Storage:  Box Lot (1 11 x 14 in. box, 1 folder)

Accession Number:  1996.0205




Lucy Flower Technical High School opened in 1911 as Chicago’s first open-enrollment public school for girls.  Activist city school superintendent Ella Flagg Young (in office 1909-1915) designed the school to train young women, who were joining Chicago’s workforce in record numbers. 


The school offered vocational training that emphasized domestic work, including sewing, cooking, and childcare, as well as a traditional high school curriculum.  From its inception, the school accepted a racially integrated student body.  As such, it offered young black women a rare opportunity to acquire the same useful education and practical vocational training available to white students.


During its early years, Lucy Flower Tech occupied an abandoned high school building at Wabash Avenue and 26th Street.  It soon moved south to Wabash Avenue and 61st Street, a location easily accessible to the South Side’s growing African-American population.  In 1927, the school moved again, to a West Side location near the Garfield Park conservatory, 3545 West Fulton Boulevard.  As a result, daughters of Eastern European immigrants joined the student population.  By the 1960s the student body was predominantly African-American.


Lucy Flower Technical High School continued to offer open enrollment exclusively to young women from Chicago until the 1970s.  After co-education became mandatory in the Chicago Public Schools, it became a local high school serving its West Side neighborhood.


Description of the Collection


The collection primarily includes photographs related to the history of Lucy Flower Technical High School.  The collection includes original photographs as well as publication quality copy photographs and is organized topically.  Most of the photographs are undated. 


The photographs focus on educational and extracurricular activities of Lucy Flower students, circa 1910-1960.  Included are photographs of students demonstrating their proficiency in dressmaking, cooking, millinery, and laundering.  Also included are photographs of students on sports teams, playing in music recitals, dancing at social events, and doing charity work.  Two school buildings are shown, as are school principal Dora Wells (1923), elected student representatives, and individual students.  Two negatives show images (taken from an unidentified published source) of “Fresco #5,” a mural celebrating heroic women (including Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Perkins, and Harriet Beecher Stowe), painted at the school by Edward Millman. 




The photographs and other materials were collected from Lucy Flower High School and former students by Nancy Green, a professor of education at Northeastern Illinois University, to illustrate an article she wrote entitled “Remembering Lucy Flower Tech:  Black Students in an All-Girl School,” which appeared in the Fall 1985 issue of Chicago History magazine.


Container List


Box 1 of 1


1  Activities

2  Buildings

3  Educational activities

4  Murals

5  Murals--Non-graphic material

6  People

7  Duplicates




1  Black & white negatives


Inventory by:              Elizabeth Broadrup, March 1997