We, the Board of Loyola’s History Graduate Student Association, condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer and grieve alongside Floyd’s family, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the nation for his death and the deaths of countless others. This pain is not new; it is centuries-old and insidious, weaving itself into the fabric of our society. Many groups have spoken out more eloquently and more poignantly than us, yet as historians we feel a particular call to add our voices to the nationwide – and international – outcry.
We recognize the systemic targeting of the black community that dates back to the very foundation of our country. It is our duty as historians to provide context and interpretation of our past so we can better understand our present and change our future. For decades, some members of our profession have manipulated and misrepresented history in order to reinforce and justify white supremacy. As the next generation of historians, we must dedicate ourselves to recognizing, confronting, and challenging the version of history they left us with and the deeply flawed system that narrative has enabled to thrive.
To jumpstart crucial, long-overdue conversations about race in history, Loyola’s HGSA Board of 2020-21 is starting an antiracism initiative. In the coming days, we will be rolling out resources to spark learning, thought, and conversation about race in America. We do not know where this will end up, but we hope it will grow into a valuable project for starting difficult conversations and guiding our individual and collective paths to confronting racism. If you are interested in helping with this project, feel free to contact Rachel Madden (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erin Witt (email@example.com).
We also urge you to read the statement by the Loyola Black Graduate Student Alliance (BGSA) on recent events and consider their concrete goals for Loyola to better support Black / African-American grad students, found here. In their words, “we look to the University to truly take on the work needed to acknowledge, address, and dismantle unjust structures evident even within our own classrooms.” The HGSA Board stands with them on their demands for measurable change on campus.
Words on a page and conversation should only be the beginning – change requires a call to action. If you are able, we encourage you to consider donating money, time, or other forms of support to organizations that work to counteract the deep roots and pervasive effects of racial discrimination in our country. The following are a few of the many organizations doing the vital work needed to effect lasting change:
This conversation is just beginning. While the process of pulling back the curtain of our assumptions and accepted narratives can be painful, it is necessary if we are to understand how we got here and at what cost. This process is a lifelong commitment, one that demands honesty, humility, and open mindedness from all of us. Feelings of pain, frustration, anger, confusion, and guilt are normal and expected. Listen to those feelings, recognize your privilege in your ability to even have them, acknowledge them, and turn them into action. Only with that understanding can we begin the work of creating a truly equitable and just society.
The Loyola History Graduate Student Association Boards, 2020-21 and 2019-20
President Scarlett Andes, MA Public History
Vice President Rachel Madden, PhD Public History & American History
Treasurer Casey Terry, MA Public History
Secretary Miranda Ridener, MA Public History
Media Coordinator Ve’Amber Miller, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Erin Witt, Dual MLIS/MA Public History
Public History Chair Elizabeth Schmidt, MA Public History
President Anthony Stamilio, MA Public History
Vice President Emily-Paige Taylor, PhD U.S. Public History & American History
Treasurer Hannah Overstreet, MA Public History
Secretary Davis Stubblefield, MA History
Media Coordinator Alicia Ziemat, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Cate LiaBraaten, PhD Public History & American History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Sophia Croll, PhD Public History & American History
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The Haymarket Square Incident occurred on May 4, 1886 when a bomb was thrown from a crowd of unionized laborers into a line of policemen. Eight men, now pardoned, were tried and convicted for the attack without tangible evidence against them. Four of these men were sentenced to death by hanging . The event is shrouded in mystery, but the monuments erected clearly capture changing sentiments in police brutality and historical documentation. Erected in 1889, and officially removed from the public in 1970, the first monument depicts a policeman with his hand raised, dynamically capturing poise and valor. The second monument, dedicated in 2004, represents the laborers. Sculptor Mary Brogger utilized the speaker’s wagon as a tool on which faceless laborers stand to demand their rights. The 117-year gap between the two monuments, as well as the drastic subject change, signal a deep shift in conceptions about power, worker rights, and humanitarianism.
We mean to make things over;
we’re tired of toil for naught
But our wages are bare enough to live on; never an hour for thought.
We want to feel the sunshine;
we want to smell the flowers;
We’re sure that God has willed it, and we mean to have eight hours.
We’re summoning our forces from shipyard, shop, and mill:
Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours
For what we will .
The demand for an 8-hour work day in Chicago began in 1864, when Civil War sentiments encouraged the oppressed to fight for their rights. In 1867, a law was put in place to satisfy demands, but contained a loophole that negated any efforts to sustain the 8-hour work day for laborers. Later that year in 1867, a citywide strike shut down Chicago’s economy for a week and with it took down the ineffective law. The demands died down, and over the course of the next fifteen years, exhausted laborers gathered again to demand less work and more leisure time .
