The Perfect Foot

Folks, put on your comically oversized nightcap—or pour yourself one—because this week, I have another Cinderella-esque fairy tale to read you. Since this blog is not yet available in podcast form, you’ll have to imagine my dulcet tones and/or high-pitched squeaks as you go along. Once upon a time, in the not-so-faraway land of Chicago, Read More

Clip of the Week: January 26, 2022

As a Chicagoan, I’m equal parts flattered and offended: The elegance of the Chicago criminal is attested by the fact that policemen in that city mistook [Illinois senator] Mr. J. Hamilton Lewis for a bank robber. – The Evening Star, October 30, 1913 In their defense, here in Chicago, our politicians and our criminals are Read More

No Fairy Godmother, No Glass Slipper, No Problem

Once upon a time in a not-so-faraway land, there lived a young lady. . . “Pretty Anna” is the name by which everyone knew the beautiful Bohemian Anna Witkower, who for many months was a chambermaid at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago. . . It’s not the most creative moniker, but it’s better than “Cinderella,” Read More

Heiress on the Loose

Folks, we have another mystery on our hands: Helen Owen, child of romance and adventure, mysteriously missing. . . – The New York Tribune, May 30, 1921 Is there any other way to go missing? But I digress. Poor Gladys Mason remains at large, but maybe Second Glance History will have better luck finding 17-year-old Read More

Alternative Fourth of July Activities

In many parts of the United States, Fourth of July celebrations will be (or at least, should be) a little different this year: no large crowds gathered together to ooh and ahh over fireworks, no hamburgers and hotdogs grilled at neighborhood barbecues and definitely no regiments marching around in powdered wigs. Fortunately, history is full Read More

Battle for the Ages

In the early years of the 20th century, an epic conflict was fought on battlefields across the globe. It would ultimately impact millions of lives. I refer, of course, to the clash of morality vs. the tango. Put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to rumble! In this corner, we have the upstanding, waltz-dancing Read More

2020 Presidential Endorsement

You might not have heard, but the U.S. is in the midst of a teeny, tiny, not-at-all-consequential presidential election. And not everyone is excited about a field limited to three white, septuagenarian men. If you’re on the verge of chucking your TV out the window next time you see a campaign ad, allow me to Read More

Banning Fun: New Year’s Eve, 1913

In the waning weeks of 1913, Carter Harrison IV, mayor of a city renowned for its vices, was determined to stamp all the merriment out of Chicago’s New Year’s celebrations: Late-night drinking and tango dancing and hat tickling, oh my! I hadn’t heard of a hat tickler, but since it’s forbidden, I’ve never wanted an Read More

A Sampler of Courage, Part 2

Before reading, fortify yourself with Part 1. Already read it? Full speed ahead! Whether you’re a roaring lion or a scaredy cat, welcome back to our survey of courageous people we admire and/or hope we don’t have to emulate anytime soon. Allow me to introduce you to a man who checks both of the above Read More

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