Since we launched the project in the fall of 2017, members of the project team have scanned more than 1000 images of precinct-level election results in 20 elections, photographed ward and precinct maps for more than than 15 elections, have entered more than 100,000 cells of data, and now have complete data for the 1936 federal election.
In this election, Franklin Roosevelt won a landslide victory nationally over Alfred Landon, and Democrats held the Senate and House of Representatives. In Chicago, Democrats won 9 of 10 House seats with precincts in the city, with the exception of IL-10 on the north side.
These two precinct maps show several Republican strongholds in the city of Chicago — two on the north side, around Rogers Park/West Ridge/Jefferson Park and the Gold Coast, and two on the south side, in the Black Belt and Morgan Park/Beverly — and a handful of other neighborhoods.
This election was notable for the re-election of Democrat Arthur Mitchell, who won the IL-1 district. Mitchell, an African American, helped lead the Democratic National Committee’s effort to appeal to black voters, shifting them from loyalty to the Party of Lincoln and contributing to Roosevelt’s landslide. However, Mitchell lost most of the precincts in the Black Belt in his own district, as the first map shows, and relied mostly upon white voters in the Loop and South Loop area for his victory.
In the book Nobody Nobody Sent, Jacob Arvey reflects on his career, noting that his 24th ward (around Lawndale) was the strongest Democratic district in the country in 1936, earning a congratulatory note from Roosevelt and his staff.
Next steps for the grant include completing the 1983 mayoral primary and the 1983 mayoral general election, as well as applying for NEH grant funding. In addition, we will be creating the data collection in the VT data repository and depositing this data for 1936.