Newspapers, Old and New, Available at CPL

Busy corner newsstand

The first newspaper printed in the British colonies in America appeared on September 25, 1690—325 years ago this month. Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, which was supposed to come out monthly, was shut down by the government four days later, so only one issue was published. The Boston News-Letter had better luck when it started […]

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North Michigan Avenue aka the Magnificent Mile

Picture of open bridge

Today people come from all over the world to shop on North Michigan Avenue. ZIP code 60611, which includes North Michigan Avenue, has more people employed in retail trade and “accommodations and food service” than any other Chicago ZIP code. In 1909 Chicago’s streets were renumbered, and technically all of Michigan Avenue north of Monroe […]

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About Thomas Dyja, Author of The Third Coast

Thomas Dyja

Thomas Dyja was born and raised on the Northwest Side, a third generation Chicagoan. One of his grandfathers was a waiter at the Edgewater Beach Hotel; the other made pipes at Chicago Faucet. A graduate of Columbia University, he stayed in New York after college to go into publishing. After working as a bookseller and […]

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About The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja

The Third Coast book cover

The Third Coast presents a critically acclaimed history of Chicago at mid-century, featuring many of the incredible personalities that shaped American culture. Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to-coast journey included a stop in Chicago, and this flow of people and commodities made it the crucible for American culture and innovation. In luminous prose, […]

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African American Life and History Association Turns 100

ASNLH 1935 meeting; Woodson is seated on the far left, next to him is CPL librarian, Vivian G. Harsh (Source: George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives, Photo 044, Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library)

When visiting Chicago for the Exposition of Negro Progress in summer 1915, Howard University educator Carter G. Woodson stayed at his usual place in town: the YMCA on 37th and Wabash in Chicago. As was the custom in Bronzeville, Woodson met and interacted with a number of like-minded intellectuals and activists, all keen on celebrating […]

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Michigan Avenue, A Touch of Paris in Chicago

Street Scene

For many tourists, a visit to Chicago is a visit to Michigan Avenue. Some never go anywhere else. After all, Michigan Avenue has everything you could ever need: hotels, restaurants, shopping, art, music, architecture, museums and parks. By design, the downtown streetscape is reminiscent of our sister city Paris. One of the entrances to the […]

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Astor Street: Chicago’s Best Address


Buildings on Astor Street own Chicago’s best addresses. This is true even though currently there is a two-bedroom condo for sale for only $315,000. Single-family townhouses will set you back $3 million to $6 million or more. And it is definitely a street that would not shame a billionaire. Astor Street is less than a half mile long […]

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Emmett Till’s Legacy: 60 Years After His Murder

Grave marker of Emmett Till

The murder of Emmett Louis Till 60 years ago, on August 28, 1955, was the spark that ignited the civil rights movement. Emmett Till was only 14 years old when he left Chicago to spend the summer at his uncle’s home in Money, Mississippi. One afternoon at a store there, Till spoke with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant; […]

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Prairie Avenue, aka Millionaires’ Row

Big House

In the late 1800s millionaires were nearly as scarce as billionaires are today. Prairie Avenue’s chief claim to fame dates from this era. The mansions of multimillionaires such as Marshall Field, Philip Armour and George Pullman lined both sides of Prairie Avenue near 20th Street. This trend started soon after the Great Fire of 1871 […]

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Streets of Chicago: Midway Plaisance

Midway Plasance Source: National Map

Chicago has its share of unusual street names. For example, nobody quite knows what Agatite Avenue means. The origins and history of the name Midway Plaisance are also more mysterious than commonly assumed. It is the name of both a street and the park contained within the street’s northern and southern branches. According to the […]

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