Chicago Police Department Homicide Record, 1870–1930 Illinois State Archives

Compiled by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System, Northeastern Illinois University


The Chicago Homicide Record Index was compiled by Michelle Adams, an intern for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. The 12,705 records in the database were extracted from the Chicago Police Department Homicide Records.

Precisely when and how the Chicago Police Department's Homicide Records were compiled is uncertain. What is known is that Police Department personnel made a concerted effort to list all of the homicides within the city of Chicago between 1870 and 1930.

The sources for this information, whether from official records or accounts in newspapers, are unidentified. Many of the homicides listed in the Homicide Records may also be found in the Coroner's Inquest Records for Cook County, but the two records sometimes differ in the spelling of names and in factual details. Although the Homicide Records frequently cite the results of coroner's inquests, the coroner's records do not appear to be a direct source for the homicides listed. Some homicides appear in either the Coroner's Inquest Records or the Homicide Records but not in both.

The information in the Homicide Records usually includes the name of the victim, the date of the homicide or assault, the date of death if different from the date of the assault, the address or location of the homicide, the manner of death, and the name of the person(s) responsible for the death. Other information that may be given includes any arrests for homicides, the results of coroner's inquests and court cases, and sentences given to persons found guilty.

Chicago Historical Homicide Project

The goal of the Chicago Historical Homicide Project was to make available to a wide audience, of teachers and students at the undergraduate and graduate level, to professionals and to amateurs, all of the cases in the Chicago Homicide Record (1870–1930) and the rich contextual materials available for that period of Chicago history.

The Chicago Historical Homicide Project created both a verbatim transcript and a quantitative database from these handwritten records. For an academic audience, they provide both the case summaries and the coded quantitative database for use by researchers.

For the public, they invite users not only to interact with this searchable database, but also to explore some of the more fascinating aspects of the 25 cases highlighted; and to explore the historical context —with emphasis on the rule of law —of these crimes and cases.

Researchers may visit the Chicago Historical Homicide Project Web site.


Copies of the files found in this index may be obtained by mail or telephone. Inquiries should be made directly to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. IRAD cannot accept requests by email at this time. Please contact:
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Ronald Williams Library
Northeastern Illinois University
5500 N. St. Louis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625-4699

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