The Reading Room

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Bertha Ludlam Research & Archival Collections

The Reading Room

The Pullman State Historic Site is pleased to open its new Reading Room to researchers, students, and others interested in learning about the History of Pullman.

Now a federal, state, and City of Chicago landmark district, the town of Pullman was developed by George Pullman as the site of his Pullman Palace Car Company. He created a complete town for his workers, including a church, shops, a theater, library, stables, and a market place.

At the Bertha Ludlam Reading Room, you will find a variety of resources, from period materials to contemporary plans for the site. Please look through our online catalog to see if you would like to arrange for a visit. Please contact us at 773-660-2341 or by e-mail at sleepingcars at

Hours of operation, by appointment only: 10 am-4 pm Monday through Friday; 10 am-12 noon Saturdays. There is no charge for the use of the research and archival collections.


The period of significance for this site covers events leading up to and including the conception, design, construction and occupancy of the site by George Pullman and the Pullman Palace Car Company, or approximately 1867-1899.

A period of secondary importance covers the continuation of the Pullman Palace Car Company operating as the Pullman Company, Pullman Car Works, the Pullman Car & Manufacturing Corporation, and the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company, or approximately 1899-1983. This secondary period of importance would also apply to the Hotel Florence post 1898-1975.

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Mission Statement

Organized under the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Pullman State Historic Site is comprised of George M. Pullman's Palace Car factory site and the Hotel Florence where Pullman's clients, friends and guests were entertained and conducted business from 1881 to 1896. The Bertha Ludlam Reading Room and Archival Collection is housed at the Hotel Florence.

It is the mission of the Pullman State Historic Site to provide a first class public research facility for the study of the overlapping stories that make up the history of Pullman. Our site is dedicated to collecting, housing, researching, and exhibiting objects and materials, using traditional methods and modern technologies, that bring to life the stories of the people of Pullman. In the Bertha Ludlam Reading Room and Archival Collections the general public will be able to explore the stories and artifacts that explain how architecture, labor history, landscape design, urban planning, and transportation history came together to showcase the 19th and 20th century industrial society that made up the Town of Pullman.


11111 S. Forrestville Avenue
Chicago, IL 60628

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