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The Center for New Deal Studies holds a wealth of information on the New Deal. These include one of the largest book collections in the Midwest, a growing archival collection, the Ephemera Collections, New Deal Films and Videos, and photographs.


The center holds some 1,500 artifacts in the Remembering FDR memorabilia collection. These include plaques, busts, political buttons, campaign textiles, toys, dolls, glass and tinware, china, paintings, and other artifacts.

While the bulk of this large collection is in storage, a representative sample of objects is on display at the Center, in Room 1040 of the Auditorium Building. In addition, displays have been exhibited at both the downtown and Robin campuses of Roosevelt University, and a slide show has been assembled for use in classes and lectures. Objects from the collection were featured in the 1997 exhibit on political conventions at the Chicago Historical Society.

The largest part of the ephemera comes from the Joseph M. Jacobs Collection of FDR Memorabilia. On loan from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, this collection consists of nearly 1,500 pieces of ephemera related to FDR. The collection also includes a few objects owned personally by FDR, including a cigarette holder, shot glass, and a deck of playing cards.

Joseph M. Jacobs (1907-1995) was a Chicago labor lawyer. A graduate of Syracuse University and John Marshall Law School, he represented more than a dozen international unions and hundreds of locals, including the Chicago Teachers Union. A well known figure in the world of political memorabilia collection, he was also a founder and leader of the Illinois Labor History Society. He also amassed a 30,000 piece collection of FDR books and documents, which he donated to the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Supplementing this collection is the Herbert Lowery Collection of FDR Artifacts, donated to the Center by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute of Hyde Park, New York. For more description of the items in these collections, see the paper, "The Iconography of FDR," by Center Executive Board Members Lynn Weiner and Ronald Tallman.

Elizabeth Balanoff Labor Oral History Collection

In 1970, Elizabeth Balanoff received a bicentennial grant of $16,825 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct and transcribe a series of interviews with individuals in the Chicago area who were involved in the labor movement.  In 2001, Roosevelt University librarians Michael Gabriel and David Green received a $10,000 grant from the Illinois State Library to digitize these interview transcripts. In 2008, Elizabeth Balanoff was inducted into the Illinois Labor History Society's Union Hall of Honor because of her work on this project. In 2010, the Murray-Green Library received the John Sessions Memorial Award for this project, an award which is presented annually by the Reference and User services Association (RUSA) to a library which has made a significant contribution to the labor movement. It is named for John Sessions, former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups.

David MacLaren Memorial Book Collection

This book collection honors the life and work of David MacLaren, an adjunct professor at Roosevelt during 2001 and 2002. Passionate about his teaching and his research, Dave was devoted to social justice and to the demolition of class barriers. He taught the U.S. history survey at Roosevelt, as well as courses on recent American and urban history, and his unfinished doctoral thesis investigated (and excoriated) the maintenance of segregated blood supplies by the American Red Cross under the supervision of the U.S. Department of War during World War II and the Korean conflict.

Dave packed a full lifetime of causes and loves into his thirty years. He was a published poet and an aspiring playwright. He played and coached soccer with an exhilarating intensity, and he agonized over the fortunes of the White Sox, the Bears, the Fire, and his hometown Pacers. Dave lived and died with his heart on his sleeve and that spirit is present still on the shelves of this collection.

David MacLaren Memorial Book Collection: Recent Acquisitions

Ashenhorst, John M. and Ruth Ahsenhorst.   All about Chicago.  1933 (done for the Century of Progress).
Beckham, Sue Bridwell.  Of Mountains and Music:  Frank W. Long.  1991.
Benson, David R.  Stories in Log and Stone:  The Legacy of the New Deal in Minnesota State Parks.  2002.  

Biebel, Charles D.  .

Making the Most of It:  Public Works in Albuquerque during the Great Depression, 1929-1942.  1986

Deak, Zoltan,  

Hugo Gellert:  Artist, Educator, Organizer.  1981.

Delong, Lea Rosson & Gregg R. Narber. 

A Catalog of New Deal Mural Projects in Iowa.  1982.

DeSola, Ralph.

Who’s Who in the Zoo:  Natural History of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians:  Prepared by Workers of the WPA Federal Writers’ Project in the City of New York.  1939.

Dixon, Penelope.  

Photographers of the Farm Security Administration:  An Annotated Bibliography, 1930-1980.

Doherty, R.J.  

Social Documentary Photography in the U.S.A.  n.d.

Evans, Robert J. 

After the Great Crash:  New Deal Art in Illinois.  1983

Flynn, Kathy.  

The New Deal:  A 75th Anniversary Celebration. 2008

Gellert, Hugo. 

Comrade Gulliver. 1935.

Gellert, Hugo.

Aesop Said So. 1936.

Gellert, Hugo and Marx, Karl  Karl Marx 'Capital' in Lithographs

Gonzales, Edward & David L. Witt. 

Spirit Ascendant:  The Art and Life of Patrocino Barela.  1996.

Gray, Mary Kackritz.  

A Guide to Chicago’s Murals. 2001

Hart, Henry with foreward by Lynd Ward.

A Relevant Memoir:  The Story of Equinox Cooperative Press.  1977.

Kiseloff, Jeff. 

Hugo Gellert.  Mary Ryan Gallery, 1986.

Kozloff, Max and John Gutmann (Lew Thomas, ed.). 

The Restless Decade:  John Gutmann’s Photographs of the Thirties.  1984.

Louisiana Writers Project (WPA-FWP) Gumbo Ya-Ya:  A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales. 1945.

Marvel, Terrence L.

30s America:  Prints from the Milwaukee Art Museum. 1991.

Minnesota Federal Writers Project (WPA-FWP)  The WPA Guide to Minnesota. 1938, 1985.
n.a. From Society to Socialism (Exhibition Catalog) 

Hugo Gellert, 1892-1985:  People’s Artist.  1986.

New Mexico Federal Writers Project:

Calendar of Events in New Mexico:  The Santa Fe Civil League and Chamber of Commerce. n.d.

Portland, Oregon.

"Timberline Lodge:  A Guided Tour. 1997

Rich, Daniel Catton (foreward).

Art for the Public by Chicago Artists of the Federal Art Project—Works Progress Administration. 1938.

Rusinow, Irving.

A Camera Report on El Cerrito:  A Typical Spanish-American Community in New Mexico.  Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1942.

Seaton, Elizabeth.   WPA Federal Art Project:  Printmaking in California, 1935-1943. 2005.
Short, C.W. and R. Stanley Brown.

Public Buildings:  A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration. 1939.
Sodders, Thomas Labor & New Deal Art Exhibition Catalog. 2012.
Sorell, Victor A. and Barbara Bernstein. Guide to Chicago Murals:  Yesterday and Today. 1979.
n.a. The Highway as Habitat:  A Roy Stryker Documentary, 1943-1955.
Warehouse Union, Local 6, ILWU-CIO, Yukon. Behind the Water Front:  History of Warehousemen’s Union ILWU Local 6.  International Longshoremen’s and Warehouse Union.  n.d. 

Weber, Max (foreward).

12 Cartoons Defending WPA by Members of the American Artists Congress. c. 1940.
Zielinski, John M. with introduction by U.S. Senator Dick Clark.   Unknown Iowa:  Farm Security Photos:  1936-1941:  Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott.  1977.