Then, in May 1886, the movement united laborers and skilled workers from all backgrounds and mobilized during the three days preceding the Haymarket Square Incident on May 4. The influence of anarchist publications played an important role in labor strikes, and fueled officials fears of radical education. While mass production was good for sales and revenue, it was assumed that spare time encouraged men to educate and arm themselves with socialist propaganda that reviled capitalist institutions .
Newspapers such as the German language anarchist publication Arbeiter Zeitung, as well as the English language publication The Alarm advocated for workers to demand their rights at all costs, even taking up arms against their oppressors. Key writers for these papers, August Spies and Albert Parsons respectively, gave speeches on May 4, 1886. Their speeches, as well as their call to arms and inflammatory language in their writing ultimately sentenced them to the gallows .
The four men sentenced to hang, among them August Spies and Albert Parsons, represented the mass of workers and laborers who demanded change within the city. Their final remarks remain true to their anti-capitalist, anarchist sentiments. George Engel, another set to hang on November 11, 1886, harkened the influence of leaders in anti-slavery groups, who, like Engel himself, were sentenced to die for their cause. Engel, on October 8, 1886, noted “I found long ago, that the workingman had no more rights here than anywhere else in the world… and just as the man who agitated against slavery in this country had to ascend the gallows, so must we. He who speaks for the workingman today must hang.” 
The monument erected in 1889 after the hanging heralded a different side of the story. Officials and local papers pushed back against these men, their demands, and their assumed violent actions towards policemen . While there was no evidence to convict these men of throwing the bomb, the hanging acted as a demonstration of power, a warning to those who desired to fight for their right to equal work and leisure time. The monument, placed in Haymarket Square, reminded passerby that the state was in control of laborers’ live, and would use force to ensure that the industrial economy within Chicago was maintained, even at the cost of laborer’s lives. Though there was shifts in labor laws, and many factories and work places began to roll back hours imposed on their workers, the people were continually reminded of their place within the power hierarchyas they had no choice but to participate in the system built against them.
The first Haymarket monument was a consistent object of vandalism. It was moved to Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue in 1900. For 27 years the statue remained untouched, a grim reminder of what happened on May 4, 1886. In 1927, however, a streetcar purposefully crashed into the monument, knocking it over. The driver noted he was “sick of seeing that policeman with his arm raised” . The monument became a symbol of police and citizen unrest. Each time there was a conflict between police and citizens, the monument suffered.
In 1969, civilians, reenacting the original event, placed a bomb between the statues legs and destroyed it a second time. The monument was quickly rebuilt to reinforce the sentiment of control and anti-anarchy it symbolized, but was bombed a second time in 1970 . After the second bombing, it was clear that officials had completely lost the respect of the people concerning this incident, and that a social shift had taken place concerning the interaction of civilians and law officials. Increased police brutality and subsequent protest indicated that the monument must be removed from the public, and that it no longer held the same power over the people as it once had. The monument now is in the Chicago Police Training Academy .
Taking its place is Mary Brogger’s monument to the anarchists and martyrs of the Haymarket incident . Faceless and nameless in life, they are memorialized by abstract figures that represent their social position during the time of these strikes.
The first monument incited a sense of fear within passerby and anarchist alike. Brogger’s monument, however, is a symbol of persistence among people fighting for their rights. Between the dedication of the first monument in 1889 and the second in 2004 is 117 years in which Americans have fought for myriad rights and were met with the same backlash as the laborers at Haymarket Square. After over a century of police brutality and maintenance of a state-dominated status-quo, it is clear that the will of the people prevails in one way or another. Broggerr’s monument represents perseverance, and reminds Chicago of how far the country has come in terms of labor rights, and what is possible when citizens push back for their rights.
Katy Rose, Loyola University Chicago
 De Grazia, “The Haymarkey Bomb,” 310.
 De Grazia, “The Haymarkey Bomb,” 286-7.
 Jentz, “Eight Hour Movement.”
 De Grazia, “The Haymarkey Bomb,” 285.
 Lembcke and Howe, “Chicago Haymarket Centennial,” 96.
With the impending peril of World War II, Chicago searched for American patriots who represented them and could serve as the city’s democratic role models. They discovered the heroes they were looking for in Robert Morris, Haym Salomon, and George Washington. Barnet Hodes and the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago designed the Heald Square Monument to symbolize patriotic unity and tolerance during a global conflict. Today, however, this message is muddled due to its three patriots’ complicated legacies.
