Bernard E. Epton Papers

Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago - Special Collections and University Archives
Richard J. Daley Library
801 S. Morgan St., Room 3-330
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-996-2742
Date: 1960-1987
Extent: .5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Born in the early 1920s, Bernard Epton grew up in Chicago, attending Northwestern, the University of Chicago and DePaul University Law School. During World War II, Epton joined the Air Force, rising to rank of captain and flying 25 missions over Europe. After returning from the war, Epton became a senior member of the law firm Epton, Mullin, Segal & Druth. Epton also became involved in Illinois politics, serving as a State Representative for the 24th District for 14 years. As a legislator, he was named "Best Legislator" by the Independent Voters of Illinois. In 1983, Epton ran for the mayoralty of Chicago as a Republican. In the general election he faced Democrat Harold Washington, a leading African-American politician. When the Democratic Machine of Richard J. Daley broke ranks and supported the white Epton over his black Democratic opponent, the campaign became mired in racial controversy. Despite the white-backlash vote, however, Washington managed to win the election and became the first African-American mayor in Chicago history.

Scope and Content Note:
The Bernard E. Epton papers includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, news releases, issue papers, photographs, certificates and an obituary. The bulk of the items are photocopies of originals held by Dale Epton and those returned to Marilyn Ladik, Epton's secretary. The papers focus on Epton's 1983 Republican campaign for Mayor of Chicago. Information on such political issues as campaign ethics, public safety and transportation, education, and economic development can be found in these papers. There is also Epton's report on the Harld Washington income tax court case. Also included are items relating to Etpon's army career, the Epton Foundation at St. Xavier University of Chicago, and family photographs.

Related Material: None