The Notorious Women of Biler Avenue | Newberry

The Notorious Women of Biler Avenue

Led by Rachel Boyle, PhD. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Tuesdays, September 24 - October 22

2 - 4 pm

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (August 27 at 9 am** – September 13 at 4 pm): $220
Regular Registration Price (September 13 at 4 pm – first day of class): $242

** Registration opens online at 9 am. Phone registration will be accepted starting at 10 am.

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

Register online

Seminar Description

“Biler Avenue” was the nickname for a two-block stretch of Pacific Avenue in late nineteenth-century Chicago made notorious by “women without husbands” who “got ‘biling drunk,’ and were in a state of constant riot and effervescence,” according to the Chicago Tribune. This seminar will explore how the notorious women of Biler Avenue formed social and economic networks, navigated city spaces, and forged tenuous lives in an industrial city by fighting, drinking, stealing, and engaging in sex work.

Five sessions. E - $220, L - $242

Rachel Boyle holds a PhD in U.S. and public history. She is a public historian and co-founder of Omnia History, a public history collaborative dedicated to using the past to promote social change in the present. Her research focuses on movement and violence in Chicago and the Midwest.

Materials List


  • A selection of shorter materials distributed by the instructor.

First Reading:

  • For the first class, please read the file that will be sent upon registration, in the confirmation email.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.