History, Chicago Style | Newberry

History, Chicago Style

Free “Meet the Author” lectures cover a range of topics

March 2015

Chicago history comes alive this March at the Newberry with a series of free “Meet the Author” events. The lectures, delivered by authors of recent work about Chicago, promise to illuminate dark corners of the city’s past and deliver new insights based on popular local lore. Topics include urban development, regional rivalry, and a murder that scandalized nineteenth-century Chicago. The three separate programs will take place on March 17, 21, and 24.

  • Chicago in Ten Stories (Tuesday, March 17, at 6 pm): Richard Fizdale’s 999: A History of Chicago in Ten Stories is a finely woven composite of Chicago during one of the most explosive moments in its history. Fizdale and commentator Paul Durica will discuss Fizdale’s new book, which is populated by a cast of characters with little in common but a residential building and the idiosyncratic bent of their lives. There’s the gangster who left his jail cell at night to visit his faux wife; the Army officer who chased Pancho Villa across the Rio Grande in his Cadillac; and the Rockefeller heiress who married a ghost.
  • Chicago and Milwaukee: Siblings and Strangers in a Shrinking World (Saturday, March 21, at 1 pm): Milwaukee and Chicago have parallel histories, but they have not evolved as regional partners. The relationship between these conjoined twins has been marked by rivalry and resentment, often one-sided, that goes far beyond the Packers and the Bears. Join Milwaukee historian John Gurda as he explores how this unique pair developed in tandem, and how their relationship is changing as the world becomes smaller and more interconnected.
  • Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago (Tuesday, March 24, at 6 pm): Dr. P.H. Cronin was a respected Irish physician living in Chicago, but his brutal murder in 1889 uncovered a web of intrigue, secrecy, and corruption that stretched across the United States and far beyond. Writer Gillian O’Brien reconstructs the investigation and subsequent trial, bringing to life the venality that characterized Gilded Age politics and the spectacular ambition of the secret Irish American society Clan na Gael.