In the 1930s, well-connected Chicagoan lawyer Barnet Hodes led the efforts of the city’s elites to construct the Heald Square Monument. In July 1936, Hodes gathered Chicago’s political and financial leaders to form the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago, a non-profit dedicated to promoting democratic values . Chicago’s leaders rallied behind Hodes and his monument to the American Revolution to demonstrate how Americans came together to serve their country in times of crisis . Rather than rely on philanthropic support with the Foundation, Hodes hoped that Chicago’s citizens would be inspired by the monument’s patriotic message, and he successfully appealed for their financial support . Next, Hodes and the Foundation sought American Revolutionary heroes who represented their patriotic beliefs.
The Patriotic Foundation of Chicago selected civilian financiers Robert Morris and Haym Salomon for their monument, with revolutionary war hero George Washington as the focal point. As a Polish Jewish immigrant, Hodes was deeply inspired by Haym Salomon . Salomon was a Polish Jewish immigrant who served as a spy, arranged the escape of American prisoners of war, and secured funding for the revolutionary American government. As a leading figure in the Continental Congress, English immigrant Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was appointed superintendent of finance in 1781. Morris and Salomon, both resourceful businessmen, worked together to provide critically needed money and supplies for Washington and the Continental Army . With the aid given by Morris and Salomon, Washington prolonged the war until Great Britain could no longer afford to continue to fight and was forced to grant American independence. The Patriotic Foundation of Chicago envisioned that Chicagoans would be inspired by the three patriots’ abundant generosity so that their country could endure.
Quote engraved on the front of the base of the Heald Square Monument:
“the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
Hodes and the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago commissioned renowned sculptor Lorado Taft to design the monument. With celebrated sculptures across Illinois, including Chicago’s Fountain of Time, Taft was passionate about the project because of his American Revolutionary ancestors . Fearing possible anti-Semitic attacks, Hodes strongly urged Taft to craft the statues in a way that protected Salomon . Taft gave the monument a profound but straightforward design: the three bronze patriots holding hands in patriotic unity atop a large rectangular stone base. Engraved on the base’s front are the patriots’ names and a powerful quote from Washington condemning bigotry and offering protection to all citizens who stand by the American government . The base’s back has a bronze plaque with an image celebrating America’s tolerance of ethnic diversity. The plaque depicted an enthroned Lady Liberty, reminiscent of New York City’s Statue of Liberty, extending her welcoming arms and torch over the masses seeking America’s shores. While Taft died before its completion, he crafted a monument that unequivocally displayed Chicago’s values of patriotism, unity, and tolerance of all peoples.
After five years of fundraising and sculpting, Chicago’s citizens dedicated its Morris-Washington-Salomon monument on December 15, 1941, the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Adding significance to the day was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor the week before. Chicago and the rest of the nation would be entering another world war. The monument was placed in Heald Square, named after Nathan Heald, a heroic American officer during the War of 1812 who commanded Fort Dearborn, formerly found in the area . While the fort is gone, Chicago’s financial district has since taken over, and the Heald Square Monument was given a prominent location on Wacker Drive on the Chicago River’s south side. The “great triumvirate of patriots,” as President Franklin Roosevelt called the monument , were calling Chicago’s citizens to join in the upcoming fight against fascism and graciously receive people of diverse identities seeking American freedoms.
While Hodes and the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago designed the Heald Square Monument to convey patriotic unity and tolerance, it also imparts a subtle exclusionary message. In their selection of Morris, Washington, and Salomon, they made clear that the ideal American patriots are privileged white men in positions of wealth and power. Both Morris and Washington owned slaves who were forced to work on their plantations for their economic benefit . They expected Salomon, the lone non-Christian, to bear the full weight of showing American tolerance for immigrants. They chose to commemorate American tolerance as the American government detained Japanese American citizens on baseless racial fears in detention camps. The Heald Square Monument’s provoking expression of patriotic unity and tolerance is confounded due to its commemoration of three privileged white men and its ignorance of the United States’ long history of racial intolerance.
The Heald Square Monument and its inspiring yet questionable message has been caught up in the recent highly politized atmosphere. Given its historical importance, the City of Chicago has owned Heald Square since 1959, including its monument, which the Chicago City Council selected as a Chicago Landmark in 1971 . During the nationwide police brutality protests in May 2020, the Heald Square Monument was graffitied with offensive racial slurs that attacked the statues and their tolerant message. . When the monument’s damage was discovered, some Chicagoans, out of respect for the three revolutionary patriots, quickly washed away the hateful slogans . While Hodes was concerned about possible anti-Semitic attacks on Salomon’s statue, he never feared for Morris and Washington’s statues. The Heald Square Monument, with its optimistic portrayal of patriotic unity and tolerance, resonates today while raising doubt if the United States has acted on those principles.
