Research Library

The library hours by appointment only.

Research Fees

Make remittance payable to McHenry County Historical Society.

Research Library User Fees

On site:

  • First hour:  commercial $15, nonprofit  $10
  • Each additional hour:  commercial $10, nonprofit  $5
  • Students through 12th grade: Free
  • Members: Free

Off site:     $30 flat charge (payable to the historical society prior to receiving your report) to hire the services of a volunteer researcher. Please call our office for more information: 815-923-2267




Photocopies are not to be used for reproduction, only for study or research.

The Society reserves the right to refuse any request and to impose such conditions as it deems advisable in the best interests of the Society and its collections.  We reserve the right to limit the number of photographic copies or to restrict the use or reproduction of our collection materials. An additional charge may be imposed on copying requests deemed to be excessive or burdensome and will be assessed according to estimated staff time required to complete the copy request. 

Black and White

  • 8 1/2 x 11  25 cents each
  • 8 1/2 x 14  40 cents each
  • 11 x 17      50 cents each


  • 8 1/2 x 11  $1.50
  • 8 1/2 x 14  $2.00
  • 11 x 17      $3.00

The McHenry County Historical Society Local History Research Library has as its purpose the acquisition, cataloguing and preservation of documentary materials that relate to the history of McHenry County and its people.

When consistent with the mission of the Society, these materials may be made available to the public for research, study and promotional purposes. In order to use the Research Library, an appointment must be made at least 24 hour in advance. Hours: The library is open Monday through Friday. There is a fee for use by non-members.

The Research Library is accessible by appointment only. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated no matter what the circumstances or the distance traveled since supervision is required. Materials must be retrieved by staff for security and archival reasons. Also, please understand that we are a nonprofit organization with a small staff trying to do many things, often simultaneously.

You must call our office at 815-923-2267 to make your library appointment at least 24 hours in advance. Please note that our library is a busy place. We cannot always get you on the schedule within 24 hours, but we will do our best. General Library Usage Guidelines: Research fees apply for people who are not members of the McHenry County Historical Society.

To qualify as members, membership standing must be current at the time an appointment is made for the research library. Printed materials may be copied if copyright provisions allow and if it can be done without damage to the materials. All copying will be done by staff members.

Copying charges are assessed according to the size of the paper and amount used. The Historical Society reserves the right to limit the number of copies made, to restrict the use of the reproduction of rare or valuable material, to make special quotations on materials involving unusual difficulty in copying and to charge a higher fee than specified.

Photographic Services For the convenience of those who wish for copies of photographic prints or color photocopies, the McHenry County Historical Society Library will prepare prints on order subject to the following conditions: Permission is granted for one time use only and a fee is charged for each item. Written permission and use fees are required for each additional use. Photographic prints are made only through the Historical society. Photographs may not be copied by patrons using their own cameras. Copies obtained from the Historical Society library may not be deposited in another repository. Prints from glass negatives will be the exact size of the original negative. Negatives are not available for purchase. Pictures used should carry the credit: "Courtesy of the McHenry County Historical Society" and/or "Don Peasley Photo Collection of the M.C.H.S." when appropriate.

All responsibility relating to copyright is assumed by the user. The library reserves the right to decline any order or to limit the number of prints made. Payment must accompany all orders; rates (subject to change without notice) are listed below. Request for prints must be signed. In granting permission for use, the Historical Society does not surrender its right to use any of the materials from its collection or to grant other permission to use.

The Historical society does not grant exclusive right to use. The user will donate one copy of the book, movie or video, magazine article, or other publication containing reproductions from its collections. Verification is required for users claiming non-profit status. Describe work requested on the back of the Photographic Service Order form.

Image Use Policy The McHenry County Historical Society charges a fee to use pictures from its collection. The funds we collect cover the society’s costs for duplicating the pictures, the long-term care of the original historical materials, and for operation and promotion of the society. All fees are in U.S. dollars and are charged for a single use of the digital scan we provide. The images remain the physical property of the McHenry County Historical Society and may not be used, loaned to or transferred to anyone without the permission of the society.

Possession of an image from the McHenry County Historical Society does not constitute permission to use it. The common types of usage are listed below along with the fee for that type of usage. “Use” includes each instance of an image appearing in any of the following: In print publications such as books, brochures, flyers; one Web pages, blogs, e-books and all types of electronic publications; in advertising; in video/film/television and being projected exhibited.

Use Categories:

Personal Use (300dpi) –
Material for personal use may be used for reference or research purposes or private display only. Private display includes display in a private home or private office. 
If you plan to use the image(s) for publication, exhibition, or other public or commercial use, select a different use category. Per-image cost: $6, McHenry County Historical Society members; $10, nonmembers.

Educational Use, Classroom Lesson or Assignment – The image(s) will be used by a teacher in the classroom and/or used by students in an educational project. Fees are usually waived. Please contact the McHenry County Historical Society with a description of the usage.

Personal Publication Use (1200 dpi) – Covers family histories and other such projects created by an individual for limited publication: a printing of 25 or fewer copies, or for electronic display on a personal or family- related page, or for personal or family-related web page exhibition. Per-image cost: $15, McHenry County Historical Society members; $30, nonmembers.

Non-Profit Use – The image(s) will be published, displayed, or broadcast by a non-profit organization. Any profit from the publication, display, or broadcast will go into the account of the non-profit organization and not to an individual or corporation. Proof of status must be provided if requested by the society. Per-image cost $15.

Commercial Use –The image(s) will be published, displayed, or broadcast in a commercial environment for profit. This includes commercial websites representing a person or corporation who sells goods or services. It also includes display in sales or reception areas and other public areas of offices or businesses. Per-image cost: $20, business membership; $40, business nonmember. Materials in the library are non-circulating. No food or drink is allowed in the library.


The McHenry County Historical Society's Local History Research Library contains an extensive array of information pertaining to McHenry County history including but not limited to subject files, biography files, photograph files, obituary files, local history books, scrapbooks, diaries, tax records, patentee books, plat maps, yearbooks, telephone directories and much more. A Researcher's Resources Guide shows the library location of all these items. A staff member will assist researchers in locating documents and materials pertinent to their research needs. Since February, 2012, our VERTICAL FILE INDEX has been available here on our website. The latest version (updated November 2012) contains 58 pages and will help you access the scope of our extensive subject file holdings. The index represents the contents more than 80 legal-size file drawers, available for research purposes, when you visit our library in Union.

For bibliography of reference materials for Bibliography of Reference Materials for McHenry County History

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