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Allan Mellis papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS0108

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection document Allan Mellis' diverse community involvements, ranging in date from the early 1970s to 2012. Mellis was committed to solving a variety of neighborhood and city-wide issues, and many of his interests and committee involvements overlap. Researchers should note the interconnected nature of the series in the Allan Mellis Papers. Related files were gathered together to form the series, which are based on the committee groups Mellis listed on his resume. For example, Mellis identifies in his resume work with the DePaul Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC), a group that brokered relations between the Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association (WNCA) and the university, and most of these materials are located in the DePaul University Series; however, researchers will find overlap and information about the NAC in the WNCA Series. Mellis organized his files either by project/governing body or chronologically, and this style of organization was adopted for arranging the order of files within each series. The materials in this collection are largely textual, but other formats are present, such as photographs, maps and building plans, compact discs, and memorabilia. Majority of this collection consists of board minutes, correspondence, project plans, and reference/reflection documents created or collected by Allan Mellis.

Dates

  • 1962-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1984-2006

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Lincoln Park community leader Allan Mellis was born on December 11, 1944 in New York City. In 1965 Mellis received a B.A. in Mathematics with Distinction from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and received an M.S. in Computer Science in 1967 from Purdue University. He moved to the Wrightwood neighborhood area of Lincoln Park in 1972, and at the time Mellis worked for IBM. After he and his wife, Linda, had two sons, David and Daniel, Mellis became more involved with the community and advocated for improving neighborhood resources and infrastructure.

Since the mid-1970s, Allan Mellis' commitment to Lincoln Park and Chicago city development has expanded and diversified. In Lincoln Park specifically, Mellis served as the Wrightwood Neighborhood Conservation Association (WNCA/WNA) president from 1976-1978 and his papers reflect his continued involvement through the 2000s. He also joined the Lincoln Park Conservation Association (LPCA) and the Lincoln Park Conservation Community Council in the mid-1970s. Because these groups worked with the two large, non-profit neighborhood institutions of the time - DePaul University (DPU) and Children's Memorial Hospital (CMH) - Mellis served on the DPU Neighborhood Advisory Council and the CMH Community Relations Committee, each of which brokered relations and co-created long-range neighborhood plans with LPCA and affiliated associations.

Allan Mellis was also instrumental in many of the neighborhood committees dedicated to redevelopment. A major theme of Mellis' community involvement was the improvement of educational resources in Lincoln Park: he helped found and served as president of the Friends of the New Lincoln Park Public Library; he served on the Lincoln Park High School Planning Committee; and he served as chairman on the 43rd Ward Chicago Academy of Sciences Task Force. As Mellis said during the first public statement about plans for the new library on October 30, 1999, 'I believe strongly that Lincoln Park needs a new and expanded library [...] This has been a pet project of mine for years, and it stems from my belief that my children have been missing out on a valuable learning experience.'

Allan Mellis was also aware that Lincoln Park's density had been increasing since the 1970s. Because of this, he often acknowledged and addressed the availability of parking, traffic flow, and supported local businesses over nation-wide corporations (e.g. McDonald's and Walmart). Mellis' interest in maintaining neighborhood traffic flow parking strategies led him to serve as co-chairman on the Lincoln Park Transit Task Force, the Chicago Transit Authority Brown Line Task Force, to found and serve as president of the Friends of the Fullerton Elevated, and to consult for a number of other parking/traffic subcommittees.

The basis of Allan Mellis' commitment to the neighborhood was, as he frequently wrote, in preserving the character and quality of Lincoln Park. Mellis presently lives in Lincoln Park and continues his commitment to neighborhood and city improvement issues.

Extent

31 Linear Feet (93 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The Allan Mellis papers are divided into eleven series: 1. Biographical Files; 2. Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association; 3. 43rd Ward; 4. Chicago Transit Authority; 5. Children's Memorial Hospital; 6. DePaul University; 7. Lincoln Park Conservation Community Council and Lincoln Park Conservation Association; 8. Lincoln Park Development; 9. Lincoln Park Public Library; 10. Lincoln Park Schools; and 11. Subject Files: Neighborhood and City of Chicago. Because Mellis' community work in Lincoln Park began with his involvement in WNCA, his Biographical Files and WNCA files were arranged as the first two series, and the remaining series are arranged alphabetically by name. Note: Box numbers with an E (e.g., "E001") contain files in electronic format. Consult with Archives staff for access.

Physical Location

3/35

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2013.44

Related Materials

Wrightwood Neighborhood Conservation Association; Lincoln Park Conservation Association

Processing Information

M. Bencur 2014; M. Morley 2015

Title
Guide to Allan Mellis papers
Status
Completed
Author
M. Bencur 2014; M. Morley 2015
Date
2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614
773-325-7864