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Tom Greenwood papers

Identifier: Ayer-Modern-MS-Greenwood

Scope and Content of the Collection

Material retained by Tom Greenwood, a participant in the American Indian Chicago Conference (AICC), which was held on the campus of the University of Chicago, June 13-20, 1961.

Most of the material relates to the conference, its planning and its aftermath, and includes mostly printed matter: cover letters, documents, newsletters, pamphlets, and newspaper article reprints. Also, items relating to the Kinzua Dam controversy in 1961, the Summit Portage Powwow, a biographical letter written by Greenwood to anthropologist Brian Bardy, and a 1986 videocassette interview between Greenwood and Bardy.


  • Creation: 1960-1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960 - 1961



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Tom Greenwood papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Tom Greenwood papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Thomas J. Greenwood

Illinois Indian and activist in Indian affairs.

Thomas J. Greenwood, of Scottish and Cherokee Indian descent, was born in 1908. He came to Chicago in 1923, and worked as a blacksmith and boilermaker until his retirement in 1980. Greenwood became involved in Chicago politics and Indian affairs and during his lifetime was active in various Indian causes, issues and organizations.

Unable to join the military in World War II because of the loss of an eye, Greenwood worked in shipyards. At one point he was the chairman of a management and labor committee, recruiting 200 Oklahoma Indians, and hiring women for the first time. In 1948 he helped organize the Indian Service League of Chicago, which created the Indian Center to provide social and recreational activities.

In 1953 Greenwood represented Illinois Indians at the National Convention of American Indians in Phoenix, and in 1959 he attended the National Convention of American Indians in Omaha. In 1961, when President Kennedy requested a policy on the American Indian, five Chicago Indians met with Dr. Sol Tax, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, to help plan a convention. Greenwood was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for what had been named the American Indian Chicago Conference, to be held in June, 1961. At the conference, over 500 Indians, representing 90 tribes and bands, assembled to exchange information and to discuss major issues, making information available to Indians on a nationwide basis.

Greenwood continued his activities as a citizen working on social and political causes, such as helping to prevent the Illinois-Michigan Canal from becoming a landfill. In 1972, he was chairman of the Tri-Centennial of the Marquette and Joliet Re-enactment, which included a powwow with representatives from nine tribes. In 1982, he participated in the ceremony to dedicate the re-locating of sacred stones in the area of Healing Waters in southwest Illinois.

Tom Greenwood died in 1988.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Papers of Thomas J. Greenwood, Housing Chairman of the American Indian Chicago Conference, sponsored by the University of Chicago in June, 1961. Mostly printed material consisting of correspondence, articles and pamphlets that relate to Indian policy in general and specifically the Conference, its preparation and its aftermath, as well as a few miscellaneous Indian-related items. Includes an autobiographical letter from Tom Greenwood to anthropologist Brian Bardy, and a videotaped conversation between Greenwood and Bardy in 1986.


Material is arranged chronologically and by type of material.

Conditions Governing Audiovisual Access

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized. Researchers may access materials in the Special Collections Reading Room.


3a 55 11


Gift, Brian Bardy, 2008.

Related Archival Materials

Records of the AICC are located at the University of Chicago and at the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2010.

Inventory of the Tom Greenwood papers, 1960-1986, bulk 1960-1961
Virginia Hay Smith.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States