Hodes and the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago believed that the noble patriots of the Heald Square Monument would encourage the people of Chicago to follow their example of patriotic unity and tolerance. These noble patriots have become problematic given their status as privileged white men. The Heald Square Monument reflected Chicago’s political and business leaders and the white middle class who funded it. By honoring Morris, Washington, and Salomon, they disregarded how bigotry and prejudice have been sanctioned throughout American history and snubbed people of color and women’s contributions to the country. Patriotic unity and tolerance are admirable ideals that Americans should strive to live by as they grapple with their heroes’ complex reputations.
Photo taken by Jennifer Barry on November 9, 2020.
Meghan Flannery, Loyola University Chicago
 Harry Barnard, “This Great Triumvirate of Patriots”: The Inspiring Story Behind Lorado Taft’s Chicago Monument to George Washington, Robert Morris, and Haym Salomon (Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1971), 17.
Barnard, Harry. “This Great Triumvirate of Patriots”: The Inspiring Story Behind Lorado Taft’s Chicago Monument to George Washington, Robert Morris, and Haym Salomon. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1971.
Monuments are a showcase to commemorate anyone who has had a direct impact on history. They allow us to continue to remember what they have achieved or what they want us to learn and imbibe in our life. Moreover, monuments can teach us lessons of history’s past and apply in the present and future. Thus, monuments continue to hold significance. As observers, monuments allow us to become more aware of the progress communities have made towards changing their views. Monuments also enable observers to do some introspection of their lives and realize what things hold more importance in our life.
The monument of Daphne Garden is currently in Chicago, Illinois. This monument was part of the Art in the Gardens temporary exhibit in 2004, as seen in Figure 1. At first, the monument’s location was at East Roosevelt Road and South Michigan Avenue. Many visitors and native Chicagoans loved the monument, so the Chicago Park District decided to permanently install it at the Northerly Island Visitor’s Center in 2006. 
Dessa Kirk created Daphne’s monument. Initially, she hails from Alaska but came to Chicago to attend the School of Art Institute.  Kirk aimed to show how Daphne’s myths explored the theme of exploitation among women and discuss different themes and emotions after learning the various myths about Daphne’s story. Kirk had been given the opportunity to create an artwork for The Union League Club of Chicago. In the past Kirk had created similar artwork related to female figures such as Magdalene in Grant Park. 
Anyone who has an interest in ancient Greece can associate Daphne as a part of Greek mythology. She was worshipped by many in ancient Greece during 1600 B.C.E. There are several different versions of Daphne’s myth. The Thessalian myth claims Daphne to be a Greek dryad or a tree sprite. She is the daughter of Penus, the river god. Her mother’s name is unknown. One day Apollo, the God of hunting, mocked Eros the God of Love for his lack of archery skills. Eros, enraged with anger, shot an arrow at Apollo, who became filled with an uncontrolled amount of lust for Daphne. Eros also shot an arrow at Daphne, which made her reject all romantic gestures. Daphne continued to run away from Apollo, as seen in Figure 2. She came to see her father, who helped her escape from Apollo. Daphne right there had escaped by turning into a laurel tree. 
The second version of Daphne’s myth is that she is the daughter of Ladon by Earth. As stated in the first version similarly, Apollo continued to make advances towards Daphne. However, she continued to resist his advances. Daphne came to her mother, Ge, who then turned her into a bay tree. Both myths agree that Apollo kept the tree close to him. 
The third version of Daphne’s myth is similar to the previous myths. In this version, Leucippus, the son of Oenomaüs, is the King of Pisa. He was in love with Daphne and took the disguise of a maiden to stay close with her. Both would go hunting together. Apollo, overcome with jealousy, had Leucippus killed by nymphs. To escape from Apollo, her father transformed Daphne into a laurel tree, as seen in Figure 3. Even though having several different versions of Daphne’s myth, all agree that Daphne had turned into a tree. 
Daphne’s monument represents many emotions that can easily be applied today with women being exploited, especially with the MeToo Movement. Looking closely at Apollo, one can describe him as Daphne’s stalker and unable to stop his sexual desires for Daphne. However, Daphne does not want to give in to his desires and wants to hold onto her virginity and retain her chastity like many women in today’s’ culture. Another emotion that can be showcased is the feeling of being protected by our parents. Daphne’s father helped her transform into a laurel tree; thus, Daphne could remain chaste and escape Apollo. Being chaste is another theme that observers can look at in her story—Apollo’s lust for Daphne versus her desire to remain chaste. Women from different cultures hold this notion of being chaste very close to them, thus believing to be pure.
