4 New Books Featuring Chicago

Cloud gate

I've discovered four new books that have either come out in May or will come out in May that feature Chicago prominently. One is nonfiction, but the others are flights of imagination. You do not want to miss any of them. Aleksandar Hemon has written his first comedic novel: The Making of Zombie Wars. Joshua seems […]

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Dogs Can Get the Flu Too!

Dog with ice bag on head

A couple of weeks ago we were all set to spend a Saturday in Michigan and decided to board the dog overnight at his usual doggie day care. But the Monday before the trip we received an urgent email from the day care warning us about a recent outbreak of so-called “kennel cough” at the […]

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The Chicago Artists’ Archive: Documenting Local Artists

Windy City by Rudolph Weisenborn

The Chicago Artists’ Archive is a great way to research well-known Chicago artists as well as those who may not be in books or well-represented on the Internet. Since the early 20th century CPL has kept artist files. These fascinating files include a variety of materials, including but not limited to articles, photographs, slides, gallery invitations, […]

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Studs Terkel: A Chicago Hero

Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

"Why are we born? We’re born eventually to die, of course. But what happens between the time we’re born and we die? We’re born to live." —Studs Terkel, 2003 I didn't know much about Chicago's history before I moved here in 1996. Someone told me I should read Division Street and I'd know everything. While that […]

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Chicago: City of Big Data

Picture of the Chicago: City of Big Data exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation

If you read my previous blog post and are looking for more, or if you're otherwise interested in Big Data, there's plenty for you to do in Chicago as both learner and participant. The Chicago Architecture Foundation is hosting an exciting exhibit on the use of Big Data in Chicago.  Through interactive displays and 3D models, […]

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Top 10 Things to Do at Harold Washington Library Center

Winter Garden glass ceiling

Lifelong Chicagoans and first-time visitors alike can always find something great to do at HWLC. Experience the outdoors, indoors: The breathtaking Winter Garden on the 9th floor is perfect for quiet contemplation, thoughtful conversation and a moment's peace in the bustling heart of downtown. Learn about the man whose name graces the building: The Special Collections […]

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The Great Chicago Fire Knocked the Loop for a Loop

Field, Leiter & Co. (later Marshall Field & Co.) before the 1871 Fire

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 burned the heart of Chicago, starting on DeKoven Street on the Near West Side (558 West, 1100 South) and going north to Fullerton Avenue. The Loop was destroyed, as can be seen in these maps. City Hall, Palmer House, Field, Leiter & Co.—all gone. But, with the rubble still […]

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Vital Voices: Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Source: Library of Congress, photo by Moffett

Where would Chicago be if it weren't for Jane Addams? September 18 marks the 125th anniversary of Hull House, the settlement founded by Jane Addams that changed the lives of many individual Chicagoans while also challenging the status quo through reform and activism. The Hull House Association, which carried on the social service aspect of Jane […]

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Celebrate Wizard of Oz’s Chicago Roots

Montgomery and Stone as the Scarecrow and Tinman at the Grand Opera House, 1902.

August celebrates the 75th anniversary of the release of the MGM classic film The Wizard of Oz. This favorite has roots in Chicago. L. Frank Baum wrote the children's story in 1900 while living in Chicago, and many speculate that the Emerald City was inspired by the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition's famed White City. Baum's […]

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Happy Birthday, Preston Sturges

The Palm Beach Story

Next week marks what would have been the 116th birthday of the director, playwright and screenwriter Preston Sturges (August 29, 1898-August 6, 1959). Born in Chicago as Edmund Preston Biden, Sturges began a life in the theater at a young age when he traveled with his eccentric actress mother to Europe to work with Isadora Duncan. Later, as […]

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