The Book Circle Records

Institution: Chicago State University - Archives and Special Collections
9501 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: 773-995-2586
Date: 1943-1993
Extent: 4.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
The Book Circle was a reading group organized by African-American women on the south side of Chicago to “boost morale” during World War II. The group resolved to read a book a month and continued to meet on a monthly basis over the next fifty years. The Book Circle was founded by Ora C. Morrow, who became the its first president. Oneita Farrell was chair of the Steering Committee and later replaced Morrow as president. Vivian Harsh, Chicago’s first African-American librarian and curator of what is now the Harsh collection at Woodson Public Library, was also a member and contributor. Originally the group met at the South Side Community Center, but by the 1980s they were gathering at the Windemere Hotel in Hyde Park.

Scope and Content Note:
The collection includes 8 carefully compiled scrapbooks. Three deal with meetings and readings from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; these include correspondence and photographs as well. The others are devoted to the group’s constitutions, programs, and invitations. Three bound volumes contain The Book Circle’s meeting minutes, and there is a small collection of realia, including a porcelain miniature book given to Ora C. Morrow on the group’s 50th anniversary.

Related Material: None