The New Online Life of Books

April 26th, 2016by Gary Johnson Filed under: Stories

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

Isaac Arnold2

Chicago Historical Society. In Memoriam, Isaac Newton Arnold, Nov. 30, 1813–Apr. 24, 1884, Arthur Mason Arnold, May 13, 1858–Apr. 26, 1873. Kiev: Leopold Classic Library (2015).

This book was originally published by the Chicago Historical Society in 1885. Isaac Arnold was one of early Chicago’s most prominent citizens. He was a founder of the Society, a congressman, and the first biographer of his friend, Abraham Lincoln. His son, Arthur Arnold, died tragically by drowning in the Rock River.

More than a century and a quarter after the original publication, the Leopold Classic Library, based in Kiev, now offers a new paperback printing of this book (a .pdf version of the book also is available to those who purchase the paperback.) Many out‐of‐copyright publications of the Chicago Historical Society, including the Arnold book, also are available online at no cost through Google Books.

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Kickstarting History

February 18th, 2016by Peter Alter Filed under: Stories

DePaul University interns Catrien Egbert and Yasmin Mitchel are working on the Museum’s latest oral history initiative, Forty Blocks: The East Garfield Park Oral History Project. Through DePaul’s public history program they were students of Peter T. Alter, the Museum’s director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History. Catrien and Yasmin are working with Peter now on the Forty Blocks project.


Since April 2015, the Chicago History Museum (CHM) has been developing a collaborative oral history project with Breakthrough Ministries, a social services provider located in the community of East Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side. Breakthrough has worked in the neighborhood since the late 1990s and has broad connections there. Starting in March, while based at Breakthrough’s FamilyPlex, we will work on the project with the Breakthrough Film Crew, a group of middle and high school students who have an interest in developing film, video, and audio skills. Together we will learn East Garfield Park’s history and oral history interviewing techniques, which includes touring the neighborhood, going on a field trip to CHM, and using CHM’s extensive archival and photographic collections. Then, on March 26, the Film Crew will conduct as many as twenty-four interviews with East Garfield Park residents.

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The Fin-de-Siècle World

January 28th, 2016by Gary Johnson Filed under: Stories

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

Saler ed. cover
Michael Saler, editor. The Fin-de-Siècle World. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group (2014).

Dozens of writers contribute to this fascinating reconsideration of the “fin-de-siècle before last.” Peter Fritzsche, professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, contributed an overview of urban life in major cities, including Chicago, Berlin, and Tokyo. The global reach of his study is characteristic of the collection, which succeeds in broadening our understanding.

An Iconic Blackhawks Uniform

January 11th, 2016by Guest Blogger Filed under: Collections

In the midst of hockey season, costume collection intern Corie Azem takes a close look at the uniform of a hockey legend.

When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on home ice on June 15, 2015, the team dedicated that win to former Blackhawks standout and team ambassador Stan Mikita. Mikita played his entire career with the Blackhawks (1958–80), a feat that is especially rare in professional sports today. The Chicago History Museum is fortunate to have one of Mikita’s full uniforms, and a close examination of it gives insight into the game, the player, and the organization.

Hockey uniform, c. 1973–76. Synthetic knit. Wilson/Gunzo’s. United States. Gift of Mr. Bob Pulford. 1978.178a-o. Photographs by CHM staff.

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Remembering Fort de Chartres

December 17th, 2015by Russell Lewis Filed under: Stories

The world looks different from Chicago. For many of us raised in the city or currently living here, we have a decidedly Chicago-centric sense of the past, present, and future. Indeed, Chicago easily takes up all of the space on our horizon, the bandwidth on our computers, and the curiosity and imagination our minds can summon. But a century before Chicago rose to preeminence, other places in Illinois commanded attention and defined what was then called the Illinois Country. Fort de Chartres was one such place.


The powder magazine at Fort de Chartres, photographed by Lester Jones in October 1940, is believed to be the oldest building in Illinois.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS ILL, 79-PRARO.V1A—1

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