The Milton L. Rakove Papers, 1943-1984

An inventory of his papers at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Overview of the Collection

Repository: University of Illinois at Chicago
Creator: Milton L. Rakove
Title: Milton L. Rakove Papers
Dates: 1943-1984
Quantity: 1.50 linear feet
Abstract: Dr. Milton Rakove taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1957 until 1983. Rakove was also active in politics, writing two books on the Chicago Democratic Machine and numerous speeches for Illinois politicians. His papers consist of his professional writings, his correspondence, his personal records, and various items related to Chicago politics.
Identification: 011-19-23-01
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Dr. Milton L. Rakove, a political consultant, professor of political science, and author of two books on Chicago politics, was a strong supporter of the Chicago Democratic machine. Rakove was born on October 30, 1918 in Buhl, Minnesota. In 1926, the Rakove family moved to the Lawndale neighborhood, on the west side of Chicago. Rakove graduated from Crane Technical High School in 1938 and began taking courses part-time at the Herzl Branch of Chicago City Junior College in 1941. In 1942 he married Shirley Bloom, a high-school classmate. Rakove's schooling was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the U.S. army from 1943 until 1946.

Upon his return to Chicago, Rakove took a job as a clerk in the post office and used the G.I. Bill to attend Roosevelt University. A son, Jack, was born in 1947. The following year, Rakove graduated from Roosevelt with a B.A. in Political Science. He requested a reduction in his hours at the post office and attended the University of Chicago to study Political Science with Hans Morgenthau, graduating with an M.A. in 1949. The following year a daughter, Roberta, was born. Morgenthau assisted Rakove in obtaining funding for a doctorate, enabling him to leave the post office and work as a Carnegie fellow and a research assistant while earning a Ph.D. in Political Science, which was awarded in 1956.

In 1957 Rakove accepted an assistant professor position at the University of Illinois Chicago campus, at that time a two-year undergraduate institution located on Chicago's Navy Pier. Rakove remained at the University of Illinois for the rest of his career, moving with the university to the Chicago Circle campus in 1965, and being promoted to full professor in 1968. Though his primary allegiance was to the University of Illinois, Rakove lectured in political science a few afternoons a week at Barat College, and was a guest instructor at both Loyola University and Northwestern University. A popular instructor, Rakove received letters and cards from many of his students, and won the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Silver Circle Award for excellence in teaching in 1967, 1968, and 1977.

Rakove had been working as a political consultant and speechwriter for several Illinois politicians, including Senator Charles Percy and Governor Otto Kerner, throughout the 1960s. In 1968, Rakove was introduced to Chicago city politics when he served as the Democratic precinct captain in the 49th ward. His work impressed members of the city's Democratic machine, who convinced Rakove to run for the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1970, an election that he lost. His experience in these elections turned his interest toward local government. Drawing on the contacts he had made as a precinct captain, Rakove published his first book on local politics, titled Don't Make No Waves, Don't Back No Losers. Four years later, following the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley and the restructuring of the Democratic machine, Rakove published an oral history of Daley's government titled We Don't Want Nobody Nobody Sent.

In 1980, Rakove was selected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York City, where he supported the candidacy of Jimmy Carter and recorded his experiences in a series of articles for the Chicago Tribune. During the early 1980s Rakove continued to work on a series of articles about Mayor Daley and to work on an oral history project about Vito Marzullo and the politics of Chicago's 24th Ward. In 1983, Rakove was the first recipient of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service. Diagnosed with cancer in 1981, Rakove succumbed to the disease on November 5, 1983, a few days after his 65th birthday.

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Scope and Contents

The Milton L. Rakove papers contain records written and compiled by Rakove throughout his career in Chicago. The papers include incoming and outgoing correspondence, much of which is related to Rakove's publications and activities as a political consultant. Rakove's works are also prominent in the collection, with information on both of his books on Chicago politics, in addition to journal articles, newspaper articles, course syllabi, and speeches. Subject files on anti-Semitism, Hans Morgenthau, Jack Rakove's work on the Democratic National Convention arrests of 1967 and 1968, and Rakove's personal papers are also included. The collection consists of five boxes, which contain photographs, 15 audiotapes, and 2 videotapes, in addition to a scrapbook and numerous articles, letters, and bound journals.

