The Joliet Area Historical Museum Archive collects, preserves, and aids in interpreting the history of the Joliet Area. Our finding aids provide researchers with access to primary resources housed in the museum’s archival collection. In addition to a folder-level inventory of a collection’s contents, a finding aid also provides info on the scope, arrangement, and historical context of a collection.
Each collection listed below includes a link to the appropriate finding aid. Additional finding aids will be added on a continual basis.
For more information on how to access the Joliet Area Historical Museum Archive in person please visit our Collections Research Page or contact Curator, Steven Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (815) 723-5201 ext. 7214
Click on the Collection Title below to link to the appropriate Finding Aid
Joliet Area Newspapers, 1853-1924, 1936-1987
The Joliet Area Newspapers Collection houses bound issues of significant Joliet newspapers including the Joliet Daily News, Joliet Daily Times, Joliet Free Press, Joliet Herald News, Joliet Morning News, Joliet Republican, Joliet Signal, and the Joliet Sun. The newspapers cover approximately from 1853-1987 with significant gaps in some areas.
Dr. William Dougall Papers, 1856-1928, 1935
The Dr. William Dougall Papers collection contains materials relating to the life and work of Dr. Dougall in the Joliet area. The collection contains correspondence, photographs, professional and financial records. There are also materials relating to the life of Dr. Dougall’s wife, Cassie Dougall as well as her father, Edwin Walker.
Joliet Township High School Collection, 1881-2003, 2012
The Joliet Township High School Collection contains materials relating to the history of Joliet Township High School, including the East, West and Central campuses. The collection contains printed materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, alumni records, scrapbooks, and materials relating to clubs and organizations at the high school.
Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railway Collection, 1895-1988, 2015
The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Collection contains materials relating to the history and operation of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. The collection contains printed materials, photographs, correspondence, publications, and management records.
Ridings Family Collection, 1900-1970
The Ridings Collection contains photographs relating to the family history of Henry Vernal (H.V) and Agnes (Brady) Ridings. The bulk of the photographs in the collection relate to the Ridings family but also include their descendants and relatives highlighting important Joliet families: Loughran, McFarland, Duckworth, and Gray families. In addition to photographs the collection includes the wedding album of H.V. and Agnes (Brady) Ridings as well as a small amount of correspondence from Agnes (Brady) Ridings and additional records.
Joliet Public Schools Collection, 1890-1977, 2011
The Joliet Public Schools Collection contains materials relating to the history of Joliet Public Grade and Junior High Schools. The collection contains printed materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, diplomas, PTA records, Joliet Grade School band materials, and other records relating to the history of Joliet Public Schools from 1890 through 1977.
Ahrens and Maher Family Collection, 1916-1963
The Ahrens and Maher Family Collection contains family records, warranty deeds, newspapers, and other documents relating to the history of the Maher and Ahrens family.
Platt Family Papers, 1924-1945
The Platt Family Papers collection contains correspondence received by Raymond and Sadie (Emerson) Platt from 1924 through 1945.
EJ&E J-Milepost Photographs Collection, 1946-1976
The EJ&E J-Milepost Photograph collection contains photographs taken for their monthly publication, The J-Milepost. The collection also contains a series of aerial photographs taken in Illinois and Indiana of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern rail line.
Joliet Post Office Collection, 1879-1970
The Joliet Post Office Collection contains financial records, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, Union Charters, and other records relating to the history of the Joliet Post Office and Postal Clerks.
Joliet Catholic High Schools Collection, 1887-1990, 2008
The Joliet Catholic High Schools collection contains photographs, newspapers, scrapbooks, commencement programs, and other materials relating to the history of Joliet’s Catholic High Schools including De La Salle, Joliet Catholic, Providence, St. Francis Academy, and St. Mary’s Academy.
Joliet Colleges and University Collection, 1925-1991, 2008, 2010-2011
The Joliet Colleges and University Collection contains photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, publications and other materials relating to the history of Joliet’s Colleges and Universities including: Joliet Junior College, Lewis University and the College of St. Francis.
Oakwood Cemetery Collection, 1855-1950, 1980-2008
The Oakwood Cemetery Collection contains documents, records, and maps relating to the history and operation of Oakwood Cemetery. The collection contains blueprints, burial records, ledgers, survey plats, lot cards, newspaper articles, and other materials relating to the history of Oakwood Cemetery.
Joliet Postcard Collection, C. 1900-1940, C. 1990s
The Joliet Postcard Collection contains a variety of Joliet area postcards primarily from the early 1900s through the 1940s.
Joliet Area Historical Society Records, 1922, 1981-2002
The Joliet Area Historical Society Records collection contains materials relating to the history of the Joliet Area Historical Society The collection contains printed materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, exhibit records, newsletters and other records relating to the history of the Joliet Area Historical Society from 1981 through 2002.
Holly Club Collection, 1894-1995
The Holly Club Collection contains materials relating to the history of the Holly Club in Joliet. The collection contains meeting minutes, organizational records, scrapbooks, photographs, membership information, and other records relating to the fundraisers, charities and volunteer work completed by the group.
