Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age

Overview

While browsing the stacks of the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago some years ago, noted historian Neil Harris made a surprising discovery: a group of nine plainly bound volumes whose unassuming spines bore the name the Chicagoan.  Pulling one down and leafing through its pages, Harris was startled to find it brimming with striking covers, fanciful art, witty cartoons, profiles of local personalities, and a whole range of incisive articles.  He quickly realized that he had stumbled upon a ...

See more details below
Hardcover (Reprint)
$53.64
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$65.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (22) from $20.62   
  • New (7) from $41.66   
  • Used (15) from $20.62   
Sending request ...

Overview

While browsing the stacks of the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago some years ago, noted historian Neil Harris made a surprising discovery: a group of nine plainly bound volumes whose unassuming spines bore the name the Chicagoan.  Pulling one down and leafing through its pages, Harris was startled to find it brimming with striking covers, fanciful art, witty cartoons, profiles of local personalities, and a whole range of incisive articles.  He quickly realized that he had stumbled upon a Chicago counterpart to the New Yorker that mysteriously had slipped through the cracks of history and memory.
 
Here Harris brings this lost magazine of the Jazz Age back to life. In its own words, the Chicagoan claimed to represent “a cultural, civilized, and vibrant” city “which needs make no obeisance to Park Avenue, Mayfair, or the Champs Elysees.” Urbane in aspiration and first published just sixteen months after the 1925 appearance of the New Yorker, it sought passionately to redeem the Windy City’s unhappy reputation for organized crime, political mayhem, and industrial squalor by demonstrating the presence of style and sophistication in the Midwest.  Harris’s substantial introductory essay here sets the stage, exploring the ambitions, tastes, and prejudices of Chicagoans during the 1920s and 30s.  The author then lets the Chicagoan speak for itself in lavish full-color segments that reproduce its many elements: from covers, cartoons, and editorials to reviews, features—and even one issue reprinted in its entirety.
 
Recalling a vivid moment in the life of the Windy City, the Chicagoan is a forgotten treasure, offered here for a whole new age to enjoy.
 

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The idea for this book was conceived in the quiet stacks of a University of Chicago library. Wandering through the aisles, history buff Neil Harris spotted nine plain, neatly bound volumes, all marked The Chicagoan. Perusing the contents, he discovered that unbeknownst to him, his hometown had once hosted a magazine comparable in many ways to The New Yorker. Almost instantly, Harris realized that this unknown periodical offered deep glimpses into Chicago during the Jazz Age. This 400-page combination history/anthology introduces 21st-century readers to a magazine too good to be lost.
Chicago Journal
Entrepreneurs and journalists dreaming of the next great Chicago magazine will find the Chicagoan compelling, the writing interesting, the mere fact of its existence perhaps providing succor.”

— Micah Maidenberg

Chicago magazine
Witty, artsy, and slightly snooty . . . . Despite [the editors’] frequent protests that [their] city was better than its Al Capone image, the magazine chronicled the doings of Scarface as often as it reviewed opera at Ravinia.”

— Robert Loerzel

Chicago Sun-Times
The product of [Neil] Harris’ years of thorough and thoughtful research, now fashioned into a fantastically hefty volume, a treasure-trove of our city’s cultural history. . . . There were no stars at The Chicagoan. The Second City’s scrappy reputation held firm with the magazine’s hodgepodge of artists, journalists and academics who filled its pages twice a month (once a month in later years). They remain largely unknown, to this day, though Harris gives them their due, both in his eloquent historical analysis and in an appendix at the end of the book.”

— Teresa Budasi

Chicago Tribune
It gleams. It glitters. It practically shouts, ‘Sophistication!’ except for the fact that the truly sophisticated never shout. A silky murmur will do. It was called The Chicagoan, and from 1926 to 1935 . . . it graced the coffee tables and guided the cultural choices of the city’s elite. It was a magazine, but it was more than that, too: It was a mindset. An attitude. A lofty perspective on the passing show. Thanks to the archival detective work of Neil Harris, emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, we can glide our way back to an era when elegance mattered—not only in dress and deportment, but also in sentence and image. In The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age . . . a hefty, gorgeous hunk of a book that reproduces one entire issue as well as 149 covers and many articles, a vanished era returns. It comes back in all of its fussy glory, its daffy humor, its gentle insistence that even a city best known for gangsters and stockyards could yearn for beauty and glamour.—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

— Julia Keller

Choice

2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

CHOICE
Social and cultural scholars will find [The Chicagoan] a joy, but this primarily pictorial book, with its witty textual nuggets and stylized Art Deco illustrations, will appeal to a nonacademic audience as well. . . . Highly recommended [for] all library collections.”

— F.J. Augustyn Jr.

Chronicle Review
A testament to serendipity. . . . Harris does a wonderful job of situating the magazine in the urban cacophony of 1920s Chicago, a city at the height of its power.”

