How often does one get congratulated at the library for checking out a particular book? That is what happened to me when I once checked out The Encyclopedia of Chicago.
“Oh, I’m not going to read it cover to cover,” I assured the librarian. “Of course,” she said, “I just commend you for carrying it!”
It is one huge volume. But worth its weight in gold. (I own a copy now, so I don’t have to heroically carry it home from the library!)
This indispensable resource is familiar to many of us. And it’s available both hardbound …and online (no heavy lifting required).
Released late in 2004, the print version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago is 1117 pages containing over 1400 entries by over 600 contributors, a timeline covering Chicago history from 1600 to 2000, over 400 maps, over 400 photographs. It covers every Chicago suburb and all of Chicago’s 77 official community areas.
Edited by James R. Grossman, Ann Durkin Keating, and Janice L. Reiff, it was published by the University of Chicago Press and is the result of a decade-long collaboration between the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum) and the Newberry Library. Initial funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities made the project possible. Northwestern University joined in to publish the online version early in 2005.
The online (Electronic) Encyclopedia of Chicago – 2nd of its type for a U.S. city – is even more comprehensive than the print version. Originally intended to simply include nifty features like hyperlinks and video, the online version is ambitiously expansive: including hundreds more entries, more than 1,000 more images and 1,000 additional sources. If the extra features would have been incorporated into the print version, an additional 10,000 pages would have been required! Now carrying THAT would be worth congratulating!
WendyCity is happy to begin featuring an Encyclopedia of Chicago Fact of the Day. There is always more to learn about Chicago.