John Drury was a writer for the Chicago Daily News, from 1926 to 1944. He often covered Chicago street life. In compiling notes for “Towertown,” an unpublished inventory of the near north side, Drury typed out the length of an article by Wallace Willits, as if performing a ritual of historical memory. (Drury’s papers are part of the Newberry’s Modern Manuscripts Collection.) Willits’s piece, printed October 4, 1921, in the Daily News, celebrates Bughouse Square (officially, Washington Square Park), located directly across the street from the Newberry Library. In the early twentieth century the square was a renowned free-speech forum for bohemians, political radicals, and other self-styled iconoclasts. According to Willits, Bughouse Square nurtured an even more varied collection of social misfits, including “ardent vegetarians” and “Freudian psychologists.”
Follow the link for more info, including details about this year’s Bughouse Square Debates.
“The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”—James Monroe in his annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823. This would later become known as the Monroe Doctrine, an landmark moment in US foreign policy.
“The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the midst of American women. It was stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that woman suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover materical, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffered Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—‘Is this all?’”—Opening paragraph of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, published 50 years ago.
Here’s a rare recording from 1929 of the British writer A.A. Milne reading a chapter of his beloved children’s book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne was a prolific writer of plays, novels and essays, but he was mostly known—much to his exasperation—as the creator of a simple and good-natured little bear. (via Open Culture)
“In a library, you could find miracles and truth and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way. There was sanctuary in a library, there is sanctuary now, from the war, from the storms of our family and our own anxious minds. Libraries are… sacred space.”—Anne Lamott