THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHICAGO
review by Ed
on the phenomenal project is a must for anyone
who wants to know it all about the most interesting city
on the Great Lakes - Chicago. This effort took a decade or
so and is put together with the labor of Prometheus. If you
want to know about the "windy city", you will want this
volume of research in your own library at home. There are
demographics as to who and where readers of the 'Chicago
Defender' live throughout the United States, burial grounds
of the Native Americans in the region (even
in Forest Park),
and detailed history of the surrounding
towns and events of note.
The work is far reaching and wonderful, a real treat for
anyone wanting to know more about the grand history and
story of Chicago and the people who made her great.
The greater metropolitan area is also examined and reported
on, the towns, their history, the trade routes, the rivers,
all in one book.
Book Table in Oak Park is selling this wonderful book
for 30% at the time of this story. March 1, 2005 they had
the book in stock for $45.50, a very good price.
1045 Lake St. Oak Park, IL
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHICAGO
Publication date: October 7, 2004
UK publication date: November 9, 2004
More than a decade in the making, The Encyclopedia of Chicago is the
long-awaited reference on metropolitan Chicago. Developed by the
Newberry Library with the cooperation of the Chicago Historical
Society, The Encyclopedia of Chicago brings together hundreds of
historians, journalists, and experts to explore all aspects of the rich
world of Chicagoland, from its geological prehistory to the present.
Featuring more than
1,400 entries in its A-Z section, hundreds of
thematic maps and illustrations, a dictionary of Chicago businesses, a
biographical dictionary, a timeline, and color photo essays, the
Encyclopedia is a major intellectual, cultural, and civic monument to
Chicago and its environs.
With the widest geographical reach of any
city encyclopedia of its kind—encompassing eight of the region’s
counties, including suburbs—
the Encyclopedia covers the hill range of
delving into everything from ethnic groups to
cultural institutions to transportation to sports.
The Encyclopedia of
Chicago is one of the most significant historical
projects undertaken in the last twenty years, and it has everything in
to engage the most curious historian as well as settle the most
boisterous barroom argument. If you have always wondered how the
Chicago Fire spread, if you have ever marveled at the Sears Tower or
the reversal of the Chicago River, if you have affection, admiration,
and appreciation for this City of the Big Shoulders, this Wild Onion,
this Urbs in Horto, then The Encyclopedia of Chicago is for you.
$65.00 • £45.50
fun facts about Chicago
of the first postcards ever printed in the nation were printed in
1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition.
In 1861, under Wilbur E Storey, the motto
of The Chicago Times was “to
print the news and raise hell".
During the Civil War, Allan
Pinkerton, founder of the Chicago-based
also worked as an intelligence chief (although not a
particularly accurate one) for George McClellan, commander of the Union
early days of the meatpacking industry, one fork
Chicago River was called Bubbly Creek—named after the bubbles that rose
on its surface from decomposing slaughterhouse wastes.
first movie studio, Polyscope, was founded in Chicago in 1897.
The nation’s first
smoke-filled room—a place “behind the scenes” where
cigar-smoking party bosses schemed to choose political candidates—were
Rooms 408 to 410 of Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel.
over 100,000 houses by mail order between 1908 and 1940.
sewage treatment plant in the world is located in Stickney,
Illinois, and it takes up 40% of the village’s land.
The now upscale downtown neighborhood of Streeterville was built on
sand and silt that accumulated north of a 1,500-foot pier built at the
mouth of the river in 1834. George Wellington Streeter (1837—1921) was
one particularly colorful squatter on the Sands who stranded his boat
there, claimed that his grounded boat created the territory, and
thereby reasoned that the land lay outside of the Illinois’
jurisdiction. Eviction attempts—escalating into gun battles—landed him
The village of Joliet was known in 1845, as Juliet and
Romeoville was known as Romeo.
Encyclopedia of Chicago.
The History of The Encyclopedia of
One afternoon nearly
fifteen years ago, Professor Ann Durkin Keating
North Central College walked into the office of Dr. James Grossman,
Vice-President for Research and Education at the Newberry Library, to
discuss an idea that would transform how we think about Chicago
history. Keating and Grossman agreed to undertake a project of truly
epic proportions—compiling the most comprehensive synthesis of Chicago
history ever produced. They soon enlisted Professor Janice L. Reiff
from UCLA, a specialist not only in the history of Chicago but also in
of computers to write history, as the third project editor. The
planned from the beginning to make this information available in
book and electronic form—a radical and visionary decision given
that e-mail and the Internet were, in the early 1990s, in their
infancies. The long and careful process that resulted in the
Encyclopedia of Chicago would take more than a decade, with the work
divided into three major phases—conceptualization, compilation, and
each take years in themselves to accomplish. The
product of the efforts
of the editors is as fascinating and unique as
the city it was meant to
The project began slowly
as the editors recognized that initial funding
would require a clear sense of intellectual and civic purpose. A phase
dominated by long meetings and numerous drafts resulted in an NEH
in 1994 (see the “Funding” section at the end of this document for
list of other financial supporters), which enabled the Newberry and the
editors to commit the necessary time and resources to the project.
