Local History

Rodger Hammill Local History Room

Access to the Rodger Hammill Local History Room is by appointment only. Have your local history questions answered or make an appointment to view the collection by contacting Karen Gurski, Head of Local History, at 847-455-6016, ext. 234 or kgurski@fppld.org.

 Local History Collection

The library began collecting local history materials shortly after Louise Keuck was hired as head librarian in 1962. Miss Keuck had the foresight start saving Franklin Park telephone books, photographs, and high school yearbooks. Lillian O’Boyle was hired as Local History Librarian in 1973, and the collection grew to include oral histories, newspaper clippings, biographical information on early settlers, additional photographs, and maps. Mark Johnson was Head of Local History until 2011, and was instrumental in digitizing our collection and bringing it online. Karen Gurski now heads our local history initiatives. We continue to develop and preserve our collection, and hope to share more of it with you soon.

Visit our Digital Local History

Local History Materials and Questions

We are always looking for additional materials to add to our local history collection. For more information and local history questions, contact Karen Gurski, Head of Local History, at 847-455-6016, ext. 234, kgurski@fppld.org or fill out the form below.

Please add as much detail as possible to your question, as it aids us in getting the most accurate information.

Questions for Local History
  • Please allow some time for our local history librarian to gather all the pertinent information in response to your inquiry. We will get back to you as soon as possible.


We have U.S. Census microfilm covering the Leyden Township area for 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1910, 1920, and 1930.


Our newspaper collection begins with the first issue of the Franklin Park Journal (September 13, 1946). The Franklin Park Journalcombined with the Franklin Park Herald in 1983. Past issues are both bound and available on microfilm.


The East Leyden yearbooks date back to 1928. We own the East Leyden yearbooks from the years 1928-32, 1934, 1936-39, and 1951-present. We also own the West Leyden yearbooks from 1960 to the present.

Photo Collection

Our photo collection includes many from the Hammill Photography Studios, with photos dating to 1942. Many of the local history photographs on this website are courtesy of Hammill Photography. We have also acquired some photographs taken from glass plate negatives, and date back to the 1890s. Photographs predating Hammill Studios can also be found in our collection. View some of our collection on our Flickr page.

Franklin Park Public Library Photo Collection

The photo collection consists of the Rodger Hammill Collection and works by other local photographers. Many original historical photos by unknown donors are also part of the collection.
All photos are the property of the Franklin Park Library unless otherwise specified by agreement with the photographer. All copyrights are the property of the Franklin Park Library unless previously specified by an agreement with the photographer. Use of the photos for publication, distribution or Internet use must be accompanied by a statement that the photo is a part of the Franklin Park Public Library District’s photo collection. Photos of individuals may be used by relatives of the individual for personal use, such as family history and private family albums.

Access to the Photo Collection

All photos are held in the Local History Department of the library. Access to photos is not permitted except under the direct supervision of a librarian.
Access to and viewing of photos is by appointment only. Appointments may be scheduled by calling or emailing the Local History Librarian.

Hammill Photo Collection: Policies and Arrangement

The Franklin Park Library was endowed by the Hammill family with Rodger Hammill’s collected photos and negatives, covering a six decade period. Photos range from passport shots taken for area residents, individual and family portraits, police and fire department activities, weddings, graduations, Village board meetings and Library activities and reprints of historical photos.
The Local History Department is in the process of preserving, identifying, filing and recording these photos and negatives in a searchable database. Many of the photos were taken and printed in the 1940s. Both prints and negatives may be in a fragile state. The Local History Department is engaged in an on-going preservation process. Access to the photos is limited based on the degree and progress of the preservation process.

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