Elks National Memorial and Headquarters archives

Inclusive Dates: 
circa 1900–present
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

Physical extent undetermined. The Elks National Memorial and Headquarters archives includes correspondence, contracts and accounts, photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, publications, realia, and other materials documenting the history of the Elks national organization and the history of the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters building in Chicago. The collection includes considerable documentation of the mural sculptural decoration of the building, including photographs of the artists, the artworks, and the interior spaces with artwork installed; clippings, photographs, and correspondence by and relating to the artists; accounts and contracts; a bound volume of minutes and reports of the Elks National Memorial Headquarters Commission relating to the construction of the building, including the commissions for the decorative artworks, transcripts of descriptions of the artworks, and transcripts of correspondence with the artists. In addition, the collection includes engraved plates of the murals for publication, as well as a small set of concept drawings by Adolph Weinman for the rotunda’s exterior frieze.

Biographical Historical Note

Dedicated in 1926, the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters was designed by Egerton Swartout and features 2 mural series by Eugene Savage, 3 murals by Edwin Blashfield, and bronze sculptures by James Earle Fraser, by Laura Gardin Fraser, and by Adolph Weinman, who also designed the rotunda’s exterior frieze.