March 24, 2008
The Work of Chicago Historian - Bessie Louise Pierce
This has to be a quick post today...
Bessie Louise Pierce (1888-1974)was one of Chicago's great academic women and a pioneer in urban history. While Pierce had many academic accomplishments, she is primarily known for her four volumes on Chicago history.
Her first published contribution to documenting the history of Chicago came in 1933, just in time for the Century of Progress that same year. The book was titled As Others See Chicago and is an edited collection of impressions the city had on visitors from Chicago's rough beginning to the Great Depression. Fortunately, this primary source volume is available on Internet Archive in a variety of formats, and you are encouraged to download this important work (then go buy a copy; you'll thank me). Teachers should note that a text version of the book is available and a little copy/paste work will produce some really fascinating handouts.
Last year, the University of Chicago Press re-released the other three volumes by Pierce. All are under the title, A History of Chicago :
Volume 1: The Beginning of a City, 1673-1848
Volume 2: From Town to City, 1848-1871
Volume 3: The Rise of a Modern City, 1871-1893
Pierce began the three-volume history in 1929, and it was completed in 1957.
All four of Pierce's books are now in print and will be available from your favorite bookseller. Books are expensive - I know! But, these are worth every dime and then some.