Through Daphne’s monuments and stories, many can relate to today in how everyday women continue to face exploitation, whether in their personal or professional lives. Daphne’s story is here to remind women that they are not alone in their difficult challenges. Just as Daphne went to her parents for help, women have a support system around them to help in any situation. It also reminds women that they are not alone, and they can overcome any obstacle in their way. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that many women do not feel protective in their personal and professional life. That is a notion that has to be changed.
Daphne’s monument hopes and continues to inspire societies to change their notions about women. Communities should not look at women like objects and prizes. Many communities should give women respect for their ability to handle any situation at any given time. Daphne’s monument hopes to empower women and let them take control of their lives and should not have to change their lives according to others.
Even though Daphne’s’ monument has no relation to Chicago, it can showcase how this monument can allow women to be more open and control what goes on in their lives. While there are different versions of Daphne’s myths in three different ways, all can agree she ultimately transformed into a tree and became a part of nature to get away from Apollo. Daphne’s monument represents how women can take control of their life in today’s time and should not have to feel alone. Another way Daphne’s monuments empower women is through challenging traditional notions of women. Just as Daphne went to her mother for help, women can always go to their mother.
This summer, PhD candidates Cate LiaBraaten and Sean Jacobson created a video series for the Frances Willard House Museum’s commemoration of the 19th Amendment Centennial. This series, Suffrage Sundays. explores the connections between the temperance movement and the suffrage movement. In this blog post, Cate and Sean discuss working on a public history project collaboratively. To view the Suffrage Sundays video series, please visit the Frances Willard House’s Youtube Channel. For more information on the intersection of temperance and suffrage, please see this blog post Cate wrote. Additionally, check out another project from the Frances Willard House: Truth-Telling project: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells.
Cate:Since I reached out to you about joining me on this project, what made you say yes? That is, what do you look for when taking on a new project, especially a collaborative one?
Sean: Honestly, the public history scene has felt pretty moribund since the pandemic.I had been hoping to get involved in volunteer work at public history venues during the summer, but when so many places closed, I had given up on things for a time. So when you reached out to me about Suffrage Sundays, I was thrilled to be a part of another collaborative project and apply skills I’ve gained both from my public history coursework and my training in video production. When taking on new projects, it’s always important to me that I’m doing something that either expands my historical knowledge or advances skills. Doing collaborative work is also helpful practice for anyone wanting to work in public history!
Cate:When it comes to technical skills, how much experience do you think emerging museum professionals need to have before taking on a project—is there room for learning on the fly?
Sean: I think technical know-how is becoming more important in making history accessible to younger generations. The pandemic has made this all the more relevant. That being said, the technology we have now on smartphones is to the point where you don’t need expensive equipment or a formal training in media studies to create good products. I think it behooves historians to pick up on basic video or editing skills because, not unlike writing books or creating exhibits, video production has largely to do with telling narratives. I think historians can overcome some of their intimidation by thinking about gathering footage, recording audio, and editing as analogous to stages of research. You can absolutely learn skills on the fly, especially if you pay attention to some basic tips and strategies (e.g., NEVER shoot in “portrait” mode on a smartphone, record human voices with an isolated audio track, etc.). There are tons of tutorials on YouTube. The best way to learn skills is actually by doing.
Cate:Sometimes it’s challenging for emerging professionals to do projects outside of a school setting or a highly formalized work setting. What are some ways you think people can make collaborative projects work when there’s no clear leader—no boss directly involved or professor?
Sean: I think what we did was delineate specific roles based on what each person’s strengths are. Since you know more about women’s history and the Progressive Era, I trusted your judgment when it came to what to include in the scripts, the images you wanted to include, and the overall purpose of the videos. Likewise, you trusted my judgment when it came to what B-roll footage to include, how to record your voiceover, and the inclusion of music tracks. It certainly helps that we already had that personal rapport with each other since we’re in the same PhD cohort! It’s definitely trickier when you’re collaborating with people you don’t know, so that’s why it’s important to articulate from the start what particular roles each participant has. When it’s a group of 3 or more, I think it’s always helpful to designate someone as a “project manager” to facilitate both internal and external communication. I also believe having a shared project folder in OneDrive or Google Drive is a must!
Okay, now my turn to ask you questions. What inspired you to undertake this Suffrage Sundays project in the first place? And why did you decide on a video series as a medium?
Cate: At the Willard House we’ve been planning on doing something to commemorate the 19th amendment centennial for a long time. We had a series of events for summer 2020 in the works and were kicking off Women’s History month in March when the COVID-19 pandemic really changed everything. I wanted to do some suffrage related programming that could be accessible to people at home. I considered building an online exhibit or website, but one of the Willard House’s most recent projects, Truth Telling, (led by Loyola PhD Candidate Ella Wagner) is on a digital platform, and I wanted to do something totally different–especially because that project already fits its medium so spectacularly! When trying to decide what to do, I came across a video series from the Smithsonian called “Light Talks” –two-minute videos about birds. I loved the two-minute video series format!
