Writers, Journalists and Radio Commentators Gather on May 16 to Remember and Celebrate a Chicago Legend
May 16 marks the 100th anniversary of Studs Terkel’s birth, and an occasion to memorialize one of the most prolific writers and cultural critics in the history of Chicago letters. The Newberry will host—and Rick Kogan will emcee—the Studs Terkel 100th Birthday Party, featuring distinguished speakers and their memories of the man who inspired their work and with whom they sometimes collaborated: Alex Kotlowitz, Alison Cuddy, Penelope Rosemont, Alma Washington (as Lucy Parsons), Steve Mosqueda and Sean Benjamin, David Roediger, and Ed Sadlowski. Heather Radke of Hull House will introduce guests to a hotline on which anyone may record favorite Studs-related stories of their own, eventually to be archived at the Newberry. Bucky Halker and Jon Langford will provide music, and a special ‘zine pairing anecdotes from Garry Wills, Sydney Lewis, and others with illustrations from Chicago artists, will be distributed.
Studs Terkel was a playwright, sportscaster, film narrator, jazz columnist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but he is perhaps best known for his long-running radio show, “The Studs Terkel Program,” which aired on Chicago’s WFMT from 1952 to 1997. The show revolved around interviews with people from all professions and walks of life, and probed the most controversial issues of the twentieth century. And so it is fitting that the Studs Terkel 100th Birthday Party at the Newberry invokes this spirit of aurality, storytelling, and memory.
The event will take place at 5:30 pm Wednesday, May 16, in the Newberry’s Ruggles Hall. Co-sponsors are: The Illinois Labor History Society, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, the Chicagoan Haymarket Pub and Brewery, the Pocket Guide to Hell, Chicago Publishes, Charles Kerr Publishing, Chicago Metro History Fair, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the Swedish Bakery. This event is free and open to the public, and no registration is required.
The Newberry’s modern manuscript collection contains more than 700 discrete collections, totalling 15,000 cubic feet of materials on subjects such as business, clubs and organizations, dance, family papers, journalism, literature, music, and printing history. Through collecting the papers of Studs Terkel’s contemporaries, Malcolm Cowley, Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, and Ben Hecht, the Newberry has acquired a number of Terkel-related artifacts, including a signed copy of the script of “Trumbo,” his 2004 Steppenwolf-produced performance.