Cook County Normal School Records
9501 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, IL 60628
Extent: 3.5 Linear Feet
Cook County Normal School was founded in 1867, largely through the initiative of John F. Eberhart, the Commissioner of Schools for Cook County. He convinced the County Commissioners to hold a teacher training institute in April 1860; its success led to the widespread acceptance of the need for a permanent school to educate teachers. In March 1867 the Cook County Board of Supervisors created a Normal school at Blue Island on a two year experimental basis. In 1869 the school opened as a permanent institution in Englewood, then a village far beyond the outskirts of Chicago. After Wentworth died in 1883, he was replaced by Colonel Francis Wayland Parker, a towering figure in the history of American education. John Dewey wrote in The New Republic in 1930 that Parker, “more than any one person, was the father of the progressive educational movement.” Parker’s methods were so novel and influential that a highly critical study of American schools conducted in 1892 and 1893 by a New York pediatrician held up Cook County Normal School as a rare example of effective pedagogy.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection includes a large number of course catalogs, which then were referred to as “Announcements,” especially from the 1870s. These catalogs provide extensive detail on CCNS’s curricular offerings and philosophy. It also contains reports on the Cook County schools and reports from the Board of Supervisors, historical research materials, library accession books, alumni materials, and books by and about CCNS faculty and students.