On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, former Recorder of Deeds (and current Secretary of State) Jesse White, along with family members of past Recorders, joined Recorder Karen A. Yarbrough to unveil and dedicate a history installation that charts the history of CCRD alongside important events in Cook County, Chicago and the world.

ribbon cutting cropped

Jesse White and Karen Yarbrough, along with family members of Recorders Baran, Kucharski and Moore, cut the ribbon on CCRD’s new History Mural.

Prior to Wednesday’s event, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Chicago history aficionado Neil Steinberg got an exclusive preview, and spoke approvingly of the Office’s efforts:

So the timeline features famous pieces of property, like Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Oak Park and the Merchandise Mart, plus photos of various recorders such as Salomea Jaronowski, the first female recorder of deeds, appointed to the office in 1928, and Carol Moseley Braun, the future senator, and Sidney “The Fighting Viking” Olsen, who filled the post for nearly a quarter century, from 1960 to 1984. There was also various tidbits about the office, plus historical events such as, I was pleased to note, the merging of the Sun and the Times in 1948.     The timeline was two years in the making, an attractive blue tableau emblazoned “THE HISTORY OF THE COOK COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS.”

Hitting on one of the more important themes behind the display, Steinberg recognized the positive impact on CCRD employees that such a display could have:

As if to illustrate that, Yarbrough hustled off and returned a moment later, shepherding four veteran workers representing, collectively, 153 years of employment at the recorder’s office. They indeed seemed to understand the importance of the office.  “I love it,” said one.

153 years of service! CCRD is proud of our employees!

153 years of service! CCRD is proud of our employees! Photo credit: Neil Steinberg

When Recorder Yarbrough took office in late 2012, she was surprised that CCRD did not display the photos of those who had previously held the office, like the Office of the Cook County Board President. Believing that such a project would help preserve the history of an office that is a part of the history of the growth of the Chicagoland area, she tasked staff with finding as many photos of previous recorders as possible. Some were found in historical archives, while others were found through tracking down living relatives of past Recorders, and obtaining images from them.

ccrd history of cook county recorder karen a. yarbrough deeds

After a great deal of research, the Office was able to locate a photo or image of twenty of Cook County’s 32 Recorders. Considering that some of the people who held this Office only did so for a few days or weeks due to the death of a sitting Recorder, the Office is pleased with its efforts, but asks members of the public who may have historical images or artifacts to contact CCRD about possibly displaying them in permanent glass cases that are to be installed soon.

Recorder Yarbrough presented with an official proclamation from Governor Adlai Stevenson upon the swearing in of Recorder Joseph Baran

Recorder Yarbrough presented with an official proclamation from Governor Adlai Stevenson upon the swearing in of Recorder Joseph Baran

history of cook county recorder of deeds karen yarbroughFollowing the event, Recorder Yarbrough escorted Secretary White and the families of past Recorders to the County Board Room, where they were recognized and honored with a County Board Resolution thanking them for their service.

JAI_5384CCRD will soon expand the project with a more permanent display of physical artifacts and a webpage on CookRecorder.com dedicated to the interesting and colorful history.

Unless specified, all images by Juan Anthony Images.