Have you been following the Manley Stacey Letters? Marty Hackl is doing an excellent job of transcribing these touching epistles. Of particular interest to CHJ readers will be the Camp Douglas letters that run from September 23rd to November 25th of 1862. Marty is also running "A Civil War Soldier's Stay at Camp Douglas, Part 1 and Part 2, on Marty's Blog, his personal site. This is a remarkable opportunity to get a first-hand feel for what it was like to be a common soldier during the Civil War.
Continuing the St. Patrick's Day celebration (which began over the weekend and continues through Tuesday)Chicago's public television station, WTTW, (Channel 11) will be re-airing their documentary, Irish Chicago, tonight at 8 PM. The contribution of Irish-Americans to the building and success of Chicago cannot be overstated. If you don't live in the area, the DVD is for sale on the WTTW website. Unfortunately, it's a wee bit pricey at $60.
Max Grinnell, author of the Hyde Park book in the Images of America series, has released a new offering on Chicago. Right now Chicago: History & Mystery Walks is only available through AA Publishing in Britain, but Max says that it will soon be available from Frommers, which mean it will no doubt turn up on Amazon. One to watch for.
The Uptown: Cradle of Entertainment website is entertaining unto itself. Each half-hour segment is filled with historical tidbits about the importance and influence of the Uptown area, home of the Essanay Studios, the Green Mill Jazz Club and Graceland Cemetary. Uptown supporters are passionate - as well they should be. The area was sorely neglected for awhile, but is making a fantastic comeback. There was a lot of passion and dedication that went into the making of the website, too. But, it might be a bit overproduced with all the music and animation, which I found distracting but others may enjoy. Nevertheless, take some time to explore the Uptown history links. (I'll be adding an Uptown link set to CHJ.) Well worth the visit.
Ultimate Capone Fan or Grandson?
There's much being written about the Sears Tower name change. Sears is an important name in Chicago history and I feel just about how I do about Macey's replacing Marshall Field's. That aside, one of the best evaluations of the Sears Tower change comes from the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin in his architecture column, The Skyline. He quotes Nelson Algren from Chicago: City on the Make:
"They hustled the land, they hustled the Indian, they hustled by night and they hustled by day. They hustled guns and furs and peltries, grog and the blood-red whiskey-dye; they hustled with dice or a deck or a derringer.....
"They’d do anything under the sun except work for a living, and we remember them reverently, with Balaban and Katz, under such subtitles as 'Founding Fathers,' 'Dauntless Pioneers,' or 'Far-Visioned Conquerers.'
"Meaning merely they were out to make a fast buck off whoever was standing nearest."
Read Kamin's entire post, "What's In a Name."
Speaking of the Chicago Tribune...The "Chicago History Journal" has been included in their list of Chicago's Best Blogs. (You can find me under "Arts and Culture." The rating stars that you now see after each post are for the Tribune feed.) I'm kind of proud of this because sometimes blogging seems like the Internet equivalent of a public access cable program. Ya, like the "Saturday Night Live" sketch, Wayne's World, which was set in Aurora, Illinois, by the way. So, my sincere thanks to the Tribune. I'm not worthy!!
A Little Blogkeeping: At the bottom of the page, you may notice that I have replaced the Google search box with that of Dogpile. There are two reasons for that. The first is that I have cancelled my Adsense account and the search box was included. I didn't make any money from it - probably because I didn't really try - so why bother. The second reason is that by using Dogpile I am, in a very small way, helping to support animals in need. As an animal lover, I like this alot. The Dogpile site states:
Search & Rescue: You search the Web, together we'll rescue pets.
We're on a mission to help pets and we can't do it without you. Search the Web using Dogpile and a portion of the revenue generated will be donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®)*. Help us raise one million dollars for pets in need by the end of 2009!
I have a question for my readers: Would you object to a moderate amount of advertising on CHJ? I have been toying with the idea for awhile, but don't want to clutter up the pages. This is supposed to be an entertaining resource blog. I would, however, like to support other bloggers - particularly ones that write on history. Also, perhaps, book publishers and Chicago museums. Maybe posters. It's something I'm considering. Thoughts? See the poll, top left.