Laura Hughes Lunde papers

 An inventory of its records at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
Lunde, Laura Hughes, 1886-1966
Laura Hughes Lunde papers
Date [inclusive]
0.5 Linear feet
Laura Hughes Lunde (1886-1966) was born in Toronto, Canada, where she began her career as a social activist. There she exposed the working conditions of women in the mills and helped found the Canadian Labour Party. After moving to Chicago in 1917, she became a close friend of Jane Addams and was active in the League of Women Voters as educational chairman. She was also active in the City Club of Chicago and served as chair of a number of state committees including the Joint Committee on Voting Machines and the Illinois Committee for Eradication of Tuberculosis. Throughout these positions, she remained an advocate for such causes as public health, education, and women's rights.The collection contains reports, pamphlets, memos, correspondence, and newsletters. The materials pertain to the Citizens of Greater Chicago, the National Civic Review, the Illinois Conference on Legislation and the Committee for Modern Courts in Illinois.

Preferred Citation

Laura Hughes Lunde papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Biography of Laura Hughes Lunde

Laura Hughes Lunde (1886-1966) was born to James L. Hughes, chief inspector of the Toronto Schools in Canada and Adaline Marean Hughes, Toronto's first kindergarten teacher.She married Erling H. Lunde on December 29, 1917, moved to Chicago that year, and subsequently had two sons, Chester and Leif, and four grandchildren.

Lunde had a distinguished career as a civic servant in the tradition of a white, middle-class, woman volunteer.Though she was never elected to public office, upon her death the Chicago Daily News described that "by almost any standard of judgment Mrs. Laura Hughes Lunde ranked as one of Chicago's most useful citizens."

Lunde began her activism career in Canada at a young age by advocating for labor reforms.After working at a mill, she published a description of the abusive working conditions and used her experience to secure reforms.She was also one of the founders of the Canadian Labor Party.

When Lunde moved to Chicago in 1917, she began to dedicate herself to what she called "chasing good government." She focused much of her energy on improving public education. A friend of Jane Addams she fought for child labor laws, tenure for teachers, state aid for schools, honest election laws and procedures, and registration and voting machines.She was a charter member of the Ebinger School PTA and the chairman of the Illinois League of Women Voters education division.In the early 1950s Lunde was one of the "Big 19," an organization that lobbied local government to fight organized crime, which became the Citizens of Greater Chicago in 1952.Lunde was also active in the Illinois Conference on Legislation, the Illinois Civic Exchange, the Women's City Club, U. S. Woman's Suffrage Association, and the Advisory Committee of the Illinois State Library.She was also president of the Civil Service Reform Association, delegate to the Joint Committee on School Affairs, trustee of the Cook County Health District, and delegate to the Illinois Council on Government Personnel.She spent a great deal of time teaching women about their rights, opportunities, and responsibilities as citizens.She was a counselor at Girls' State (an American Legion camp for girls) in Jacksonville, Illinois for over twenty years and served as the first female foreman of a Federal Grand Jury in Illinois in 1939, the year Illinois women secured the right to serve on juries.Upon her death the Ebinger School, on Chicago's northwest side, dedicated its Learning Resource Room to Lunde.

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Scope and Contents

These papers consist of one box containing reports, newsletters, and statements from some of the Chicago area committees on which Laura Hughes Lunde served.They primarily cover the years 1931 to 1967.One of these organizations is the Illinois Conference on Legislation that was organized by seven women's associations in 1923 for the purpose of coordinating their legislative efforts. It also contains some personal correspondence written to Lunde's husband in sympathy over her death.Together the papers represent many of the civic reforms initiated in city government for this period and offer a picture of one active woman reformer's civic career.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives 2004-05-20

801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607

Revision Description


Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use


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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Lunde, Laura Hughes, 1886-1966 -- Archives


  • Hull-House and Settlement House History.
  • Midwest Women's History.

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"Fund a Resource Room," The Review 40 (October 3, 1974) 34-36."Laura Hughes Lunde dies," Edison Norwood Review (January 20, 1966).

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Personal Papers 

Box Folder

Auditing - Public Accounts - Statement of Public Auditor - Annual Report, 18 December 1959, 28 February 1965 

1 1

Citizens of Greater Chicago - Newsletters and Reports, 1952-1967 

1 2

Committee for Modern Courts - Reports - Statements, 1953-1962 

1 3

Correspondence - Sympathy Letters to Erling, 1963-1966 

1 4

Illinois [Women's] Conference on Legislation - Minutes, 1952-1966 

1 5

Illinois Girls' State Commission - Programs, 1964, 1967 

1 6

Illinois Legislative Council - Reports - Newsletter, 1962-1966 

1 7

Illinois Secretary of State - Pamphlets, 1956-1962 

1 8

Published Articles and Reports - Various Lunde Committees - Activities, 1931-1967 

1 9

National Civic Review - Bulletins, 1962-1966 

1 10

Personal Tributes - Awards - Speeches - Photographs, 1934-1967 

1 11

Rand McNally Census Book, 1961 

1 12

Unemployment - Memoranda and Reports, 1962-1965 

1 13

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