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Harold Washington Library Center

Art and Power

Lenin pin

Samuel Goldwyn, the movie studio head, told his writers: "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." What he meant was that he was not interested in scripts that expressed social or political opinions. Lenin and the soviet leaders after him, on the other hand, felt that all art should have a message: theirs. With […]

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#TBT: Miles Davis: 90th Birth Anniversary of the Cool

Miles Davis

Even if you don't think you like jazz, I bet you've heard of Miles Davis. As one of the most important musicians of all time, jazz or otherwise, his music and influence can be seen everywhere. For example, Davis' Kind of Blue can be heard in movies like Pleasantville and television shows like The Wire. […]

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Technology That Changed Chicago: Gaslight

Street scene

A long forgotten social revolution began on September 4, 1850 with the lighting of Chicago's first hundred-odd gaslights. 75 Years of Gas Service in Chicago quotes the Tribune:BibWidget "Wednesday marked an era in Chicago. At about 2 o'clock P. M. the gas pipes were filled and brilliant torches flamed on both sides of Lake Street […]

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Love and War: Novels of World War II

WWII Women

Nothing in the 20th century seems to capture the imagination quite like the Second World War. Lots of books have been written by and about men, but there are also some very good books written by and featuring women. These are just a few of the most recent. Martha Hall Kelly has never written a […]

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The Social Evil in Chicago, A Chicago History Classic

Picture of a dance hall

On April 5, 1911, the Chicago Vice Commission released The Social Evil in Chicago. The unusually diverse Commission included religious leaders, doctors and representatives of social service agencies. Members included a rabbi, an African--American and two women.BibWidget Unlike most 400-page government reports, the report became an instant best seller. The second edition came out April […]

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