THE CHICAGO LITERARY CLUB
Summaries of Papers 1996-97
October 7, 1996 - Knox Hill - Member since 1987 and currently on the Officers and
Members Committee; replacing President John Notz who was ill, Knox delivered his 4th Paper at
the Season's opening meeting at The Fortnightly:
Kipling: A biographical
review of Rudyard Kipling and of the reputation he enjoyed during his lifetime (1965-1936). He
became a popular writer at an early age and a winner of the Nobel prize in literature in 1907.
Paper contains quotations and excerpts from his works.
October 14, 1996 - John
K. Notz - Member since 1986 and President for 1996-'97, delivered his 5th Paper at the
Club's first meeting at the new Cliff Dwellers:
Prairie on the Lakes: An
extension of his March '96 Paper on landscape architect, Jens Jensen, a designer in the style of the
Prairie School. Explores the works of several other Prairie School structural and landscape
architects in and about Geneva and Delevan Lakes, Wisconsin and why after 1915 clients of such
architects ceased to request the Prairie School design style. Describes projects of lesser known
but highly skilled architects and concludes with an unresolved identification question on an
architect active in the Lake Geneva during the prairie school prolific period of 1900-
October 21, 1996 - Todd S. Parkhurst - Member since 1970 and
President in 1989-'90, delivered his 11th Paper at The Cliff
Journeys: Description of life in Cook County Traffic Court, the
world's busiest courthouse in which 15 judges each hear 400-700 cases daily. Details judicial
procedures and practice, and references the reform and improvements effected in recent years.
Tells of plans for the Court's possible movement - journey- from 321 N. LaSalle to a new
specially designed courthouse south of the Loop.
October 28, 1996 - Robert W.
Carton - Member since 1982, President in 1994-'95 and currently on the Officers and
Members Committee; delivered his 8th Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
From Lausanne: Provides an appreciation of the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by
English scholar, Edward Gibbon, as derived from Bob's 1854 edition of the 8 volumes. Includes a
biographical review of Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) and the circumstances leading to this
monumental work, the final 3 volumes of which were written in Lausanne, Switzerland. Most
impressive is the work's very sweep, covering as it does the 1200 years starting with the 2nd
Century and depicting the breakdown of the Roman Empire and formation of the modern
November 4, 1996 - John A. Cook - Member since
1987 and currently Chairman of Rooms and Finances; delivered his 6th Paper on the eve of this
Century's last Presidential Election, at The Cliff Dwellers:
Electorates - Where Now?: A discussion of the history of a citizen's right to vote; how it
had grown from that accorded to only the privileged few to virtually everyone of age. As this
right has encompassed all of the adult populace, candidates have come to realize the efficacy of
making their message very simple and repetitive. That it must also be transmitted via television, a
most costly medium, has its ramifications. John provides thoughts on whether the right to vote
implies the obligation to vote and whether one's registration as a voter might properly be voided
upon failure to vote.
November 11, 1996 - Yolanda M. Deen - Member
since 1995; delivered her 1st Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
D'Amour: Famous men and women have forever been fascinating to us. The author
identifies five of the most famous women of all time - Marie Antoinette, Wallis Simpson,
Cleopatra, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Greta Garbo - and discusses the common thread that ran
through their lives. Their well-defined pattern of behavior propelled them onto the world scene, as
their lifetimes of excess and obsession drove them to their goals. They are united by their
perceptions of themselves as feminine creatures intoxicated by their own personal brand of
November 18, 1996 - L. F. Barry Barrington - Member
since 1995; delivered his 2nd Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Musical Chairs: Borrows from obvious need to put every reported event into
time-and-location focus. Whether it be an eclipse of the moon or Dennis Rodman's skillful
recovery of the other team's backboard rebound, the event occurs at some second of some
minute, at some place. That is especially true in the case of some fast chemical reactions, and in
most musical-chair games. Mister Ogston was quite interested in the luck of the next-to-last
person looking for the last chair, and in related events in nature. Such events leave unusual and
unexpected imprints on the seat of our pants, as this paper reminds us.
1996 - Richardson L. Spofford - Member since 1971; Recording Secretary in
1995-96 and currently on the Rooms and Finances Committee; delivered his 8th Paper at The
Master of the Slave Ship: This is an account of the life of
John Newton (1725-1807) - seaman, slave trader, captain of a slave ship, customs officer and
clergyman in the Anglican Church. He is remembered today as the author of the hymn, "Amazing
Grace". Aside from a few Christmas carols, it is probably the best-loved one in the
English-speaking world, and has been translated into many other languages. He is a good
example of the many self-educated Britons of the l7th-l8th- 19th centuries who were successful in
life and contributed something to their society and world.
December 2, 1996 -
Nancy N. Gorman - Member since 1995, water colorist and specialist on the works of
William Morris; delivered her first Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Windows: The author introduces the Club to a mixed media novelty--she combines a taped
reproduction of her reading voice with primary illustrations shown as overhead displays. Her
presentation focuses on the features and functions of windows in both utilitarian and
decorative applications, not overlooking spiritual aspects. Framed spaces, enclosed apertures
and circumscribed (oval, round, rectangular or slit) sections of walls are examined and
characterized in settings as diverse as the Irish countryside, London, Chicago, street scenes and
selected poetic works. The Paper includes a generous review of motives of window
watchers, exemplified by the author and the reverse pun of her title.