The Correspondence Series is arranged alphabetically, per Rakove's own filing system, which filed some correspondents alphabetically by last name (e.g. Daley, Richard J.) and others alphabetically by organization (e.g. Brookings Institution, The). Noteworthy correspondents include Senator Charles Percy; Senator Paul Simon; Representative Donald Rumsfeld; Illinois Governor Otto Kerner; Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan; Richard J. and Richard M. Daley, mayors of Chicago; and Cook County Treasurer Bernard J. Kozen.

The Works Series include some correspondence about Rakove's writings; publicity material and reviews of his books; journal articles; newspaper articles; and copies of some speeches. Noteworthy materials in this series include a copy of Rakove's influential essay "A Democrat Looks at the Republican Party" in the Virginia Quarterly Review, and an unpublished manuscript on the significance of Richard J. Daley that Rakove was working on in the years leading up to his death.

The Subject Files Series contain materials on Rakove's many activities and appearances around Chicago; newspaper clippings on Chicago politics, many quoting Rakove or referring to his work; inaugural materials from the Carter presidential inauguration and the Kerner gubernatorial inauguration; articles on anti-Semitism; humor and political satire; student papers; and memorial materials on Hans Morgenthau. Also included are items reflecting Jack Rakove's work on the Democratic National Convention arrests of 1968-1969 and Milton Rakove's personal papers, which contain letters and cards from students, photographs, financial records, Curriculum Vitae from various stages in his career, and some posthumous tributes to Rakove.

The Audiovisual Series in the Rakove collection predominately consists of recorded discussions pertaining to Chicago politics. The nine audiotapes are interviews Rakove conducted with various politicians as part of his Marzullo Ward Project, a study of Chicago's 24th Ward. In addition to these, there are audiotapes of Rakove appearances on various radio programs, and a biographical interview of Rakove. Videotapes include a Rakove lecture on the Daley machine and a television appearance Rakove made on the McNeil Lehrer show to discuss machine politics in Chicago. These videotapes are housed in Box 3 of the collection.

The Scrapbook Series contains a scrapbook compiled by Rakove. Rakove compiled his scrapbook over several years; from the time he was rising to prominence as a political thinker, in 1963, until the final year of his life, 1983. The scrapbook includes newspaper clippings, promotional materials about his books, correspondence, royalty payment receipts, and a State Board of Elections certificate naming Rakove as a Democratic National Convention delegate.

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Restrictions on Access

Access to the Rakove scrapbook is restricted due to the fragile nature of the document.

One week of advance notice is required for use of audiovisual material, as access to this material may require the production of user copies.

Access to Student Papers is restricted due to federal privacy laws.

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Related Material

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Byrne, Jane, 1933-
Daley, Richard J., 1902-1976
Kerner, Otto, 1908-1976
Marzullo, Vito
Morgenthau, Hans Joachim, 1904-
Percy, Charles H.
Rakove, Milton, L.
Rumsfeld, Donald, 1932-
Simon, Paul


Barat College
Democratic Party
Loyola University
Northwestern University
University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign campus). Chicago Undergraduate Division -- Dept. of Political Science
University of Illinois at Chicago -- Dept. of Political Science
University of Illinois at Chicago Circle -- Dept. of Political Science


24th Ward (Chicago Ill)
Chicago (Ill)
Navy Pier (Chicago, Ill.)


Chicago (Ill.) --- Politics and Government
Illinois --- Politics and Government

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

Portions of this collection had been maintained by Prof. Melvin Holli prior being deposited in the University Archives. See the acquisitions history for additional information on the provenance of the collection.

Preferred Citation

Milton Rakove Papers. University Archives. University of Illinois at Chicago.

