Small Manuscripts collections

Inclusive Dates: 
1810–1986

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

Included in the Small Manuscripts collection are items relating to the Auditorium Theater Council, dated 1957-1967, and to the Works Progress Administration, dated 1947.

Biographical Historical Note

The Auditorium Theatre Council is the not-for-profit group founded in 1960 to manage the Auditorium Theatre in the landmark 1889 Auditorium Building, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan.

During the Great Depression, the federal government created a series of work relief programs to employ artists and to support art for the general public. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was established in 1934; in 1935, it was replaced by the larger Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (FAP/WPA), which continued until 1942. Through these programs, artists created numerous easel paintings, prints, sculptures, and murals for public buildings, especially schools, libraries, hospitals, and post offices. Graphic design was also part of the program. The programs were particularly active in Illinois.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Auditorium Theatre Council (Chicago, Ill.) Records and Photographs of the Auditorium Theater and Hotel, Chicago History Museum; Auditorium Theatre Council Records, Newberry Library; U.S. Work Projects Administration, Illinois, Poster Collection, Chicago History Museum; Work[s] Progress Administration Federal Art Project Photograph Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago; Works Progress Administration Collection, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center Special Collections