Let CPL Help You Make History with History Fair

Chiago Metro History Fair

Are you participating in History Fair this year? Does your teacher expect you to conduct historical research? Are you wondering where and how to begin? Are you looking for primary resources or images for an exhibit board, website or documentary? At CPL, we can help you with all of these. Getting Started After you’ve selected your topic, start […]

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1948’s “Health King” of Chicago

Boy eating hotdog sandwich and drinking milk

In 1948, Henry Pittner was selected from 13,000 members of the Chicago Boys' Club as the healthiest boy in Chicago. A team of doctors reviewed eight finalists from the club and named Pittner the "Health King." Aside from a cavity in his last baby tooth, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported, the 12-year-old had a perfect physical record. […]

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Hit a Home Run with Chicago Open Archives

Cast of Bleacher Bums, 1989

It’s almost October. The leaves are starting to turn, temperatures are dipping and Chicago has a baseball team headed to the playoffs. In 1977, a different Chicago team, the Organic Theater Company, was looking for a new play. Ensemble member Joe Mantegna had been attending his fair share of Cubs games and pitched the idea […]

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Another Ferris Wheel Made in Chicago

Ferris wheel and old Vienna village

Navy Pier turned 100 this year, and the new Centennial Wheel made its maiden voyage. The Ferris wheel is no stranger to Chicago. The first Ferris wheel was built especially for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was tasked with creating something so stunning and special that it would "out-Eiffel" even the Eiffel Tower, […]

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CPL Welcomes the Chicago Film Archive of Performance


Chicago Public Library is proud to become the new home for recordings created by the Chicago Film Archive of Performance (C-FAP). Founded by Drew Blau in 2013, C-FAP is committed to filming live performance in order to document and preserve Chicago's rich theater community. C-FAP has preserved 18 productions already, and plans to film a total of […]

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The Jungle Comes to CPL

production image from the Jungle

Upton Sinclair published The Jungle 110 years ago. This famous expose of working conditions in Chicago's stockyards and packing houses led President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress to enact the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts of 1906. The Jungle is available in other formats. Sinclair's story is as much about working conditions as […]

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Celebrate Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day

As You Like It

April 23, 2016 has been proclaimed by Mayor Emanuel as Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day. This day celebrates both the birth and death anniversaries of the playwright, and encourages all Chicagoans to enjoy his lasting influence. Happily, Mother Nature seems to be celebrating too. With warmer weather and daffodils in bloom, has Chicago's typical winter of discontent finally made way for […]

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Biggest Bean of All!

Cloud Gate assembly complete

Did you know that April 22 is National Jelly Bean Day? As you consider this, hopefully with a handful of jelly beans, did you know that Chicago has the biggest "bean" in the world? Just don't try to eat it! Cloud Gate, lovingly known to Chicagoans as "the Bean," is Anish Kapoor's iconic sculpture located in […]

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Beware the Ides of March

Booth brothers in Julius Caesar

"Beware the Ides of March," warns the Soothsayer in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, as the midpoint of the month, the Ides, approaches. This famous line foretells Caesar's murder, an historic event that took place on March 15, 44 BCE. While it's not performed often, many productions of Julius Caesar have been staged in Chicago. On […]

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#TBT: Hamlet, a Woman?

Hamlet at McVicker's Theatre starring Anna Dickinson, 01-30-1882

In Shakespeare’s day, only men acted in his plays, even playing female characters. 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, and over the centuries, things have changed. Men and women have played both male and female parts—I even saw an all-female cast of Henry V back in high school. But that was actually nothing new. […]

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