The Sporting Life: Stories from Chicago Collections archives

Sports in Chicago Collections

From world championships to drought seasons, Chicagoans have always enjoyed their sports. This digital exhibit, The Sporting Life in Chicago, surveys the essential role sports have played in our city through the unique archives, photographs and memorabilia of Chicago Collections’ member institutions. We asked our 27 member institutions to each submit two pieces depicting the wide variety of sports history in the Chicago area, and members as diverse as the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, Lincoln Park Zoo and more contributed to this first fully digital exhibition. There is so much more to sports history in Chicago and member institutions' sports collections than we could include in our "highlight reel," so we hope you will dig deeper into these gems using the links to further searches in our online research portal, EXPLORE Chicago Collections. In many cases we have also linked to the Chicago Tribune, the Encyclopedia of Chicago and many other primary and secondary sources.

As images started pouring in, themes began to emerge. In this exhibit we are showcasing images of Women Athletes, Famous Faces, Amateur Hour, Academics and Athletics and Environmental Recreation. Many of our images fit into more than one theme - at the bottom of each page is a gallery with all relevant images and information about the larger collection they come from, as well as their parent institution. We also have a gallery with all of our images - take a look!

To kick us off, let's listen to Chicago legend Harry Caray leading a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." This audio clip is from the Bob Crawford audio archive at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Special Collections and University Archives.

Now that we are in a sports state of mind, we can explore the various themes linked below. The themes discussed in this exhibit are not meant to be read in any particular order, and you can start with any topic. You can always come back to this home page by clicking on the bulleted list icon on the top left of your screen. You can navigate to any of the other themes or our resources page from that icon as well.

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  1. Harry Caray (Cubs baseball announcer). The famous play-by-play announcer leads the crowd in the traditional 7th inning stretch rendition of "Take Me Out to The Ball Game."