Local history

From its early days as a Potawatami settlement to the diverse suburb it is today, Skokie has a rich and varied history. Explore Skokie’s past using the library’s digital and print collections.

STORIES IN THE TIME OF COVID

We never expected to experience a pandemic. Telling stories is one way to organize our experiences, process our emotions, and make memories. We invited residents in and around Skokie to share stories, images, and expressions created in response to the uncertainties of this time. 

View the Stories in the Time of COVID collection.
Submit your own story to the collection.

Digital collections

Attempted Nazi March

Find extensive local newspaper coverage and recordings documenting the controversy surrounding the National Socialist Party of America attempted marches in Skokie in 1977 and 1978.

For more video, watch WTTW's documentary, Skokie: Invaded but Not Conquered and find video clips on the Skokie Archive.

Dr. Louise Klehm Archive

Examine the life and work of Skokie's first female physician. Dr. Louise Klehm graduated from medical school in 1902, interned at Jane Addams' Hull House, studied surgery in Europe, and returned to Skokie to practice medicine. 

Fair Housing in Skokie, 1961-1971

Examine the history behind Skokie’s 1967 Fair Housing ordinance.

Niles Township Historic Documents Digital Collection

Take a deep dive into local history by exploring primary sources from the 1840s-1940s created by Niles Township leaders, ranging from early township meetings, property tax assessments, and school expenses to the construction of roads and ditches essential for a rapidly growing population.

Niles Township High School Yearbooks, 1938-1989

Browse the yearbooks from Niles East (1938-1980), Niles West (1962-1989), and Niles North (1965-1989) High Schools.

Skokie Fire Department History

Explore more than 700 artifacts detailing the history of the village's fire department, including photos of:

Skokie Stories

Watch and listen to interviews with Skokie residents that capture some of the history and daily life of our village.

Skokie History Project

The Skokie History Project contains a broad sample of historical materials relating to Skokie including:

Skokie: A Centennial History

Created to commemorate Skokie's centennial in 1988, this online version reproduces the full-text of the paper volume (also available at the library).

Solar Eclipse Party

Look through photos and handwritten messages to the future from our Solar Eclipse viewing party on August 21, 2017.

Telephone Directories

Skokie and Niles Center Telephone Directories
View digitized telephone books from Skokie (known as Niles Center until November 14, 1940), Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, Niles, Glenview, and Northbrook from 1924-1953.

North suburban and Chicago Telephone Directories
View telephone books from Library of Congress online covering the north suburbs from 1885-1975.

Newspapers and obituaries

The NileHiLite

Browse The NileHiLite, the school newspaper of Niles East, a Skokie high school founded in 1939 and closed in 1980. The newspaper was written, edited, and published by the students in the school’s journalism class and documented high school life, interests, events, and news for four decades.

Skokie Newspaper Obituaries

Search Skokie obituaries from 1960 to the present. Full-text obituaries are available starting with March 2013.

Skokie Newspaper Index

Research local events, people, and organizations in our local newspaper index. To get the articles, come in to the library or give us a call.

The Villager

Page through eight issues of The Villager, a short-lived publication from 1958-1959, that covered news from Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, Niles, and Golf.

Resources at the library

Still stumped in your research? We have many local history resources within the library building, including: