Second City on the Make: Defining Chicago, 1951-'52 | Newberry

Second City on the Make: Defining Chicago, 1951-'52

Led by Bill Savage
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Six sessions. Tuesdays, February 22-March 29.


Virtual (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)

Newberry Adult Education Seminars will meet both virtually and in the building for the Winter/Spring term. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please reach out to Registration opens Wednesday, January 19th at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Register via Learning Stream here

Seminar Description

After the Second World War, Chicago changed. The economic, political, and cultural processes that would lead to suburbanization, White Flight, and the “Rust Belt” were beginning to transform the patchwork of ethnic urban villages that surrounded the Loop and sprawled out to the suburbs. Two iconic texts grappled with where Chicago came from and where it might be going: Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make (1951) and A. J. Liebling’s Chicago: The Second City(1952). One by an insider who had long chronicled Chicago’s underclass, the other by an outsider who visited for a while. Each book has become an indelible part of our city’s self-image and outsiders’ take on the place. This seminar will explore these two texts (along with excerpts from other works) in their historical context, and in relation to contemporary Chicago’s demographic, political, and cultural transformations.

Six sessions. Registration – $195/$175

Bill Savage has taught seminars on Chicago literature, history, and culture at the Newberry Library since 1992

Materials List


First Reading:

  • There is no first reading for this seminar.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, January 19th . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning January 12th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry uses Learning Stream for all Adult Education Seminar registrations. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.