Showcasing the first Ferris wheel, dazzling and unprecedented electrification, and exhibits from around the world, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was Chicago’s chance to demonstrate that it had risen from the ashes of the Great Fire and was about to take its place as one of the world’s great cities. Millions would flock to the fair, and many of them were looking for a good time before and after their visits to the Midway and the White City. But what was the bedazzled visitor to do in Chicago? Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America, a very unofficial guide to the world beyond the fair, slaked the thirst of such curious folk. The pleasures it details range from the respectable (theater, architecture, parks, churches and synagogues) to the illicit—drink, gambling, and sex. With a wink and a nod, the book decries vice while offering precise directions for the indulgence of any desire. In this newly annotated edition, Chicagoans Paul Durica and Bill Savage—who, if born earlier, might have written chapters in the original—provide colorful context and an informative introduction to a wildly entertaining journey through the Chicago of 120 years ago.
Paul Durica is a writer and the founder of Pocket Guide to Hell Tours.
Bill Savage is Distinguished Senior Lecturer in English at Northwestern University. He coedited the 50th Anniversary Critical Edition of Nelson Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm and the Newly Annotated Edition of Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make.
This program is free and no reservations are required.