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Becoming the Second City

Chicago's Mass News Media, 1833-1898

Richard Junger

Publication Year: 2010

Becoming the Second City examines the development of Chicago's press and analyzes coverage of key events in its history to call attention to the media's impact in shaping the city's cultural and historical landscape. In concise, extensively documented prose, Richard Junger illustrates how nineteenth-century newspapers acted as accelerants that boosted the growth of Chicago in its early history by continually making and remaking the city's public image as the nation's populous "Second City." Highlighting the newspaper industry's involvement in the business and social life of Chicago, Junger casts newspaper editors and reporters as critical intermediaries between the elite and the larger public and revisits key events and issues including the Haymarket Square bombing, the 1871 fire, the Pullman Strike, and the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v

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pp. vii-xiv

Chicago has long been a butt of newspaper and magazine jokes. When a New York paper mocked a report that a wolf had been seen running loose on a Chicago street in 1840, a hometown editor couldn’t resist the retort that Chicago “was growing so fast that the wild animals just can’t keep out of the way.” A popular mid-nineteenth...

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1. From Zero to 29,963 in Just Fifty-five Years

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pp. 1-27

If the intent of the original Congress had prevailed, much of Chicago, its north and western suburbs, and cities such as Galena and Rockford would today be a part of Wisconsin. The original border between what would become Illinois and Wisconsin, set by the Congress of Confederation in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, was sixty-one...

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2. "Chicago is the Head-Centre, the Mecca, of All Creation"

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pp. 28-56

A crowd of men and women gathered on the chilly morning of January 15, 1848, at the Salon, a large wooden-frame hall at the southeast corner of Lake and Clark streets, to witness history being made. Their attention was riveted to a shining metal-and-wood device connected to a long copper wire running outside of the building. The...

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3. The Victory over St. Louis

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pp. 57-90

Among the usual police reports of drunkenness, brawling, and petty mayhem common in mid-nineteenth-century Chicago newspapers, a new type of crime began to appear with greater frequency beginning in the late 1840s. “We warn the farmers and others visiting...

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4. Chicago Radicalism, Nineteenth-Century Style

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pp. 91-124

The Haymarket Square bombing, the first major domestic bombing in American history, touched the lives of many Chicagoans, but none more intimately than one Nina Van Zandt. Born of affluent Yankee parents, Van Zandt was one of Chicago’s earliest young socialites. An attractive woman, she was a graduate of Vassar College...

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5. The Beauty

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pp. 125-155

The Haymarket executions emboldened a new generation of American newspapermen and reformers, but none quite like twenty-seven-year old Chicago Evening Post columnist and second-generation Irishman Finley Peter Dunne. Writing under the guise of a fictional Bridgeport saloon keeper named Martin J. (or Mr.) Dooley, Dunne called...

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6. Second City

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pp. 156-194

Chicagoans have long associated the emergence of their world-class city with the timing of the 1893 World’s Fair, for it was that event which brought together the diverse talents, energies, and ideas then percolating within and without the city. “That first year...

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pp. 195-226


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pp. 227-236

About the Author, Publication Information

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pp. 237

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090189
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252035890

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010