"OUT" and ABOUT
A new website on Chicago Gay History was recently launched, but won't be fully operational until September. The project is headed by Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim and a companion book, Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community, is scheduled for release in July. The nineteenth and early twentieth century history of gays in Chicago has been difficult to uncover. According to the site, "Unfortunately, much of our early history has been buried in the police reports, the medical logs or the more sensational newspaper accounts of previous generations. Anthropologists, explorers and missionaries have left some records, but these are filtered through their personal prejudices and racial and sexual biases. Few of our kind have left us diaries or letters, an occasional photograph, preserved moments in fiction, or the rare autobiography." Those interested in early Chicago literature know that Henry Blake Fuller, author of The Cliffdwellers, was gay and also wrote Bertram Cope's Year (1919) which centered on several homosexual characters. It will be interesting to learn of other Chicago notables of the period who just happened to be gay.
See also: Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame
The Chicago Diaries of John M. Wing 1865-1866
"Gays and Lesbians" (Encyclopedia of Chicago)
"Gay and Lesbian Rights Movements" (Encyclopedia of Chicago)
FIELD DAZED and CONFUSED
I'm still in denial. My favorite store, Marshall Field's, is gone. It will, however, never be forgotten. The Chicago Postcard Museum has a new display, Marshall Field and Company: In Memory of a Chicago Institution and features some beautiful watercolors by Chicago artist Diana Weber.
DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
It's a bit beyond my major eras of interest, but still...
Check out The Video Veteran for a history of television in Chicago. (I did a quick check and found that the first time the word "television" appeared in the Chicago Tribune was on September 12, 1909 in a small article titled, "Television Solved by German." Who knew?)Great stuff on the early shows, particularly kid's programs. For a broader history of television, visit Television History - The First 75 Years.
WHO'S GONNA STOP THE FIRE?
The first Chicago Fire Company was formed in 1832. Strangely, it was called the "Washington Volunteers." Right from the start they would have plenty to do. Chicago's Fire Department Training Academy stands on the site of the origin of the Great Fire at DeKoven and Jefferson Streets. Check out a History of the Chicago Fire Department for some interesting facts about the origin of Chicago's bravest.
Photo Credit: Pictures from the Chicago History Dioramas
IS THIS THE YEAR?
In October of 1907, the Chicago Cubs (established in 1876) won their first World Series. In 1908 they made history again as the first team to win back-to-back World Series. Things have been a little slow since then.
I live with a die-hard Cubs fan. When the power went out in the house during a thunderstorm before a game, the dear man went out to the garage and sat in his car to listen to the game on the radio. That's devotion!
Dare we hope this year? A North Side/South Side World Series? Not sure the city could survive...
History of Chicago Cubs Official Website)
Chicago Cubs (Sports Encyclopedia)
Chicago Cubs (Wikipedia)
Photo Credit: 1906 Chicago Cubs (Wikipedia)