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Timuel Black, Weaver of Life and History

Last week, noted Chicago historian, teacher, mentor, author, and civil rights leader Timuel Black died at the age of 102. Here, Warren Chapman, the second vice chair of the Chicago Historical Society’s board of trustees, and John Russick, CHM senior vice president, reflect on Black’s life as well as his work and impact on the More

Remembering the Memorial Day Massacre

In this blog post, CHM chief historian and Studs Terkel Center for Oral History director Peter T. Alter talks about a major event in Chicago and national labor history that is often excluded from standard historical interpretations. He sits on the website advisory board of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society, which recently launched a new More

Conservation and Preparation

In this blog post, learn about how a painted mantelpiece was prepared before it went on display in our exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago, from cleaning and repair in the conservation lab to being installed in the gallery. Any object that is considered for display in an exhibition, whether from the Chicago History More

Heather Bilandic’s Potato/Leek Soup

Michael A. Bilandic became mayor after the death of Richard J. Daley in 1976. During his 1979 election campaign, Bilandic emphasized his ethnic and family loyalties with this brochure that included various recipes from his wife, Heather Bilandic, including such as her Potato/Leek Soup. Bilandic was soundly defeated by Jane Byrne during the Democratic primary. More

Correcting the Record Books

On December 16, 2020, Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred made big sports news with the announcement that the MLB had “elevated” seven professional Negro Leagues to major league status. “All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations, and triumphs against More

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Chicago History Museum! What’s on your menu today? This Seneca Hotel menu from November 25, 1943, has a patriotic design that is undoubtedly influenced by the United States’ participation in World War II. Despite the food rationing in effect then, it appears that the Seneca Hotel spared no expense in procuring More

Pick Your Tune

Before disc jockeys and music streaming services, many establishments had jukeboxes to keep the music going. For National Jukebox Day, we’re highlighting one that embodies the smooth, streamlined aesthetic that became popular in the 1930s. During that decade, swing music and streamlined design went hand-in-hand. With its lively melodies, swing provided an affordable way for More

Visionary Women

In November 1863, the Christian Recorder reported that the Chicago’s Colored Ladies Freedmen’s Aid Society (CCLFAS) sent a petition for the “entire abolition of slavery” to various federal officials in Washington, DC. The CCLFAS was cofounded by Mary Richardson Jones, who, after moving with her husband to Chicago in 1845, served as a “conductor” along More

Smörgåsbord and a Show

With the news that Lawry’s The Prime Rib will be closing at the end of the year, we can only wonder if the next tenant of the former McCormick Mansion will also make a name there. Let’s revisit another establishment that has left a legacy at the corner of Rush and Ontario Streets. From 1937 More

Chicago’s Bungalows

About one hundred years ago, Chicago saw a building boom of single-family homes of a certain style—the bungalow. The word “bungalow” derives from the British colonial experience in India, and beginning in the twentieth century, architects, builders, and developers adopted the term to describe modern houses built throughout the United States. In Chicago, a few More

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