The Illinois Addiction Studies Archive is committed to providing an exceptional resource to Addiction professionals, students of addiction sciences, and all others interested in the field of addiction treatment and recovery.

A Brief History

Key leaders within Chestnut Health Systems became increasingly aware through the 1990s that the field of addiction treatment was undergoing threats to its basic character and very existence. These threats ranged from aggressive managed care that was altering access to treatment to a broader demedicalization of addiction problems. Concerned about these changes, they explored how the best within the history of the field might be captured for future generations. A textbook and an archive were envisioned that could collectively tell the story of addiction in America and the profession that was birthed to respond to it. Work on the book proceeded through the 1990s and culminated in the publication of William White's Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America in 1998.

Parallel efforts were sustained to launch the Illinois Addiction Studies Archive. With support from the Chestnut Health Systems board and a seed grant from the Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, key acquisitions were made and organized for use by addiction researchers and as an educational tool for professionals working within the field. William White contributed his own collection of books, monographs and artifacts, which made up a large portion of the original collection. The Illinois Addiction Studies Archive officially opened October 29, 1998.

The collection consists of approximately 1,500 volumes ranging in publication dates from 1834 to the present. Artifacts include antique medicine bottles, labels, photographs, manuscripts, memorabilia, historic advertising material, and other articles of interest to the addiction professional.

Archive hours by appointment. For further information about the archive, please contact:

William L. White

Policies and Procedures

In order to better serve the addiction community, as well as preserve our collection for the years to come, we have developed the following policies and procedures for researchers who wish to take advantage of our extensive collection:

  • First-time visitors must register with and receive instruction in the use of the Archives Database from the Archivist or a member of the Archive staff.
  • Once the researcher has chosen materials for viewing, the Archive staff will retrieve them from the shelves.
    Archival material will not leave the building at any time for any reason.
  • Archive staff must approve all photocopying as well as any other form of photography or video.
  • No food or drink is allowed near archival material.
  • Researchers may not carry briefcases, bags, large purses, coats, pens, or scissors while using reference materials. (Archives staff will help with supplies, if necessary.)
  • Researchers may only carry pencils, paper, notebooks, laptop computers (without cases), and handheld copier when using the archives.