Between 1971 and 1975, Paul E. Sprague served as director of the Illinois Historic Structures Survey. Sprague later held appointments in the faculty of the University of Chicago and in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Sprague was also an active member in numerous historical and architectural organizations.
The collection consists of three series. Series I includes personal correspondence, general office files, and material on architectural and historical organizations to which Sprague belonged. Series II includes research notes, photographs, correspondence, and other items used in identifying landmarks for the Illinois Historic Structures Survey. Series III consists of pamphlets prepared for the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks. These documents, which summarize the history of individual landmarks or districts, demonstrate the efforts made by groups in encouraging the commission to consider the landmarks for permanent preservation.
In 2000, Paul Kruty of the University of Illinois arranged for the collection to come to the Illinois Historical Survey.