Count Your Blessings

After a whirlwind year, we’re fast approaching yet another holiday season that’s not quite normal. But one thing that hasn’t changed? Documents from the 19th and 20th centuries continue to be a cornucopia of 21st-century Thanksgiving blog post fodder. (Most especially those from Chicago’s renowned Newberry Library, to which I’m exceedingly grateful for digitizing, transcribing Read More

Clip of the Week: November 17, 2021

James Morgan (70) was charged (before Alderman R. Corry and Mr J. H. Jotham, C.C.) at the Cardiff Police Court to-day with being drunk on the Hayes on Wednesday evening. Prisoner, who is a grizzled old veteran, expressed his remorse at his little misadventure and instinctively produced an ancient looking parchment bearing a record of Read More

Corney Grain’s Refrains

When you’re born with the name “Richard Corney Grain,” you’re destined for either greatness or ridicule. In the case of the 19th-century British entertainer, he found a bit of both. My unfortunate name is likewise the subject of much controversy. My parents played a very bad practical joke on me when they gave me the Read More

Clip of the Week: November 3, 2021

If you’ve memorized all two hours and eight minutes of the movie “Jurassic Park,” are best friends with Chicago’s most famous resident dinosaur and want to make Joseph “My Resume Is Better than Yours” Leidy super jealous, do I have a vacation destination for you: Bone City, they call it—and it is one of the Read More

The Haying Faker

If you’re reading this post in real time (of course you are—you refresh your inbox every Wednesday until my blog post arrives, right?), join me in singing happy birthday to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt: ♪ Happy birthday to you! ♪ Happy birthday to you! ♪ Happy birthday, dear Teddy! ♪ Happy birth— If my terrible Read More

Clip of the Week: October 20, 2021

A dreadful calm pervades the County Clerk’s office, and the naturally-industrious clerks therein are reluctantly compelled to sit around, reading The Tribune, borrowing chewing tobacco from stray reporters, and retailing stories so old that they have been forgotten since the war of 1812. The fact is that an alarming decrease has been shown in the Read More

The Importance of Being Clothed

While it’s important to be earnest, we all know what happened when the emperor ordered new clothes. Priorities, people. On a scale of embarrassment, getting caught with your pants down is right up there with failing gym class, wearing a hat in Parliament and getting your hair stuck in flypaper. What’s even worse, however, is Read More

Clip of the Week: October 6, 2021

“When young, I was the architect of my own fortunes.” “Did they have building inspectors in those days?” – The Day Book, October 21, 1915 After that burn, my fortunes are now in need of a doctor, along with a general contractor, electrician, plumber, interior designer, landscaper and while I’m at it, a bartender, too. Read More

Madame Palatine’s Burn Book, Part 3

Welcome! If you haven’t yet read Part 1 and Part 2, click there and then come back to fully appreciate Liselotte’s salacious gossip. Don’t be fooled: Madame Palatine, aka Liselotte, may look like a sweet, doting grandmother, but her dirt is as vicious as Regina George’s, as scandalous as Gossip Girl’s and as dangerous as Read More

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