— Evan R. Goldstein

New Yorker

“From 1926 to 1935, a group of Midwestern writers, editors, and artists published a magazine strikingly similar to this one. The Chicagoan ran profiles, reviews, and editorials, interspersed with cartoons, and presented breezy dispatches on local events in a section that no one seemed embarrassed to call ‘Talk of the Town.’”—The New Yorker

Spectator
A nine-year wonder. . . . As demonstrated by this elegant collection of covers, illustrations, and stories from the Chicagoan, in its heyday Chicago was the most stylish, exciting and quintessentially American of all the cities that encircle the United States. The Chicagoan lasted only nine years, but they were well chosen, from 1926 to 1935, straddling prohibition, the depression and the jazz age. Although deliberately aping the New Yorker, founded a year earlier, its cover design was entirely its own, a cocktail of art-deco design, slabby poster colours and mordant wit. The sinuous illustrations cascading across the inside pages made it visually far superior to the original . . . . Perhaps it was too beautiful to survive.”

— Andro Linklator

The New York Times Book Review
Somehow this vibrant magazine was completely forgotten until a few years ago, when the distinguished cultural historian Neil Harris came upon a set of the magazine’s run in the library of the University of Chicago. It has now been brought back into print, if not to life, by the University of Chicago Press. What a marvelous job they have done! This is a book you will want to own, a coffee-table book nicer and better than most coffee tables. The University of Chicago Press has swung for the fences, producing the book to the highest standards—a nearly 400-page oversize volume, designed with care and attentiveness, to period detail and featuring loads of full-color images. It’s a pleasure to see the ball sail into the bleachers. . . .Thanks to Neil Harris’s serendipitous discovery and the University of Chicago Press’s superb effort, The Chicagoan takes its rightful place on the top shelf.”

— Matt Wieland

themorningnews.com
A wonderful and lavish book. . . . well-reproduced and  well-illustrated. The only thing that could top this would be a Nelson Algren renaissance. —Robert Birnbaum, themorningnews.com

— Robert Birnbaum

Time Out Chicago
Reading the dusty old mag in this beautiful new book made us nostalgic for an urban culture that we never got to experience. The Chicagoan was civically engaged in a way publications nowadays rarely are. No compunction exists about taking shots at politicians, making hay about the naming of the Art Institute lions, or moaning about the difficulty of hailing a cab on Michigan Avenue. Though we hardly knew ye, Chicagoan, you’re suddenly sorely missed.”

— Jonathan Messinger

WSJ Magazine

“Before the advent of microfiche and electronic records, many smaller-circulation periodicals were inevitably lost to trash heaps and poor preservation methods. The Chicagoan, a colorful Midwestern magazine that was published from 1926 to 1935, was luckily saved from this oblivion by the historian Neil Harris. . . . He has since compiled the periodical’s greatest hits into th[is] beautiful and vibrant book.”—Wall Street Journal Magazine

CAA Review

"Harris's work ably reinstates the Chicagoan and joins the essential literature on the cultural history of Chicago and the graphic art of the period."

— Wendy Greenhouse

The New Yorker

“From 1926 to 1935, a group of Midwestern writers, editors, and artists published a magazine strikingly similar to this one. The Chicagoan ran profiles, reviews, and editorials, interspersed with cartoons, and presented breezy dispatches on local events in a section that no one seemed embarrassed to call ‘Talk of the Town.’”

Wall Street Journal�Magazine

“Before the advent of microfiche and electronic records, many smaller-circulation periodicals were inevitably lost to trash heaps and poor preservation methods. The Chicagoan, a colorful Midwestern magazine that was published from 1926 to 1935, was luckily saved from this oblivion by the historian Neil Harris. . . . He has since compiled the periodical’s greatest hits into th[is] beautiful and vibrant book.”

Wall Street Journal Magazine

“Before the advent of microfiche and electronic records, many smaller-circulation periodicals were inevitably lost to trash heaps and poor preservation methods. The Chicagoan, a colorful Midwestern magazine that was published from 1926 to 1935, was luckily saved from this oblivion by the historian Neil Harris. . . . He has since compiled the periodical’s greatest hits into th[is] beautiful and vibrant book.”

CAA Reviews
Harris's work ably reinstates the Chicagoan and joins the essential literature on the cultural history of Chicago and the graphic art of the period.

— Wendy Greenhouse

Michael Kammen

“How attractive to have this lively and short-lived magazine made accessible and brilliantly contextualized by Neil Harris. Harris is the ideal scholar to explain how the Chicagoan helped to define the city during this era, setting Prohibition and gangland notoriety in counterpoint to stylish innovations in music, art, and architecture. This handsome volume is invaluable to those intrigued by the growth of urban identity and self-awareness during the second quarter of the twentieth century. Although the word ‘lifestyle’ did not appear in a dictionary until 1961, The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age demonstrates just how curious Americans were about matters of lifestyle more than a generation earlier.”

Kenneth Jackson

“Founded in the 1920’s, the New Yorker for almost a century has been one of the most vibrant and important magazines in America. Little did most of us know, however, that a similar periodical began at almost the same time and seemed to offer the same intellectual liveliness and cultural excitement of its East Coast counterpart. Neil Harris has recaptured the spirit and story of the Chicagoan in this fresh and colorful book.”

