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A History of Chicago, Volume I: The Beginning of a City 1673-1848 [Paperback]

Bessie Louise Pierce
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

September 1, 2007 0226668398 978-0226668390
The first major history of Chicago ever written, A History of Chicago covers the city’s great history over two centuries, from 1673 to 1893.

Originally conceived as a centennial history of Chicago, the project became, under the guidance of renowned historian Bessie Louise Pierce, a definitive, three-volume set describing the city’s growth—from its humble frontier beginnings to the horrors of the Great Fire, the construction of some of the world’s first skyscrapers, and the opulence of the 1893 World’s Fair. Pierce and her assistants spent over forty years transforming historical records into an inspiring human story of growth and survival.

Rich with anecdotal evidence and interviews with the men and women who made Chicago great, all three volumes will now be available for the first time in years. A History of Chicago will be essential reading for anyone who wants to know this great city and its place in America.

“With this rescue of its history from the bright, impressionable newspapermen and from the subscription-volumes, Chicago builds another impressive memorial to its coming of age, the closing of its first ‘century of progress.’”—E. D. Branch, New York Times (1937)


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A History of Chicago, Volume I: The Beginning of a City 1673-1848 + A History of Chicago, Volume II: From Town to City 1848-1871 + A History of Chicago, Volume III: The Rise of a Modern City, 1871-1893
Price for all three: $116.85

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“With this rescue of its history from the bright, impressionable newspapermen and from the subscription-volumes, Chicago builds another impressive memorial to its coming of age, the closing of its first ‘century of progress.’”--E. D. Branch, New York Times (1937)
(E.D. Branch New York Times 1937-01-01)

“The accomplishments of these rugged individualists against a multiplicity of handicaps, the vagaries of nature, the limitations of transportation facilities, the complications of early finance, the unfavorable balance of trade, and the hardships of just living are sufficient to gain the respect of all. May the succeeding volumes soon be forthcoming!”< American Sociological Review (1938)>
(American Sociological Review 1938-01-01)

 “Professor Pierce begins the third volume of her monumental history of Chicago with one of the most important episodes in the city’s history, the Great Fire of 1872. . . . Chicago was a city of contrasts and conflicts during those formative years, and these provide the theme that Miss Pierce develops so magnificently. . . . Professor Pierce has done more than capture the spirit of this rambunctious city in her exciting prose; she has written a case study of the changing American social order in one of its periods of greatest mobility. . . . [a] marvel. . . . virtually definitive.” Ray Allen Billington, American Historical Review (1957)
 
 
(Ray Allen Billington American Historical Review 1957-01-01)

“Her work is of much wider significance than that of merely being the story of a single American city. What she has actually done is to provide us with a model urban history. . . . Professor Pierce is as much a pathfinder as any of the Chicago pioneers she describes in her volumes. But unlike some of the more outstanding of these pioneers, she will not have to be remembered in future years by a statue in a public park.  Her monument is already in existence—the sound, basic masterwork in history she has been laboring on for more than a quarter of a century.” John Drury, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
(John Drury Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 1957-09-01)

"The magisterial, three-volume history . . . has been a touchstone . . . for anyone writing about early Chicago. It was also a pioneering work in academia, the first scholarly study of a large American city."
(Patrick T. Reardon Chicago Tribune)

About the Author

Bessie Louise Pierce (1888–1974) was professor of history at the University of Chicago and the author of As Others See Chicago, also published by The University of Chicago Press.

Product Details

  • Series: History of Chicago (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226668398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226668390
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,433,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The paperback reprinting of this three-volume history of Chicago's formative years is very welcome. Her strength is the comprehensive treatment of the subjects she addresses. Consider the volume II chapter entitled, "The Quest for the Refinements of Life," which records the long list of educational and cultural establishments founded during the remarkable decade of the 1850s, ranging from the founding of universities such as Northwestern University and Lake Forest College, institutions including the Chicago Academy of Sciences and the Chicago Historical Society, as well as the Chicago YMCA, over 200 new schools and many other examples of the quest for refinement--even the "Chicago Phrenological Society"!
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