Sean: How did you go about selecting topics and featured items for the episodes? Would your process have been similar or different if you were choosing items to exhibit in a museum display?
Cate: I think it was very similar to creating an exhibit. I came up with a broad theme first: that suffrage work and temperance work were overlapping areas of women’s activism and leadership. Then I thought about what artifacts we had that tell that story. Some things I knew I wanted to use immediately, like the suffrage map. Other things, like the Lucy Stone letter, I found after our archivist, Janet Olson, directed me to suffrage-related materials in the archives.
Sean: What about writing the scripts? How did your previous public history training come into play when trying to write scripts for short videos?
Cate: Writing the scripts was both like and unlike other projects. In a way, I thought about what I would include when writing object labels–a balance of generalized information and information specific to the item. I also thought about giving tours of the house museum–what would I say (or have I said) to visitors about the specific objects if we were seeing them together and in person? I think teaching experience helped too, because there’s never enough time to say everything you want to say!
Sean: What did you learn from this project, and how would you do anything different for a similar project in the future?
Cate: I’ll start with the second question–one thing I might do differently is give more overview information upfront. Most of the audience of this series will likely already know what temperance is and who Frances Willard was. In a similar project I would likely broaden the scope. One thing I learned from this project was the power of networking (for lack of a better way to describe it). When I decided I wanted to do this project, I knew I didn’t have the videography skills needed to create as high-quality videos as I wanted, and fortunately I already knew you! I liked thinking of this project as an opportunity to highlight the strengths of a colleague as well as the story itself. I could have done the videography myself, but it would have turned out worse and taken more time! It was really nice to see what using different people’s skill sets can produce.
Imagine a museum dedicated to whaling, set on a venerable old whaling ship from New Bedford, floating majestically in Chicago—first at the foot of the State Street Bridge, and later in the gleaming White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Whenever I tell people this is the subject of my new book, The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress: New Bedford, Chicago and the Twilight of an Industry (McFarland Press, 2020), they invariably say how cool it all sounds.
Figure 1: The Progress in the South Pond of the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893. Book of the Fair, Fin de Siècle Edition, Section Three. Hubert Howe Bancroft. (Chicago: The Bancroft Company, 1893).
The Progress was conceived as New Bedford’s paean to American whaling. Thousands turned out for her departure from the Massachusetts city as she began her journey across North America to Chicago. On that blustery day in June 1892 few would have questioned the assumption that the whaling industry would be gloriously represented and lauded at the most important world’s fair in the nation’s history.
Instead, the Progress was a failed sideshow of marine curiosities, a metaphor for a dying industry out of step with Gilded Age America, and an unmitigated disaster. The enterprise lost her investors a significant fortune, especially Chicago coal baron Henry Weaver. The Progress became a running joke in the final years of the nineteenth century. At one point the once-proud whaling bark was advertised for sale in the classified ads of the Chicago Tribune, just above the notice, “Wanted—A well trained driving goat.” Fire and dynamite eventually sent her to the bottom of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Calumet River.
What does it mean to transform a dying industry into “a museum piece”? That ultimately was the question I kept returning to as I researched and wrote about this strange moment when the history of the American whaling industry intersected with the 1890’s most celebrated freshwater metropolis. It remains a decidedly relevant question today as modern museums strive to preserve, interpret, and contextualize industries such as coal, steel, and manufacturing. Like those industries now, whaling was not dead by the 1890s, just greatly reduced. But it did still continue, remaining a way of life for a cadre of men and their families.
Discovering the ignominious fate of the Progress in Chicago thus opened doors to a decidedly contemporary set of lessons for museum practitioners today. What, exactly, went wrong? And what, if anything, can we learn from those failures over 100 years later? To answer those questions, I realized that I needed to go back much further than the heady months of the Columbian Exposition. That is why my book starts in 1850s New Bedford—the golden age of American whaling. Just like many industries and communities today, New Bedford had developed its own historical memory around whaling’s place in the American narrative. In the case of New Bedford, this blossomed into a literal religious zeal for the industry. The illuminative products of whaling—lamp fuel, lighthouse oil, clean-burning candles—became infused with the Quaker faith, built upon a foundation of light-versus-dark metaphors, beliefs, and practices. When New Bedford’s motto declared Lucem Diffundo— “we diffuse light”—it was both a civic statement and an evangelical claim.
