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Des Plaines Memory is an online archive of historical and cultural materials that illustrate the continuing story of Des Plaines, Illinois, the "City of Destiny." Content is curated by the Des Plaines History Center, the Des Plaines Public Library, community partners and individual users. The site, collections, and individual items are managed and maintained by the Des Plaines Public Library.

Continue reading to learn more about what you will find in Des Plaines Memory and who works on this exciting project.

What will you find here?

Des Plaines Memory contains a wide variety of material from different eras in the history of Des Plaines: spanning the mid-19th century up to the present day.

Des Plaines Memory

Explore Des Plaines past with this collection of photographs, letters, postcards, and more. We feature items on several topics including Camp Pine, Brown's Department Store, Plew Homes, to name a few.

History Center Cross Section

During 2016 and 2017, the Des Plaines History Center digitized its holdings of historic photos using grant funds from the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. Many of these scanned images are or will be available to view on Des Plaines Memory in the History Center Cross Section and other projects.

My Des Plaines Memory

The My Des Plaines Memory project is curated by our users. Photographs can be uploaded via our user contribution form. All user contributions are integrated within our main collection, Des Plaines Memory.

Telephone Directories

Search through residential and local business listings in this collection of telephone directories dating back to 1940.

The Telephone Directories collection is only available within the Des Plaines Public Library or the Des Plaines History Center.

Item Types

These are some of the types of items you will find in Des Plaines Memory. Just click on one to see what we have.

Who works on Des Plaines Memory?

Project Manager
Steven F. Giese, Des Plaines Public Library
Team Members
Joanne Griffin, Des Plaines Public Library
Ariana Haze, Des Plaines Public Library
John Lavalie, Des Plaines Public Library
Philip Mohr, Des Plaines History Center
Christina Tropea, Des Plaines Public Library
Site Designer
Brodie Austin
Graphic Designers
Gina DiConti
Kelly Horvath, Des Plaines Public Library
Chad Comello

If you have a question about Des Plaines Memory, please contact us.

How Des Plaines Memory began

Des Plaines Memory was first conceived in 2011 during ILEAD USA—Innovative Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover, an initiative developed by the Illinois State Library. The purpose of the ILEAD USA program was to empower librarians with the skills to utilize new technologies to interact with their communities.

Des Plaines Memory was developed in partnership with the Des Plaines History Center and the Des Plaines Public Library. The history center had a wealth of local history materials in its archives but public access was limited to in person visits. As a result of ILEAD USA, the library gained the technological training and equipment to create an online digital collection.

You can read more about Des Plaines Memory in the book ARCHIVES ALIVE: Expanding Engagement with Public Library Archives and Special Collections by Diantha Dow Schull.

In memory of Shari Caine (1966-2018), Executive Director, Des Plaines History Center from 2011-2018.

Des Plaines Memory is powered by CONTENTdm®.

The Des Plaines Memory team at ILEAD USA 2011

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