Harold Washington Archives & Collections. Mayoral Records. Press Office Records

Institution: Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-747-4300
Date: 1979-1988
Extent: 73 Linear Feet
Finding Aid: None

Biographical/Historical Note:
Grayson Mitchell was Press Secretary from 1983 until 1985. Mitchell was also Press Secretary under previous mayor, Jane M. Byrne and there is a significant amount of material from her administration, 1979-1983. Alton Miller replaced Mitchell on February 10, 1985. Pat Michalski served as Deputy Press Secretary (and later as Press Secretary under Acting Mayor Eugene Sawyer).

Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Press Office Series were created by the Press Secretary, Deputy Press Secretary, and their administration. The records served as administrative as well as informational files.

The records have been arranged into six series:
Office of the Press Secretary. Included in the materials are correspondence, reports, memoranda, press releases, resumes, and plans from various city departments. Also present are speeches and press releases, in both draft and final form. In some cases the files document decisions made by the Press Office in dealing with certain issues and crises.

Press Clippings. Press clippings were divided up by the Press Office into the following categories: Spanish press clippings; Black press clippings; Southwest/Southeast press clippings; Loop/South Loop/near north/gay/union/college/national press clippings; Northeast/Northwest press clippings; ethnic/Asian/city-wide/state-wide/suburban press clippings.

Press Releases. These are materials prepared for the media by various staff in the Press Office. The bulk of the material was accessioned as part of the records of the Press Office itself although a group of bound press releases from 1984-1985, originally in the records of Lucille Dobbins (Administrative Assistant to the Mayor), was added.

By 1985 the press release was usually a weekly activity, instead of appearing sporadically. Materials from 1983-1985 included fact sheets, biographies or resumes of mayoral appointees, budgets, executive orders, speeches, mayoral statements, news clippings and court rulings.
Mixed in with the press releases were drafts and research materials used to prepare the press releases.

After 1983 press releases were prepared occasionally in Spanish as well as English, although in shortened form. There is a logbook of press releases produced from January to April 1985. The “Newsbrief” outlines commenced in 1986, summarizing the mayor’s weekly activity. The quality of materials declined during 1987; and some pages are missing and others are only drafts. Press releases from the fall of 1987 are nearly all missing.

The press releases have been arranged chronologically. At the end of the chronological files are alphabetical subject files dating from 1984 and 1985. Mayoral speeches and schedules have been removed to complete the Schedules and Speeches sub-series.

Proclamations. Records include executive orders, proclamations, and letters of congratulations, correspondence and telegrams.

Schedules and Briefing Notes. These records outline the daily activities of the Mayor, though not the private, confidential, or council meetings he attended. Included was all the information the mayor and his staff would need to know about the event – the name of the venue, the time of the event, other participants, background information on the organization sponsoring the event, requirements of the mayor, and political ramifications of the event.

Speeches. Most of these speeches were prepared by Brian Boyer or Marc Zalkin. Researchers can search for speeches by date or by the name of the sponsoring organization or event.

Related Material: None