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American Cities: Before and After

Smithsonian Magazine's interactive map series on American cities. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 31, 2014 - 4 comments

A Cub for the Accursed

"The Cubs occasionally had human mascots, but, aside from managers' children, their tenures were short-lived. (An exception was the Fat Boy, Paul Dominick, who was given credit for a 21-game winning streak in 1935 and then left for Hollywood.) Instead, they seemed to prefer animals—who, it should be noted, did not demand salaries. The 1908 world champions had Bud, a Boston bull terrier puppy with an adorable curved tail, and a grotesque-looking fake polar bear. The 1913 team had a homicidal gamecock, named Tampa after their spring training home. (Tampa's mascotting career seems to have ended when he murdered another rooster.) In 1915, they had another dog, a terrier named Toy. But mostly they had live cubs."
posted by Iridic on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

We had some good years

Over his long career, the renowned photojournalist Art Shay, 91, has taken thousands of photographs of kings, presidents, Hollywood celebs, and sports stars—chronicling people’s lives and news stories all over the world for such magazines as Time, Life, and Chicago. But his favorite subject of all was his wife of 67 years, Florence. Sometimes Florence would be the focal point of his photos—front and center, smiling, dancing, or reading. Life Through a Leica
posted by timshel on Jan 14, 2014 - 7 comments

Richard Prendergast Rode on the Prisoner Train with Kurt Vonnegutt.

"Just to describe you: You're a large man, a big boned man." ..The most fascinating oral history you'll hear this week. Prendergast endured a German labor camp after being captured during the battle of the bulge, and witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden from 15 miles away. Interviews were recorded as source material for Studs Terkel's book: The Good War.
posted by thisisdrew on Aug 6, 2013 - 4 comments

"When I saw his body and what it was like, I knew I couldn't say no."

Willie Reed, key witness in the Emmett Till case, has died in Chicago at age 76. Reed was an 18-year-old sharecropper who witnessed Emmett Till's murder in August 1955. Despite being threatened at gunpoint by J.W. Milam, one of Till's killers, Reed came forward to serve as a surprise witness for the prosecution at trial [PDF of Reed's testimony]. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jul 20, 2013 - 66 comments

Love of the Windy City

Take a tour of the Chicago Loop and discover its beautiful architecture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 27, 2012 - 30 comments

Go to War. Do Art. (II)

The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2012 - 1 comment

May Day in Chicago: then and now

As Chicago prepares to join other cities in marking May Day with a march and a general strike, it is interesting to think about these actions in the context of May Day's Chicago origins and Chicago's role in labor history. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Apr 30, 2012 - 20 comments

Chicago Gang Cards

In the 1970s and 1980s, Chicago gangs distributed gang cards to stake their neighbourhood claim. Full gallery available here.
posted by gman on Jan 20, 2012 - 44 comments

Jazz Age Chicago

Scott Newman's Jazz Age Chicago is a guide to every major movie theater, department store, sporting arena, amusement park, grand hotel and dance hall that operated in the Windy City during the 1920s.
posted by Iridic on Jul 11, 2011 - 13 comments

Vivian Maier follow up

An unknown photographer's work comes to light. [more inside]
posted by zerobyproxy on Dec 26, 2010 - 57 comments

Chicago House Music: History in Interviews and Recordings

Gridface has an on-going series of interviews as part of its Chicago House music history section. The first interview was with Stacey Collins, aka VERB, who started working security at The Music Box in 1983. Others interviewed include producers Merwin Sanders (discog) and Jamal Moss (aka Hieroglyphic Being, IAMTHATIAM, The Sun God) and Frank Youngwerth (discog), and DJ Leonard "Remix" Rroy. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 11, 2010 - 15 comments

Vivian Maier's Photography.