This sort of industrial pride can be incredibly useful for conceiving and executing a museum. That instinct fed the idea of a whaling museum at the Columbian Exposition. The problem is that it can also create blind spots and tunnel vision. Over and over I found a disconnect between New Bedford’s inherent belief in whaling’s relevance and romance, and the way the trade was perceived by others. This included the Chicago syndicate that ultimately funded and ran the museum.
As the Progress journeyed across North America to Chicago via a network of rivers, canals, and finally the Great Lakes, she made a series of intermediate stops as a ticketed attraction. Curious sightseers in Montreal, Buffalo, Racine, and Milwaukee all got a chance to visit the whaling museum before her grand debut in Chicago in July 1892. Tracing that journey as a public historian was especially illuminating because it also showed how the museum changed the further away from New Bedford it went. Today, public historians take it as an article of faith that a museum needs to be connected to its community. The Progress is a terrific case study in this concept, or more accurately, its opposite. The further from whaling’s heart the bark traveled, the more it was severed from its community—a community that was already a shadow of what it had once been.
Figure 2: “The Arctic Whaler Progress.” G.A. Coffin. “There She Blows.” (Chicago: Arctic Whaling Exhibit Co., 1893).
Each stop on the way to Chicago seemed to push the Progress further and further away from the concept of a faithful representation of whaling and the whaling industry. When the whaleship arrived in the waters of Lake Michigan, the transformation into a museum of exotica, curiosities, and maritime hodgepodge was nearly complete. By the time she was moored on the Chicago River, even her New Bedford whaling crew had been replaced with freshwater sailors from Chicago’s schooners. My book explores this tension between an educational experience emphasizing completeness and authenticity, and an entertaining experience emphasizing crowd-pleasing spectacle. This push-and-pull dynamic from more than a century ago is surely not lost on museum practitioners today.
Figure 3: Cover, Souvenir Brochure, State Street Bridge, Chicago. 1892.
The Progress’ years in Chicago up until the fiery dynamiting in 1902 are filled with stories both hair-raising and sad, all of which I trust will be fascinating to any Chicago history aficionado. She sank in the Chicago River with 200 schoolchildren aboard. (Spoiler alert: they escaped!) She sat encased in ice on the Columbian Exposition fairgrounds while workers built the White City around her. Henry Weaver—whose coal money brought the Progress to Chicago and funded the eventual “Arctic Whaling Museum and 10,000 Marine Curiosities Between Decks”—went into receivership. The brand-new Field Columbian Museum bought and displayed the Progress’ vast collection in its first year, only to have museum curators rebel and unceremoniously kick the whaling artifacts out of Chicago at the first opportunity.
By the time I had worked my way to the end of the story, I was fully conscious of the temptation to point fingers and cast blame. Was Henry Weaver the villain here, or perhaps Chicago itself? Did the city’s Gilded Age love of everything modern and profitable make a whaling museum doomed from the beginning? Ultimately, I leave it up to the reader to decide, but I believe simple answers are elusive. Instead, I hope that my book sparks conversations about how to honor communities that may not be ready for their final eulogy or want a museum to become their mausoleum. The story of the Progress is a microhistory for those interested in commemoration, speaking to us over a hundred years later about how to value an industry. All we need do is listen.
The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress: New Bedford, Chicago and the Twilight of an Industry by Daniel Gifford is available on Amazon.com and other online vendors: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08945YF7F/
Daniel Gifford, Ph.D.’s career spans academia and public history, including George Mason University, George Washington University, and the Smithsonian Institution. A scholar of American popular culture and museums studies, he currently teaches at several universities near his home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series of essays written by students of the Fall 2018 Public History course and based on research at Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections.
Forty-five years ago, Loyola University Chicago was celebrating a different anniversary: the Centennial Celebration of the Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery. The school marked the occasion through several activities, events, and seminars. The events and programs highlighted the spirit of the occasion and showcased the school’s talents, camaraderie, and achievements.
The Loyola University Chicago School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery was founded in 1883 as the Chicago Dental Infirmary. The Chicago Dental Infirmary was the first dental school in Chicago and eventually became the largest dental school in the world.  The first dean of the Chicago Dental Infirmary was Truman W. Brophy who served from 1883 to 1920. In the beginning, the school was only open to those who held medical degrees. The course was designed as twenty weeks long and to be completed directly after medical school. The medical school requirement, however, resulted in small class sizes and only two graduates at the end of the second course year. This prompted Dean Brophy and the school’s board to create the Chicago College of Dental Surgery which removed the prerequisite of a medical degree while also teaching medical courses.  During its first three decades, the school existed as a stand-alone institution as well as associated with numerous universities. In 1923, the school affiliated with Loyola University. 
