The primary focus of the collection is on documentary materials, maps, pictorial materials (paintings and prints, etc) and photographs, publications, ephemera, and small artifacts relating to the following:
- The I&M Canal from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century as a transportation artery to its present-day use as a recreational and historic site.
- The communities surrounding the I&M Canal from Chicago down through LaSalle County to Peru, Illinois - with particular emphasis on the communities of Romeoville, Lockport, and Joliet - encompassing their history, preservation efforts, and development as heritage, recreational, and economic areas.
- The I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, the nation's first national heritage corridor.
- Canal history and preservation worldwide, but primarily in the northeast United States.
The bulk of the Collection relates to the I&M Canal and surrounding communities, but with regards to maps and research materials relating to canals in general the collection ranges worldwide. The collection includes materials dating from the late eighteenth century to the present day.
The Collection has 66 linear feet of canal and communities research materials stored in archival boxes, divided into 25 record groups. There are separate collections of the Adele Fay Williams drawings and prints, H. H. Carter photos, and a post card collection, available in both tangible and in digital form. In addition, the Collection contains separate materials on the Milne family, the Cheadle family, and Adelmann family, also available in tangible and digital form. The map and poster collection contains some 700 items stored in 33 drawers, and an extensive collection of local newspapers, dating from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth century, stored in some 30 storage boxes. The Collection includes some 2,700 books and 1,600 serials.
The Adelmann Collection serves the faculty and students of Lewis University, the general public, scholars from across the U. S. and abroad.
Selection of Specific Types of Materials
The Collection accepts only records of organizations that directly relate to the I&M Canal, historic preservation issues, local economic development, and tourism in the surrounding communities.
Personal papers of individuals and families are of interest to the Collection if they have a direct connection to the history of the I&M Canal and civic engagement in the development and preservation of surrounding communities
Maps and plats relating to canals and land transportation are accepted. We have special interest in maps of the I&M Canal and surrounding communities, generally if they are related to the history, preservation, and tourism in the region.
Photo and Slide Images
The Adelmann Collection is dedicated to building a strong image collection relating to the I&M Canal and surrounding communities. Most of the images are photos and slides, but printed sources such as postcards, circulars, and posters are also collected and accepted.
The Collection accepts audio and video materials if they relate to the I&M Canal, surrounding communities, or significant individuals with careers that connect to the area. If a purchased or donated book has an accompanying cassette, CD, or DVD, it will be added to the collection.
Paintings, Drawings, and Art Photography
The Collection will accept paintings, drawings, and art photography of artists who have made a significant impact in the I&M Canal heritage corridor.
The Collection limits book acquisitions to those that are related to the Chicago region and especially to the I&M Canal and surrounding communities, in addition to books on collection management.
Serials are acquired through subscriptions and they include journals, periodicals, newspapers, bulletins, newsletters, and annuals that relate to the I&M Canal and the region's history. The Collection will accept back issues of such publications that help complete its serials.
The Collection does not collect materials of a strictly genealogical nature, nor does it have a separate section devoted to genealogical research, because they do not directly support its mission. The Collection, however, does collect genealogical materials that specifically relate to people involved in the I&M Canal or who were significant to the surrounding communities.
The Collection will accept artifacts that help explain the region's history and culture. Generally, these will be no larger than hand size, such as tools and construction objects. The Collection does not accept donations of furniture and large outdoor objects more appropriate for museums.
Multiple Copies and Formats
Multiple copies are not normally purchased. However, additional copies may be added to the collection when titles have demonstrated or expected user demand. If the purchase cost of a title includes multiple formats, the subject librarian may choose the format to be added to the collection or keep all the formats if there are compelling reasons to do so.
The Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection reserves the right to change its collection policy at any time, and may deaccession materials that no longer fit its needs or wants.