Bertie Clair Wellman, WWI Collection, 1917-1919, 1923, 1936
Bertie Clair Wellman, a Joliet native, served in France during WWI from 1918 to 1919. This collection contains documents and records Wellman saved from his deployment including publications, soldier records, correspondence, and photographs.
Joliet Area Clubs and Organizations Collection, 1859-2003, 2007
The Joliet Area Clubs and Organizations Collection contains materials relating to the history of numerous clubs in Joliet including, but not limited to, the Women’s Club of Joliet, the American Association of University Women, the Young Men’s Christian Association, Job’s Daughters, the Joliet Squares, and the Joliet Floral and Garden Club. The collection contains organizational records, scrapbooks, meeting minutes, yearbooks, event programing, photographs, newspaper articles, and other materials relating to the history of clubs in Joliet.
Little Miss Black Joliet Pageant Collection, 1976-1999
The Little Miss Black Joliet Pageant Collection includes programs from the Little Miss Black Joliet pageant from 1984 until 1999. The collection also includes programs from subsidiary pageants and Black Pride events, including it’s predecessor, Miss Black Joliet as well as Miss Black America of Illinois, Miss Black Illinois, and Ms. Will County Senior Citizen.
Mayor Arthur Janke Collection, 1918, 1940-1961
The Mayor Arthur Janke Collection includes documents and photographs relating to Janke’s time as Mayor of Joliet. Materials include newspaper articles, municipal publications, campaign cards, conference materials, photographs, and other items relating to the history of Janke’s time in office. Select materials extend outside of this time frame, but the bulk of the materials in this collection range from the early 1940s through the 1950s.
Thomas Bourrie Records, 1909-1960
Thomas Bourrie worked as a carpenter and contractor in Joliet from the early 1900s through the late 1940s. This collection contains financial records in relation to Bourrie’s work; this includes tax records, bank statements, financial ledgers, business receipts, invoices, and property deeds.
Phoenix Horseshoe Collection, 1857, 1895-1971
The Phoenix Horseshoe Collection contains correspondence, agreements, blueprints, catalogs, publications, and photographs pertaining to the operation of the Phoenix Horse Shoe Co. The company, based out of New York and Chicago, operated a manufacturing plant in Joliet beginning in 1893.
Joliet Steel Companies Collection, 1910-1926, 1942, 1971, 1986, 2006
Joliet is known as the City of Steel and Stone, a slogan dating back to the 19th century. Rich deposits of limestone led to a thriving quarrying industry, and in the years that followed the Civil War, a huge iron and steel producing industry emerged in the city. The Joliet Steel Companies Collection contains correspondence, company publications, invoices, registration records, and photographs pertaining to the history of various steel and wire manufacturing companies in Joliet.
Joliet Theaters Collection, 1895-1931, 1940-1986, 2001
During the 1920’s families began to move from rural areas closer to major cities in response to a new ease in transportation and suburban development. Movie palaces, theaters, and performance art were gaining popularity across the States during this same time period. Joliet was home to several such theaters including the Grand Theatre, Orpheum Theater, Joliet Theatre, Mode Theatre, Piccolo Playhouse, the Princess Theatre, and most prominently Rubens Rialto Square Theatre. The Joliet Theatres Collection contains programs, publications, advertisements, blueprints, and photographs relating to the history of these theatres.
Dr. Robert Sterling Oral History Collection, 1972-1979
Throughout the 1970’s Dr. Robert Sterling, a history professor at Joliet Junior College, and his students conducted oral history interviews with Joliet area residents that were born in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Dr. Robert Sterling Oral History Collection contains the transcriptions of interviews and accompanying photographs of the interviewees.
Joliet Religious Organizations, 1870, 1879, 1902-2010
The Religious Organizations Collection contains materials relating to this history of churches and other religious groups in Joliet. The collection contains photographs, programs, meeting minutes, directories, service bulletins, correspondence, and additional materials ranging from 1870 through the 1990s and minimal materials from the early 2000s.
Illinois State Penitentiary Collection, 1878-1996, 2000
The Illinois State Penitentiary Collection contains labor contracts, correspondence, invoices, employee policies and procedures, training modules and materials, inmate records, inmate publications, newspapers, scholarly publications, and photographs pertaining to the history of the Illinois State Penitentiary, specifically the Joliet and Stateville branches.
Edward G. "Foxy" Powers Collection, 1907-1950
Edward G. Powers, known as “Foxy” Powers was appointed the first State’s Attorney Investigator in Illinois in 1910. He worked under Illinois State Attorney’s for Will County, investigating criminal cases in preparation for trial. This collection contains court records, ledgers, warrants, and indictment records from cases Powers worked as Investigator in Will County from the early 1900s until his retirement in the late 1940s.
John Whiteside Collection, 1981-1988
The John Whiteside Collection contains Whiteside’s columns published in the Joliet Herald News from 1981 through 1989.