Historical Collection, Chicago State University

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About Chicago State History

Chicago State University was founded as the Cook County Normal School in 1867. Dedicated to the training of elementary and secondary school teachers, the institution became a renowned center of progressive education under the leadership of its second principal, Francis W. Parker. By the 1920s, European immigrants were taking advantage of the expanded curriculum and free tuition. In the 1950s, substantial numbers of African-Americans began attending, as their parents continued to migrate to Chicago from the South. By the time the normal school had evolved into a comprehensive state university in 1971, African-Americans made up the majority of the student body. Thus Chicago State has been a steady witness of the major demographic and ethnic changes experienced by Chicago's south side over the past 140 years.

A History, Chicago State University, 1867-1979

Seal of Chicago Normal CollegeThis is the official history of Chicago State University. Part I was written by Edmund W. Kearney, a Professor of History, in 1969. The section on the 1970s was written by E. Maynard Moore, an Assistant Vice President at CSU, and appeared in 1979. This is an authoritative account of the first 110 years of the university’s existence.


Buildings and Memorabilia

Library Reading Room in the Dome BuildingThese items from CSU’s Historical Photographs collection showcase buildings, events, and individuals associated with the early years of the school’s history, when it was known as Cook County Normal School (1867-1897), Chicago Normal School (1897-1913), and Chicago Normal College (1913-1938).

Emblem, The Yearbooks 1910–1997

1984 EmblemEmblem was Chicago State’s yearbook, produced regularly from 1910 until 1997. Some years it carried alternative titles, such as The Seniorian (1932), The Graduate (1978), and Reflections (1979-1984).


The Progressive Education Collection

Book Cover: School Days in The FiftiesBooks from our Progressive Education collection are featured here, and include titles by some of the leading figures in CSU's early history. Included are works by Francis Wayland Parker, the "father of progressive education", whose innovative ideas fundamentally reshaped the American system of public schooling. Also represented are other important figures in CSU's evolution such as Arnold Tomkins, Ella Flagg Young, and William Giffin.


  1. A course of study in social science : primary grades
  2. Course of study in pedagogics
  3. Course of study of the Cook County Normal School, Cook County, Ill
  4. First report of the Cook County schools
  5. Francis W. Parker School studies in education
  6. Froebel’s educational laws for all teachers
  7. Graded course of instruction for the public schools of Chicago
  8. Light gymnastics for elementary schools : manual of exercises in physical education
  9. Notes of talks on teaching
  10. Report [of the] general superintendent
  11. School days in the fifties; a true story with some untrue names of persons and places
  12. School laws of Illinois, 1869 : an act to establish and maintain a system of free schools, approved February 16, 1865 together with the amendatory acts of 1867 and 1869
  13. Talks on pedagogics : an outline of the theory of concentration
  14. The Francis W. Parker School year book
  15. The philosophy of school management
  16. The philosophy of teaching
  17. The Young and Field literary readers. Book one. A primer and first reader
  18. Year book of the professional training class