Blackhawk Restaurant, 1920-2009

Presented by Peggy Glowacki, Curator
Manuscripts Librarian & Instructor

The nine-decade history of the Blackhawk Restaurant business and its visionary father and son owners, Otto and Don Roth, are the subject of an exhibit at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Richard J. Daley Library,

From Dec. 27, 1920, when it first opened its doors at 129 N. Wabash Ave. in the Loop until New Year’s Eve in 2009, when Don Roth’s wife Ann closed the last restaurant in Wheeling, the Roth restaurants helped usher in many firsts for Chicago’s dining and entertainment scene.

The family of Don Roth, who died in 2003, permanently donated 60 linear feet of memorabilia including signed contracts by big-band leaders and other celebrities, photos, scrapbooks, recipes and decades of menus to the Special Collections and University Archives of the UIC Library.

While the exhibit will close at the end of year, the collection will be permanently available to historians and other members of the public who may want to view them as examples of how the family-owned business not only adapted to, but also helped influence 20th-century dining trends and business practices.

Peggy Glowacki oversees the over 500 manuscript collections of personal and organizational papers, photographs, and ephemera (totaling over 40,000 linear feet) held by UIC Special Collections. The collections cover Chicago’s social, political, economic, and cultural history. Glowacki has Master’s degrees in American History, Public History, and Library and Information Science and has worked on several exhibits highlighting UIC’s rich collections. She has always had an interest in food history and has spoken at conferences on Italian immigrant foodways, curated “Nourishing Culture: Greek Immigrants and Food in Chicago, 1890-2007 ” at the Hellenic Museum, and appeared in “Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History” for WTTW in 2007.

Friday, June 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM
UIC Richard J. Daley Library
Special Collections and University Archives
801 S. Morgan St., 3rd floor, Chicago, IL

Parking at University of Illinois Chicago

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please call (847) 432-8255, then leave your name, telephone number and how many people in your party, or e-mail: