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Robert Dean Avery Transportation Collection (1905-2018)

Identifier: TL028

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Robert Dean Avery Transportation Collection includes transportation related postcards and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) items. Avery received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern in 1966. During the summer of 1965 to 1967, Avery worked as a bus driver for the CTA.

Series 1: Postcards, 1905-2003, contains 464 postcards related to airports, aircrafts, the industrial railroad, ships, ore freighters, cable cars, the Chicago “L,” and bridges. A large portion of the postcards depict the Panama Canal and Lake Shore Drive.

Series 2: Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), 1965-1967, 2018, contains items that Avery used as a CTA bus driver and a 2018 written recollection of his job. This account goes into detail about training procedures, his assigned routes, the equipment he used, and a typical workday. Other items in this series include Avery’s hat with two union buttons and his employee badge, a belt with a pocket watch holder, an equipment box, Alka-Seltzer bottles that held quarters, trip cards, a transit map, and guideline manuals for CTA workers.


  • 1905-2018

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Dean Avery (1944-) graduated from Northwestern University in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and government. From 1965 to 1967, while a student at Northwestern and Columbia University, Avery spent his summers as a bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). During that time, Avery was a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local Union 241, A.F.L - C.I.O.

In 1977, Avery became a partner at Jones Day. In 2007, Avery and his wife founded Worldview Education and Care, a charity that supports education and health services for students in Northern Tanzania. Avery is still involved with Northwestern and is currently a member of the University Library’s Board of Governors.


6 Boxes (3 binders, 2 record cartons, 1 half AB (3.2 LF))

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


The Robert Dean Avery Transportation Collection includes transportation related items from Avery including 464 postcards and materials from his time as a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver. The postcards, dating from 1905 to 2003, depict various modes of transportation, the Panama Canal, and Lake Shore Drive. Avery’s CTA related materials date from 1965 to 1967 and include a four-page recollection of his time as a bus driver, uniform pieces, and related equipment. This collection includes six boxes of materials.


Postcards came divided into sections by topic and/or location by Avery. This organization has been maintained, as well as the section titles provided from Avery. Papers were separated from leather case (box 4, item 2) and rehoused into distinct folders. These papers can now be found in box 5, folders 1 through 9.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Robert Dean Avery Transportation Collection was received from Robert Dean Avery in two donations: in 2018 and on October 19, 2022 (Accession # TL 2022-6).

Guide to the Robert Dean Avery Transportation Collection
Evelyn Freilich
October 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Transportation Library Repository

Main Library, 5th Floor, North Tower
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US