Chicago magazine - Robert Loerzel

“Witty, artsy, and slightly snooty . . . . Despite [the editors’] frequent protests that [their] city was better than its Al Capone image, the magazine chronicled the doings of Scarface as often as it reviewed opera at Ravinia.”

Chicago Tribune - Julia Keller

“It gleams. It glitters. It practically shouts, ‘Sophistication!’ except for the fact that the truly sophisticated never shout. A silky murmur will do. It was called The Chicagoan, and from 1926 to 1935 . . . it graced the coffee tables and guided the cultural choices of the city’s elite. It was a magazine, but it was more than that, too: It was a mindset. An attitude. A lofty perspective on the passing show. Thanks to the archival detective work of Neil Harris, emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, we can glide our way back to an era when elegance mattered—not only in dress and deportment, but also in sentence and image. In The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age . . . a hefty, gorgeous hunk of a book that reproduces one entire issue as well as 149 covers and many articles, a vanished era returns. It comes back in all of its fussy glory, its daffy humor, its gentle insistence that even a city best known for gangsters and stockyards could yearn for beauty and glamour.—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
Spectator - Andro Linklator

“A nine-year wonder. . . . As demonstrated by this elegant collection of covers, illustrations, and stories from the Chicagoan, in its heyday Chicago was the most stylish, exciting and quintessentially American of all the cities that encircle the United States. The Chicagoan lasted only nine years, but they were well chosen, from 1926 to 1935, straddling prohibition, the depression and the jazz age. Although deliberately aping the New Yorker, founded a year earlier, its cover design was entirely its own, a cocktail of art-deco design, slabby poster colours and mordant wit. The sinuous illustrations cascading across the inside pages made it visually far superior to the original . . . . Perhaps it was too beautiful to survive.”
The New York Times Book Review - Matt Wieland

“Somehow this vibrant magazine was completely forgotten until a few years ago, when the distinguished cultural historian Neil Harris came upon a set of the magazine’s run in the library of the University of Chicago. It has now been brought back into print, if not to life, by the University of Chicago Press. What a marvelous job they have done! This is a book you will want to own, a coffee-table book nicer and better than most coffee tables. The University of Chicago Press has swung for the fences, producing the book to the highest standards—a nearly 400-page oversize volume, designed with care and attentiveness, to period detail and featuring loads of full-color images. It’s a pleasure to see the ball sail into the bleachers. . . .Thanks to Neil Harris’s serendipitous discovery and the University of Chicago Press’s superb effort, The Chicagoan takes its rightful place on the top shelf.”
themorningnews.com - Robert Birnbaum

“A wonderful and lavish book. . . . well-reproduced and  well-illustrated. The only thing that could top this would be a Nelson Algren renaissance. —Robert Birnbaum, themorningnews.com

Time Out Chicago - Jonathan Messinger

“Reading the dusty old mag in this beautiful new book made us nostalgic for an urban culture that we never got to experience. The Chicagoan was civically engaged in a way publications nowadays rarely are. No compunction exists about taking shots at politicians, making hay about the naming of the Art Institute lions, or moaning about the difficulty of hailing a cab on Michigan Avenue. Though we hardly knew ye, Chicagoan, you’re suddenly sorely missed.”
Chronicle Review - Evan R. Goldstein

“A testament to serendipity. . . . Harris does a wonderful job of situating the magazine in the urban cacophony of 1920s Chicago, a city at the height of its power.”
Chicago Sun-Times - Teresa Budasi

“The product of [Neil] Harris’ years of thorough and thoughtful research, now fashioned into a fantastically hefty volume, a treasure-trove of our city’s cultural history. . . . There were no stars at The Chicagoan. The Second City’s scrappy reputation held firm with the magazine’s hodgepodge of artists, journalists and academics who filled its pages twice a month (once a month in later years). They remain largely unknown, to this day, though Harris gives them their due, both in his eloquent historical analysis and in an appendix at the end of the book.”
Chicago Journal - Micah Maidenberg

“Entrepreneurs and journalists dreaming of the next great Chicago magazine will find the Chicagoan compelling, the writing interesting, the mere fact of its existence perhaps providing succor.”
CHOICE - F.J. Augustyn Jr.

“Social and cultural scholars will find [The Chicagoan] a joy, but this primarily pictorial book, with its witty textual nuggets and stylized Art Deco illustrations, will appeal to a nonacademic audience as well. . . . Highly recommended [for] all library collections.”
CAA Review - Wendy Greenhouse

"Harris's work ably reinstates the Chicagoan and joins the essential literature on the cultural history of Chicago and the graphic art of the period."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226317618
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,408,370
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 14.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Harris is the Preston and Sterling Morton Professor of History and Art History Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including The Artist in American Society; Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum; Cultural Excursions: Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes in Modern America; and  Chicago Apartments: A Century of Lakefront Luxury.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
 
Issue of July 2, 1927
Covers
Self-Promotions
Editorials
Reviews
Profiles
Articles and Features
Cartoons and Caricatures
Photography
 
Appendix: Biographical Summaries
List of Illustrations
Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)