During the conceptualization phase, the editors recruited Chicago-area
librarians to serve in focus groups. Asked to report on what they would
want to include in the first Encyclopedia of Chicago, the librarians
were given a rare opportunity to influence the contents of the volume,
with their direction, the editors of the Encyclopedia were able to
the voice of Chicagoans to the project. With the input of this
group of librarians as well as numerous other advisors—including the
editors of other city encyclopedias and scholars from dozens of fields
who formed “task forces” on broad topical rubrics—the editors had a
working architecture for the project by 1998 which included specific
recommendations for topics and entries. The completion of a table of
contents marked the end of the conceptualization phase.
The Newberry secured a
commitment from the Chicago Historical Society
to play an active and collaborative role in the project, including
signing on as the publisher of the electronic edition, which will
appear in 2005. The University of Chicago Press accepted the book for
publication and provided input on content, style, marketing and
In 1998 the editors then
turned to the longest and most arduous stage
of the process, compilation, which lasted until 2002. During this
period, the editors assigned the approximately 1400 entries and put
each entry to a rigorous test. Each entry was read by an editor and
either returned to the author for revisions or moved forward to
fact-checking. Research assistants then fact-checked every entry for
factual and bibliographical accuracy. After authors responded to
fact-checking queries, the editors reread the entries, this time
complementing standard editorial work with identifying how each piece
would link to other entries.
With entries coming in
at a feverish pace, the work of locating
illustrations and creating maps began. Researchers combed the
collections of the Chicago Historical Society, the Newberry Library,
and numerous other institutions to find appropriate illustrations that
not only would illuminate the contents of the Encyclopedia, but that
serve narrative and interpretive functions comparable to the
The maps especially would do much more than illustrate; they
had to constitute scholarship in their own right, stimulating as many
as they answered, spurring further research, and offering new
perspectives on the history of metropolitan Chicago. Spearheaded by
Cartographic Editor Michael Conzen, a cartographic group met regularly
for more than two years to identify topics for maps, create research
agendas, and review drafts by cartographers. The results of this effort
are 56 completely original thematic maps that set a new standard for
the graphic presentation of urban history.
As the project moved
into its final phase, publication, researchers
compiled the information for tables and charts as well as created a
detailed timeline, based on the entries and running 21 pages, that puts
Chicago history in both national and international context. With the
direction of the staff at the University of Chicago Press, the physical
book now began to take form. The manuscript was reviewed by independent
readers for the Press; the design templates were created;
production department began the long process of finding the best
suppliers—printers, paper companies, etc—for such a complex project.
During this stage, the editors worked in concert with staff at the
to review, critique, revise, and amend entries and essays—all
eye toward an ultimate goal of publication in the Fall of 2004.
Simultaneously, work on the electronic Encyclopedia accelerated at the
Chicago Historical Society under the editorial leadership of Professor
The University of
Chicago Press is proud to announce the publication
this landmark historical reference on October 6, 2004. The electronic
version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago will be published by the Chicago
Historical Society in 2005.
The Newberry Library
served as project headquarters; the institution
provided its collections, assumed responsibility for fundraising and
development publicity, and
contracted with the University of Chicago
Press for the publication of
the printed version of the Encyclopedia of Chicago. James R. Grossman,
Vice-President for Research and
Education at the Newberry Library is
project director. Douglas Knox, Newberry staff is managing editor.
The Newberry Library,
free and open to the public, is an independent
research library and educational institution dedicated to making
humanities resources and scholarship accessible to a diverse community
collections number 1.5 million books, five million
manuscript pages, and 300 thousand historic maps. Collection strengths
include the history and literature of western Europe, the history and
literature of North and South America, music, religion, genealogy, maps
and cartography, printing and the history of the book. The Library
a wide variety of exhibits, lectures, classes, and concerts
related to its collections. The Newberry Library is free and open to
the public. All
ages are welcome in galleries, but readers must be 16
or older to use the collections.
The Newberry Library was
founded in 1887 by a bequest of Chicago banker
and civic leader Walter L. Newberry, who provided for the formation of
a library that would be free and open to
The Newberry Library is
located at 60 W. Walton St. in Chicago.