Highland Park’s history is a valuable community resource, and sharing your unique collections is vital to our efforts. Preserving and making available the history of Highland Park is the focus of the Highland Park Archives and Local History Collections (HPALHC), a collaboration between the Highland Park Public Library, the City of Highland Park, and the Highland Park Historical Society. The collaboration documents the distinct, diverse community of Highland Park and its inhabitants through government records, organizational records, family interviews, papers, correspondence and images, photography collections, maps, and much more in both digital and physical formats.

This valuable community resource is housed at the Library, and additional resources can be accessed via the Library’s website at hplibrary.org/archives-5304. Whether for research or for exploration and discovery, HPALHC ensures that the history of Highland Park is available and accessible. To preserve this history and enhance the collection, HPALHC welcomes contributions of historical documents and/or artifacts pertaining to Highland Park.

Together, let’s preserve Highland Park’s history.

Initially launched in the early 1930s in the Highland Park Public Library History Room, the collections grew and developed with the 1966 reformation of the Highland Park Historical Society in anticipation of the City’s centennial. In 2015, after the 2012 completion of a grant from the National Archives to establish a formal program, the Society’s Archives and Research Collections physically moved to the Library’s History Room.

Brief Timeline :
1934 — Highland Park Historical Society is formed, led by Jesse Lowe Smith, working with the short-lived Civil Works Administration (CWA). Smith conducted interviews and began developing a collection. Many early pioneer interviews are now digitized and available online, described and accessible for the first time. Smith dies Saturday, April 21, 1934. The Historical Society is less robust.
June 20, 1966 — The Highland Park Historical Society is re-formed with an Illinois State Charter in anticipation of the City's centennial anniversary.
2010 - The Society receives a basic grant of $86,000 from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission to process collections and set-up an archives program.
2014 — The Library and Society receive an $80,000 grant from the Illinois Secretary of State to digitize materials significant to the history of the State of Illinois. The Park
District of Highland Park also participates.
2015 — The Society archives and research collections move to the Library.
2017 — The ILSOS grant is finished significantly under budget, permitting the digitization of 2 additional collections, Postcards and Henry X Arenberg Kodochrome.
2018 - The Library receives another $80,000 grant from the Illinois Secretary of State to digitize materials Ravinia Park and Festival historical materials. Other libraries,
including the Newberry, also participate.