With over $4,300 recently raised from Chicago Genealogical Society (CGS) members, followers, and Board of Directors, the entire collection of The Microphone newsletters (of the Western Electric Hawthorne Works facility located in Cicero, Illinois) has now been scanned. The result of the scanning project is that high-resolution, searchable images of the collection will be available to current members."
A small sample of the searchable newsletters – a sneak peek! – are now available. In the future all the issues will be available through the Members Only section of the CGS website. The balance of the collection will be made available later this year after CGS completes the conversion of their website (which will include more storage capacity for this and other collections).
While the digitized collection will be available to CGS members around the world, the entire physical collection of newsletters was gifted by CGS/EDHS to the Chicago History Museum for long-term archival and stewardship. The original printed newsletters will therefore be available to individuals, families, and researchers for generations to come.
For genealogists, researchers, and historians, these newsletters are a true treasure trove of personal information. The newsletters are chockful of employee names and occupations, plus dates of employment, births, anniversaries, retirements, and deaths. And, of course, the newsletters are filled with ample photos of the employees. With the Hawthorne Works being such a large and iconic employer for decades, we know that many of you will find these to be important documents in researching your Chicago family genealogy and history.
The collection of Microphone newsletters is named the Robert P. Jerich / EDHS Collection after Bob Jerich. Bob, a retired executive from Lucent Technologies (the company that acquired one portion of the former Western Electric Company), donated the significant collection just over a year ago. The Microphone was the newsletter of the Western Electric Hawthorne Works facility in Cicero, IL. The corporate newsletter was initially a weekly publication (from 1922 to 1932), before it was changed to a once monthly publication. Publication ceased in 1985, just months before the Hawthorne Works facility closed in 1986.