The school moved locations three different times during its first six years before landing at the intersection of Wood and Harrison Streets on the West Side of Chicago in 1893. The building went through numerous renovations as increasing class sizes called for larger facilities. Building changes, however, were not the only changes happening at the dental school. By 1935, the course had become four years long with sixty credit hours or two years of undergraduate education completed. 
The dental school remained at the Harrison Street location until a new facility was built in 1969 at Loyola’s Maywood Medical Campus.  By this point the school had undergone major changes, especially under the direction of Dean William Schoen. Dr. Schoen was a graduate of the Loyola School of Dentistry in 1929 and became dean in 1957. During his tenure, the school increased postgraduate and orthodontic courses, celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, moved to an expansive new location, and developed closed circuit television to teach courses. 
During the 1970s the school further improved their Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant degree programs.  The development of these programs also coincided with an increase in female students both as dental hygienists and as holders of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees. By 1983 the school had become the largest in the state and enrolled on average five hundred students a year.  The Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery opened its Centennial Celebration with a Centennial Convocation on January 23, 1983. The Centennial also marked the ten-thousandth graduate of the dental school.  There proved to be much to celebrate and Loyola University did so in a multitude of ways.
The dental school received well-wishes from various dignitaries and prominent figures, including then President Ronald Reagan. He congratulated “the faculty, alumni, and students of the oldest dental school in Illinois on their efforts to bring excellent dental care to the community they serve.”  The many words of praise and congratulations highlighted the school’s accomplishments throughout its history. During the course of the year, the school celebrated by hosting seminars, masses an alumni travel seminar, and a homecoming banquet.
The school’s numerous seminars started in January and ended in November. Some topics included “Orthodontics for the General Practioner,” “Crown and Bridge,” and “New Products and Foreign Dentistry.”  If you could afford it, the school also offered an alumni Continuing Education Seminar in Hawaii. The seminar was held for a week with varying program levels to tailor to your needs and costs. One could, for example, spend a week on Honolulu or split the week between Honolulu and Kona or Maui. Over the course of the week, five days were devoted to seminars on various topics, the seminars only lasted six hours so one would have plenty of time to explore the other activities of the islands while reuniting with former classmates. The travel seminar was also timed to commence right after the annual American Dental Association convention taking place in Los Angeles so many of the programs included a stopover from one’s hometown in Los Angeles to attend the convention as well.  The travel seminar offered alumni a chance to get together, celebrate the Centennial, and continue their education with seminar courses.
If you received an invitation to the Centennial Homecoming Banquet you would have received the invite above, cordially inviting you to join the school in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hilton Hotel on April 20, 1983 for an evening of cocktails, dinner, honorees recognition, and award presentations.  Also included in your invite letter would be an RSVP card and a notice of a block of hotel rooms at the Conrad Hilton Hotel reserved for the evening. A single room cost fifty dollars a night and a double room cost sixty dollars.  Many other invitations were sent for the school’s various programming and events throughout the year.
On April 10, 1983, you would have had the chance to participate in a Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate the Centennial. The mass was celebrated by the University President, Reverend Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J. The Prayer of the Faithful was conducted by the dental school’s own Dean, Dr. Raffaele Suriano. Various other members of the faculty, staff, alumni, and students of the dental school and University participated in the mass.  The Mass of Thanksgiving became another chance for current students, alumni, and faculty to celebrate the school’s anniversary.
The dental school celebrated its one-hundredth birthday in 1983 and Loyola University will be celebrating its sesquicentennial in 2020. However, the dental school will not be part of the celebrations. The dental school closed its doors in 1993. Loyola’s dental school was not the only dental school to close at the end of the 20th century. At the time of its closure, five other private dental schools had recently closed, leaving only fifty-five dental schools across the nation.  In 2001, Illinois’ only other private dental school at Northwestern University, closed its doors. Many schools cited increasing costs and decreasing enrollments as needs for closure.  Even as the doors remain shuttered 25 years later, the Loyola Dental School’s legacy of preeminent dental care continues to keep the school alive for many today.
The Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery saw many changes over its history. The school grew from a small, two graduate course to the largest dental school in Illinois. Ever expanding, both in size and location, the school continued to transform itself to meet the time’s needs in dental care. The celebration of these improvements and history crowned with the school’s Centennial Celebration in 1983. The school hosted events for students, faculty, and alumni including: seminars, masses, a massive homecoming banquet as well as outings and a travel seminar to Hawaii. The dental school made large strides in dental education, care, and service which called for a year’s worth of celebrating that legacy. The school’s thousands of graduates are a testament to that legacy.