or other administrative matters in which Dobbins's office might have responsibility. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Mayoral Records, 1983-1987, 99 linear feet.
Material in the Press Office Series represents the records created by the Press Secretary, Deputy Press Secretary and their administration within the Harold Washington Mayoral Administration, 1983-1987. The records contain correspondence, reports, memos, press releases, and plans and resumes from various city departments, as well as memos and notes written by Press Office staff. Also included are speeches, statements, and press releases, in both draft and final form, press clippings, proclamations, executive orders, schedules and briefing notes. A finding aid is available in the repository.


University of Oklahoma
The Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial Archive, Department of Communication
Norman, OK
Videoreels and Videocassettes: 1983-1987, 15 commercials on 8 videoreels and 53 commercials on 3 videocassettes.
The commercials used during Harold Washington's campaigns for the 1983 and 1987 mayoral elections in Chicago, Illinois, Democratic Party. The collection also contains the 1983 mayoral debate.

  • "Harold Washington" in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008.
  • Levinsohn, Florence Hamlish. Harold Washington: A Political Biography. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 1983.
  • Miller, Alton. Harold Washington: The Mayor, The Man. Chicago, IL: Bonus Books, 1989.
  • Rivlin, Gary. Fire on the Prairie: Chicago's Harold Washington and the Politics of Race. New York: H. Holt, 1992.
  • Travis, Dempsey. Harold: The People's Mayor: An Authorized Biography of Mayor Harold Washington. Chicago, IL: Urban Research Press, 1989.
  • Washington, Harold. Climbing A Great Mountain: Selected Speeches of Mayor Harold Washington. Commentary by Alton Miller. Foreword by Coretta Scott King. Chicago, IL: Bonus Books, 1988.