From soaring joy to deep grief, beaming pride to livid outrage, the photojournalists of the Chicago Sun-Times captured these emotions and more as they doggedly, and often artfully, documented the city’s breaking news. Their bold images—of sports and entertainment legends, presidents, and everyday Chicagoans—earned the Sun-Times the moniker “Chicago’s Picture Newspaper” during the twentieth century.
Featuring 150 images from the Chicago History Museum’s Chicago Sun-Times collection, Millions of Moments is a first look at highlights from five million negatives spanning the 1940s to the early 2000s—one of the largest newspaper photograph collections ever acquired by an American museum. As the Museum continues to process negatives from this extraordinary collection, new images will be shared through our online portal, CHM Images, that reveal the real Chicago through the lenses of award-winning Sun-Times photographers.
Accessing the Collection
We’ve been working hard to make these pieces of history available to the public. We’ll be updating the collection over the next few months and by the end of June 2023, 2.6 million images will be available for research use online. An additional 2.4 million physical negatives will be available to view in person, by appointment and advance request, at the Abakanowicz Research Center. Learn more at chicagohistory.org/suntimescollection
Highlights from the collection include:
- Early events of the Civil Rights era, including school busing, segregated housing, Black Panther activities, and notable leaders in Chicago such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Dick Gregory, and Jesse Jackson
- Local and national politics, including activities of Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley, Richard M. Daley, Harold Washington, and Jane Byrne; party conventions; and presidential visits
- Sporting events, including Chicago’s professional teams, university sports, high school athletics, and Special Olympics
- Built environment, including South and West Side neighborhood scenes, iconic architecture, and public housing
- The work of several award-winning photographers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Jack Dykinga (1971) and John H. White (1982); Bob Black, winner of the 1984 World Press Photo award in the Daily Life, Singles category; and Pablo Martínez Monsiváis, who later won a Pulitzer Prize (1999) as an Associated Press photographer
Processing of the Chicago Sun-Times collection is generously supported by the TAWANI Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and Bon and Holly French. Funding for Millions of Moments provided by Jamee & Marshall Field V and DePaul University.
Chicago Exposed: Defining Moments from the Chicago Sun-Times Photo Archive reveals Chicago. It is based on the most eye-opening photographs taken over the past 80 years by the staffs of the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Pictures of labor strikes, racial unrest, immigration, crimes and catastrophes, renewal and resistance. But what makes this book so powerful is its bold writing. Each of these iconic photographs is paired with text from varied and vital writers that bring the pictures alive, including Mamie Till-Mobley, Mike Royko, Bobby Rush, and Timuel Black. Their words offer insight into what the photograph, taken decades ago, means to Chicago now.
Edited by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, curators of Millions of Moments. Introduction by Lee Bey, author and architecture critic. Foreword by John Russick.