Partnership will Preserve and Store Community’s Archives and Records

Nancy Webster, Archives Director
Highland Park Historical Society
847- 432-7090

Highland Park Historical Society Teams with the Highland Park Library to Preserve and Store Community’s Archives and Records

Highland Park, IL – (December 12, 2014) – The Highland Park Library Board has signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the Highland Park Historical Society to move the community’s archives to the second floor of the library. The move is expected to take place by the end of Q1 2015.  In making the announcement, Rob Rotering, president of the Highland Park Historical Society said, “This is an important step, forming a partnership between the City government, the Library and the Historical Society to preserve our local history in perpetuity and make it more accessible to the community through the Library.”

Among the oldest pieces in the collection are the handwritten notes detailing the forming of the Highland Park City government in 1869, and the Civil War letters of John Finney, who served in the 65th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served as Highland Park City Clerk, 1881-1892 and 1895-1910. The letters were donated to the Historical Society in 2011 by his descendants. More recently, the Historical Society received the records tracing the history of B’nai Torah, a Highland Park congregation which closed in June 2014.  “This agreement is the culmination of one year of discussions on how best to serve the needs of our residents,” said Rob Olian, president of the Highland Park Library Board. “We are excited to be entrusted with these valuable documents, and make the available to residents and researchers.”

As part of the agreement, ownership of the historical assets is being transferred to the City of Highland Park and housed at the library where the Historical Society was first established by Jesse Lowe Smith in 1934. The Historical Society will advise the City and seek additional donations from the Community. Nancy Webster, archives director, will join the Library in an expanded role, including acting as a consultant to other Highland Park organizations on preservation

With that in mind, she has initiated programs to preserve and make accessible records of both the Highland Park Fire Department and Park District of Highland Park. By storing archives and records at the library, citizens and researchers will have increased access to the archives which will be available during traditional library hours of operations. The records will be kept in a closed stack and, by request, will be retrieved by library personnel.

The Highland Park Historical Society received a state charter in 1966 and is an independent
501c3 organization.