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Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Records

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Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files

Subject Files



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Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Records, 1917-1979 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Records, 1917-1979

ID: RHC/RC/157

Extent: 27.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged in two series.    Series I consists of bound volumes containing the records of the Chamber’s board of directors including agendas, minutes of meetings, special reports, and correspondence for the years 1917-1977.   Researchers should note that the contents and arrangement within each volume varies.

The second series is divided into three subseries of the Joliet Chamber’s subject files dating from 1950-1979.  Subseries A contains the Chamber’s alphabetical subject files, 1950-1979.  Committee files found in this subseries complement the committee records located in Series I.  Subseries B consists of another group of subject files but they are arranged according to the Chamber’s numerical filing system.   Subseries C covers the years 1976-1979 and is arranged according to the same numerical system as the previous group of files.

Date Acquired: 12/28/1982

Subjects: Agriculture, Airports, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of the Joliet Region, Economic development., Great Depression., Joliet (Ill), Population, Regional planning, Will County (Ill), World War I, World War II

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The records in this collection document the activities of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1917 to 1979.  The collection is arranged in two series.

Series I consists of bound volumes containing the records of the Chamber’s board of directors including agendas, minutes of meetings, special reports, and correspondence for the years 1917-1977.  Also included in many of the volumes are financial records, committee files and reports, annual meeting reports, pamphlets and press releases.  Volumes for the years 1914-1916 and 1930-1933 have not been located.  Researchers should note that the contents and arrangement within each volume varies.  The collections also contain miscellaneous special reports, surveys, studies, and city budgets (1920-1972). The Board of Director’s Meeting Minutes from 1972 to 1977 are restricted without the prior written approval of the President and Executive Director of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce.

The second series, subseries A contains the Chamber’s alphabetical subject files, 1950-1979, documenting virtually every aspect of the organization’s activities.  Committee files found in this subseries complement the committee records located in Series I.  Subseries B consists of another group of subject files but they are arranged according to the Chamber’s numerical filing system. The files in this subseries are similar in content to the alphabetical file, and document the period from 1965-1975.  Subseries C covers the years 1976-1979 and is arranged according to the same numerical system as the previous group of files.

The collection as a whole provides excellent documentation of the activities of a Chamber of Commerce located in a heavily industrialized urban area.  Almost every major urban issue of the twentieth century is touched upon in the collection, some in considerable detail.  The greatest strength of the collection is the extensive documentation of the Chamber’s activities during the post World War II era.  Unfortunately the records of the Joliet Chamber’s earliest years, 1914-1916, have not been located and correspondence and subject files for the years l9l7-l945 are sparse.

Collection Historical Note

The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the organizational successor of the Joliet Association of Commerce founded in 1914.  Although records for the 1914-1916 period have not been located, the minutes of the 1918 annual meeting of the Association refer to the meeting as the fourth annual meeting of the Association.  By-laws of the Association, adopted in 1918, indicated the broad purpose of the association “shall be to promote the general welfare of Joliet and surrounding territory.”  In 1916 membership in the Association stood at approximately 400 and activities included: promotion of good roads; attracting new industries to the area; establishing a deep waterways committee; cooperation in the war effort; preparation of an economic survey of Joliet (1922); and active promotion of the idea of a Joliet city plan. Merger discussions with related organizations had taken place during the 1919-1924 period resulting in a merger with the Commercial Club and the Merchants Association to form a new organization, the Joliet Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout the twenties the organization remained the Chamber of Commerce but early in 1934 another reorganization took place resulting in a new Joliet Association of Commerce incorporated later that same year.  During these years (1934-1940) minutes of the meetings of the Board of Director’s are dominated by Depression related subjects: bank closings, plant shut-downs, unemployment and New Deal “alphabet” agencies and their activities in the Joliet region. Membership in the Association declined drastically to 200 in 1938 and the closing of steel mills in the area and the resulting unemployment and poverty generated fears of violence and social unrest.  With the coming of World War II Joliet, as well as the rest of the nation, began to recover from the most severe depression in American history.  Joliet’s heavy industrial base served it well during the war years.  Ordnance plants employed approximately 13,000 persons in 1941 and provided a tremendous boost to the local economy.  Despite war-time shortages of automobiles, fuel, rubber, and certain commodities, retail sales volume for 1941 was the highest in Joliet’s history.

In 1946 J.E. Farrell, incoming President of the Association, called for the development of a long term plan for the JAC to serve as the basis for a Joliet city plan.  This emphasis on planning became one of the dominant themes in Association work during the post-war period. The Association’s members were instrumental in the development of a city plan, and in 1955 the firms that sponsored the drafting of the Joliet Plan created the Greater Joliet Committee to oversee the implementation of the Plan.  That same year, 1955, partly through the Association’s efforts, Joliet received an All American City Award.

The Association changed its name to the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce in 1962 and continued to expand its areas of interest through its several organizational divisions: government affairs, community development, economic development and organizational affairs. Among the Chamber’s special projects instituted over the last two decades are: the World of Work in Economic Education designed to improve the skills of educators; Counties Organized for Regional Development; Salute to Industry; Court Monitors Project; Fourth of July Committee; Intra- Industry Tours; and the Downtown Development Council.  In order to more accurately reflect its activities the Chamber in 1979 changed its name to the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Subject/Index Terms

Agriculture
Airports
Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce of the Joliet Region
Economic development.
Great Depression.
Joliet (Ill)
Population
Regional planning
Will County (Ill)
World War I
World War II

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: The Board of Director’s Meeting Minuets from 1972 to 1977 are restricted without the prior written approval of the President and Executive Director of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce; there are no other restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Harlan Bane

Acquisition Method: Harlan Bane, acting for the Board of Directors, donated the records of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on December 28, 1982.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files],
[Series II.: Subject Files],
[All]

Series I.: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files
Box 1
Volume 1-18: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files (18 volumes), 1917-1929, 1934-1944
Box 2
Volume 1-11: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files (11 volumes), 1945-1956
Box 3
Volume 1-9: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files (9 volumes), 1957-1965
Box 4
Volume 1-8: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files (8 volumes), 1966-1973
Box 5
Volume 1-7: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files (7 volumes), 1971-1977
Volume 8-10: Greater Joliet Committee, Incorporated (3 volumes), 1956-1958
Volume 11-12: Committees, Joliet Association of Commerce, A-O (2 volumes), 1954
Box 6
Volume 1: Committees, Joliet Association of Commerce, M-Z (1 volume), 1954
Volume 2: Joliet City Plan Commission (1 volume), 1918-1945
Volume 3: Economic Survey of Joliet, Illinois (1 volume), 1922
Volume 4: Major Achievements In Joliet (1 volume), 1920-1924
Folder 1-4: City of Joliet Annual Budgets, 1968-1971
Folder 5: City of Joliet Budget Work Copies, 1971-1972
Folder 6-12: Joliet Area Transportation Study, Interim Report, 1966-1968

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Board of Directors' Records; Reports; Committee Files],
[Series II.: Subject Files],
[All]


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