Acquisition Information

The Milton Rakove Papers were donated to the University Archives at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle in five separate deposits in 1987, 1988, and 1996. The University Archives received the bulk of the Rakove collection in late December 1987 and early January 1988, when History professor Melvin Holli delivered a box of items donated by Shirley Rakove (UA 87-14 and UA 88-011) and added a donation of a Rakove lecture recorded on videocassette (UA 88-008). In 1994, Holli donated an audiotape of Rakove interviewed on WGN radio (UA 2001-42). In 1996, Mrs. Rakove donated a binder Rakove wrote and organized in his role as a campaign consultant for Otto Kerner, titled "A Profile of Progress."

Processing Information

This various accessions of this collection were consolidated, arranged, and described by Autumn Mather in 2005 as part of an internship for her studies at Dominican University.

Appraisal Information

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Fremon, David K. Chicago Politics Ward by Ward. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.
Jacob, Kathryn Allamong, and Bruce A. Ragsdale, eds. Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress 1774-1989. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1989.
Rakove, Milton. Don't Make No Waves, Don't Back No Losers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.
Rakove, Milton. We Don't Want Nobody Nobody Sent. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979.
Who's Who in the Midwest, 1970-1971. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1970.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence Series, 1962-1981
1 1 A
2 B
3 C
4 D,
5 E, F, G,
6 H,
7 I, J
8 K, L
9 M, N, O, P,
10 Q, R,
11 S,
12 T, U, V,
13 W, X, Y, Z,
Works Series, 1965-1983
2 14 Books: Don't Make No Waves . . . undated 1975-1983
15 Books: Don't Make No Waves . . . scrapbook, 1975
16 Books: We Don't Want Nobody . . . undated, 1977-1980
17 Course Syllabi, undated, 1966
18 Daley Years, Boyd Keenan, annotator, ca. 1979-1983
19 Journal Articles, undated, 1965-1971
20 Newspaper Articles, 1965-1983
21 A Profile of Progress: Excerpts from the Kerner Record, 1961-1964
22 Speeches, undated, 1961, 1962
23 Typescripts, undated , Approximately 1970-1983
Subject Files Series, 1943-1983
3 24 Activities, 1959-1983
25 Articles on Anti-Semitism by Grass (1968) and Wiesel (undated)
26 Chicago Politics, 1963-1983
27 Hans J. Morgenthau, Undated and 1966-1983
28 Humor, 1961-1970
29 Inaugural Materials, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner (1965) and U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1977)
30 Jack Rakove's work on the Democratic National Convention arrests, 1968-1969
31 Rakove Personal Papers, 1943-1983
32 Student Papers, 1970 ,1979
Restrictions on Access
Student papers may be restricted due to federal privacy laws
Audiovisual Materials Series, Mostly undated
Videotapes, 1983
3 tape 1 Rakove discussing the mayoral election in Chicago on the McNeil Lehrer television show, PBS April 1983
tape 2 Rakove lecturing on "Political Leadership," , April 7, 1983
Audio Cassette Tapes, Undated
4 tape 1 Interview with Jake Arvey for We Don't Want . . . , undated
tape 2 Interview with Ed Vrdolyak for We Don't Want . . . , undated
tape 3 Marzullo Ward Project - tape 1, undated
tape 4 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Reverend Wilfred Cornell of Unity Baptist Church - tape 1, undated
tape 5 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Reverend Wilfred Cornell of Unity Baptist Church - tape 2, undated
tape 6 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Morris Horwitz, tape 1, undated
tape 7 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Morris Horwitz, tape 2, undated
tape 8 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Ralph Petrakis, tape 1, undated
tape 9 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Ralph Petrakis, tape 2, undated
tape 10 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Matt Ropa, tape 1, undated
tape 11 Marzullo Ward Project, Interview with Matt Ropa, tape 2, undated
tape 12 Rakove discussing Machine Politics in Chicago on Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg radio show, November 23, 1979
tape 13 Rakove discussing Machine Politics in Chicago on Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg radio show, (duplicate of tape 12), November 23, 1979
tape 14 Mayor Jane Byrne and Rakove on WGN Radio, December 5, 1980
tape 15 Interview of Rakove, in which he discusses teaching on Navy Pier, undated
Scrapbook Series, 1963-1983
5 Scrapbook, 1963-1983