Vivian Maier's Photography. "This [site] was created in dedication to the photographer Vivian Maier, a street photographer from the 1950s - 1970s. Vivian's work was discovered at an auction here in Chicago." [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Oct 14, 2009 - 35 comments

An American Art Form

NEA Jazz in the Schools takes a step-by-step journey through the history of jazz, integrating that story with the sweep of American social, economic, and political developments. This multi-media curriculum is designed to be as useful to high school history and social studies teachers as it is to music teachers. Start with the introductory video to get a feel for the place. The education outline contains five lessons. If you just want to listen, all the music samples are on one page. Perhaps you're more interested in individual artist biographies, or a jazz history timeline. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 21, 2009 - 11 comments

1966 federal ban on racial discrimination in housing

The Meaning of Box 722. Letters to Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois in reaction to the 1966 civil rights bill, particularly the federal ban on racial discrimination in the sale and rental of housing. At the time, Chicago was the most segregated city in the north, with boundaries enforced by mob violence. By Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland. When I started researching NIXONLAND I knew the congressional elections of 1966 would form a crucial part of the narrative. They'd never really been examined in-depth before, but by my reckoning they were the crucial hinge that formed the ideological alignment we live in now. Via Brad DeLong.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 5, 2008 - 15 comments

All the street's a stage.

Chicago's Maxwell Street Market wasn't just a market: it was a stage that played host to many an exuberantly ragged, hard grinding blues performance. It was lively, eccentric, ecstatic. You could get there on The Happy Bus. And of course, one of the greatest musicals in the history of American cinema paid homage to the street, as the setting for a fabulous performance by John Lee Hooker of his iconic "Boom Boom". (Note: See mouseovers for link descriptions.) [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 4, 2008 - 19 comments

Old Lady Leary Left Her Lantern in the Shed

The Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory compiles a fascinating array of primary sources about the 1871 fire that destroyed 4 square miles of the city of Chicago, killing hundreds and leaving nearly one out of five residents homeless. Explore 3D images, music [embedded], children's drawings, and personal recollections. See also a pictorial survey of the damage, including fused marbles and metal hardware, related documents and images at the Library of Congress, and an exoneration of Mrs. O'Leary and her bovine companion, along with a suggestion by John Lienhart that police corruption and class struggle were more to blame than a cow [embedded audio].
posted by Miko on May 16, 2007 - 9 comments

Encyclopedia of Chicago

The Encyclopedia of Chicago is now online and free, less than a year after being released in book form.
posted by me3dia on May 12, 2005 - 19 comments

Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbourhoods 1889-1963

Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbourhoods 1889-1963. Scholarly urban history project.
posted by plep on Feb 19, 2005 - 7 comments

Hallelujah

"Precious Lord" sung by Mahalia Jackson (mp3)
No artist brought more acclaim to gospel music than Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972). Beginning in 1950, her divine (.wav) talents were featured weekly on Studs Turkel's radio program, and through her music and gentle personality she became so beloved worldwide that her funeral rivaled that of royalty. Mahalia sang "Precious Lord" at Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral -- at Mahalia's funeral, Aretha Franklin did the honors. Mahalia was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame posthumously in 1997. Word has it she also made a mean okra gumbo.
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 27, 2005 - 6 comments

Teen Chicago

Teen Chicago. History and recollections of.
posted by plep on Nov 14, 2004 - 1 comment

Crimes of the century

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930
July 25, 1899 Murphy, James, 28 years old, shot dead, saloon 1210 Wabash Av., by Lorezo Sodini, proprietor. Murphy refused to pay for drinks and ran out of saloon and threw stone through window. Sodini ran out and fired at him, killing him instantly. Harrison St. Station. Held by Coroner's Jury, July 29. Acquitted Dec. 9, 1899, by jury in Judge Baker's court. Case number: 1498
posted by tcp on Jul 2, 2004 - 1 comment

yippies, peace protests, police & Pigasus the pig

Chicago 1968 - This month marks 35 years since the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Hope was at a low ebb in the wake of a turbulent year that saw the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Peace activists and yippies took to the streets to protest the Viet Nam war and to nominate a pig for president. Police responded with shocking brutality. The ensuing Chicago Seven Trial was theatre of the absurd, with a colorful and prominent cast of characters. So what's changed in 35 years? Can next year's conventions be expected to generate outrage or apathy? - more -
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 17, 2003 - 25 comments

"America As It Was: A Tour Of The USA In Vintage Postcards"

"America As It Was: A Tour Of The USA In Vintage Postcards" is a vast, amazing collection, quaintly presented by my new heroine: an Atlanta real estate agent and church volunteer called Pat Sabin who dreams of one day visiting Chicago and whose(some would say surprising) love for all things webby is an example to us all. Please don't be put off by the homey graphics and folksy language - it really is a rich, rich resource! [My favourite postcard turns out to be from James Lilek's New York collection. Go figure. All I can say is God bless the meetings of unlikely minds!)]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jun 25, 2002 - 5 comments

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