Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Day There Were No Cops

Mar
24

Badge

On March 22, 1861, Mayor “Long John” Wentworth fired the whole Chicago police force.

To see how this occurred, it’s necessary to review a little history of the Chicago Police Department and the relationship that Wentworth shared with it.

Before …

Do You Want a Taste of the Whip?

Mar
10


books

In these times of fifty shades of media saturation, credit is due to the author whose name inspired the term masochism, Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch. His name and proclivities were used as examples in the early psychiatric community, but his …

Chicago Incorporated

Mar
03

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Happy birthday to Chicago! Congratulations on being incorporated by the State of Illinois on March 4, 1837.

We could count your years in a few different ways. After all, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable became known as the first permanent, …

Welcome to The Jungle

Feb
24

Jungle

Not every novel leads to legislation. Upton Sinclair took an undercover job in the Chicago Stockyards to research his expose of the meatpacking industry, The Jungle. The first installment was published in the newspaper Appeal to Reason on February …

Steampunk Manifested

Feb
17

Karl Shirt

A spectre is haunting steampunk—the spectre of Marxism! On February 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto. By no means is steampunk a Marxist movement, but as this treatise influenced revolutions and built nations, its …

News from Nowhere

Jan
06

Commonweal

The first installment of William Morris’ Victorian scientific romance News from Nowhere was published in Commonweal on January 11, 1890. Like Rip Van Winkle or Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the narrator William Guest slept …

The Ragged Ragtime Girls

Dec
30

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Not only did Aleister Crowley serve as the Great Beast and the prophet of the Age of Horus, he managed a girl group. The seven women in the Ragged Ragtime Girls played violin and danced. The act was based on …

Burning Bluebeard: The Iroquois Theatre Fire

Dec
23

iroquoispostfire (1)Theatergoers did not know that when they went to see the musical Mr. Bluebeard on December 30, 1903, the Iroquois Theatre would become a deadly Inferno. Over 600 perished from the blaze. The Ruffians present Burning Bluebeard, a holiday show …

Humbug Billy’s Poison Candy

Oct
28

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On October 30, 1858, William “Humbug Billy” Hardaker inadvertently poisoned over 200 people. His peppermint humbugs were laced with arsenic. The incident reflected the state of Victorian pharmacology and led to law reform.

The tainted candy trail began with Bradford, …

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

Sep
30

Mutter

A wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, collects all sorts of unusual items. They may be objects d’art, memories or relics. These private collections of contemplation serve as the precursors for museums and freak shows. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia …