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Building and House History

A guide to finding architectural and other information about Chicago buildings and houses.

Master Vertical File

This collection holds photographs organized by street and by type of building (churches, motion picture theaters, government buildings, etc.).

Search tip: search our catalog, ARCHIE, by your key terms and change the "Everything" dropdown menu to "Photos/Prints (all)" to limit your search to images.

Chicago Daily News Photographs, 1902-33

These images have been scanned and can be searched in our online catalog, ARCHIE, using street name, community area, and other keywords.

They are also available via Chicago Collections , along with images from other Chicago institutions.

Chicago Sun-Times Collection

This collection consists of images produced by Chicago Sun-Times (CST) staff photographers from roughly 1940-2000. Most of the images date from 1960-2000 and have not been published. The inventory is set up in way that makes it easy to filter by neighborhood or community area: Chicago Sun-Times Collection LibGuide

Other Photo Sources

Charles Childs postcard collection--black and white postcards of the exteriors of Chicago homes and businesses c. 1910s taken by photographer Charles Childs, primarily on the north side. Come in to the Research Center to browse through this collection.

Trowbridge photographs--exterior and interior architectural photography from the 1920s and 1930s of buildings by architects such as David Adler, Frazier and Raftery, Robert deGolyer, etc.  Many luxurious homes from North Shore suburbs are included. An advance appointment is required to use this collection--contact us at for information on holdings or to set up an appointment.

Hedrich-Blessing--Architectural photography from 1929 to 1979, both of the Chicago area and nationwide. Some images have been digitized for our catalog ARCHIE, primarily those by well-known architects and firms, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Holabird and Roche/ Holabird and Root.