James G. Coke directed the Office of Community Development at the University of Illinois from 1961 to 1965. The Office was funded by the Ford Foundation as part of an experiment to determine the feasibility of urban extension services. Coke studied three Illinois cities--Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield--to assess patterns of public policy formation, and the potential for urban utilization of university resources. In 1965, the program was found to be organizationally impossible, and funding ceased.
The collection contains extensive clipping files on crime, education, finance, governmental structure, social and cultural activities, and urban planning in each city. In addition, there are summaries of interviews with civil leaders and information on the procedure for data collection.