December 9, 1996
- Roger E. Ball - Member since 1988 and past member of Committee on Officers and
Members; delivered his fifth Paper on December 9th at The Cliff
Across the Boundary: The Paper explored various theories
concerned with human and animal communication and told two anecdotes based on the writer's
December 16, 1996 - Elmer Gertz - Member since 1961, Club
President in 1977-78, past Chairman and ember of virtually all committees; has delivered over
twenty Papers and Book Reviews, with the latest being at the Cliff Dwellers:
Centennials: Paper deals with commemorations in which the author has participated: of
Bernard Shaw, Nikola Tesla, Clarence Darrow, Vladimir Jabotinsky and Henry Miller. These
were five renowned persons whose lives had crossed the author's. He spoke at these events
and, in two instances, arranged exhibits of their memorabilia.
January 6, 1997 -
Leonard I. Kranzler - Member since 1975; delivered his fifth Paper at The Cliff
Toldot - An Ethical Will: Dr. Kranzler described three areas he
found especially meaningful which he wished to convey to his family: An interest in Bible study,
and interest in family history and an interest in the neurophysiology of learning. He provided a
listing of the methods used in Biblical analysis and examples of what each method can teach. He
provided vignettes of family history in which Biblical principles were actually played out in that
individual's actions and he described the current concept of the multi- focal involvement of the
brain in learning and a practical method of augmenting that process. These three subjects were
integrated by the suggestion that Biblical studies, learned in the manner outlined, resulted in the
real life actions described.
January 13, 1997 - George W. Overton -
Member since 1989; delivered his second paper at the Union League Club at our Midwinter
The Use and Abuse of Nostalgia: Describes the distinction
between nostalgia and memory; i.e., memory in the precise historical sense. Nostalgia is always
selective, usually a partial fiction, and always part of a positive emotion. There then is specific
reference to use of nostalgia in landscape painting, with it being pointed out that many Dutch and
English landscapes portray a scene that is frequently fictitious. In conclusion, it is stated that
the opposing sides in the Meigs Field/Northerly Island controversy might use the techniques of
the English and Dutch painters: Portray the scene as we hope to have it look, and perhaps the
supporters of each side will say, 'Hasn't it always been that way?
January 20, 1997 -
Lewis B. Gibson, M.D. - Member since 1993, currently the Club's Corresponding
Secretary; delivered his third Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
He Was a Queer
Looker, But Smart: This is a history of Theodore Roosevelt's accomplishments as a
conservationist. His childhood fascination with natural history is described as are the real
contributions to ornithology he made at this time. The laboratory work at Harvard led him to
give up a career as a naturalist, but did not diminish his love of natural history and the outdoors.
Roosevelt's work as a rancher in the bad lands of North Dakota and his travels in the west made
him an authority on wilderness hunting. After this, during his political career, he became one of
the founders of conservation in this country, especially our National Forest and Wildlife
Refugees. The paper ends by questioning the future of conservation and the role of the hunter and
fisherman in this future. It is suggested that these groups know more, and care more, about the
outdoors than do the "I break for animals" people.
January 27, 1997 - Manly W.
Mumford - Member since 1961, Club President in 1978-79; delivered his fifteenth Paper at
The Cliff Dwellers:
The Old Family Fire: Relates the experiences of the author's ancestors and other relatives at the time of the
Great Fire of 1871 when his Great-great Grandfather, Roswell B. Mason, happened to be Mayor
February 3, 1997 - Hansjuergen W. Kienast - Member since
1980; delivered his eighth Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Where It All Began:
Account of the birth and growth of space travel, from Wernher Von Braun's rocket program
(1937-1944) at Peenemunde in farthest Northeastern Germany to his team's postwar program in
the United States which led to placing men on the Moon in 1969.Paper ranges from writer's
own experience a ~ 20-year old medical ensign in the German Navy, rushed to Peenemunde with
an emergency team to treat hundreds of prisoners gravely injured by an RAF bombing on August
18-19, 1943, to his visit to the area 53 years later during a medical congress nearby at the
540-year old University of Greifswald. Reflections range from the age-old fantasy of space travel
to its perversion during a period of human folly.
February 10, 1997 - Howard B.
Prossnitz - Member since 1989, currently the Club's Treasurer; delivered his third Paper at
The Cliff Dwellers:
Through the Brooking Glass: Concerns the
contemporary English authoress, Anita Brookner, and three of her novels, "Hotel du Lac" -
"Latecomers" - Incidents in the Ruehaugier". Explored are the common themes of her books -
characters seeking to return to their origins, craving stability and routine and ultimately coming to
terms with their shortcomings and human frailties.
February 17, 1997 - Donald
Von Fenning Wrobleski - Member since 1992; currently on Club's Committee on
Publications; delivered his third Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Jerusalem: With slide illustrations, Paper tells of the first seven Gothic Cathedrals: Laon
1170, Paris 1175, Chartres 1194, Boughes 1195, Rheims 1212, and Beauvais 1225, in Northern
France that represent one of the high points of Western Architecture. Inspired by tales of the First
Crusade of 1096 Abbot Suger, Chief Advisor to Louis VII, sought to rebuild the Romanesque
Church of St. Denis outside Paris in a new architecture of height and light enhanced by large,
glistening stained glass - thus he invented the Gothic. The nave of the Cathedral of Amiens
provides a luminous mixture of light that produces a connection to the Divine closer than the
writer believes architecture has ever come -or the heavenly new Jerusalem.
24, 1997 - John S. Wilson - Member since 1993, currently the Club's Recording
Secretary; delivered his first Paper at the Cliff Dwellers:
Famous: A sketch of a friendship of an unlikely combination. How likely is it that a devout
nun confined in an English abbey, a man known as an authority on ancient manuscripts and
bookbinding types, and a celebrated playwright could be the subject of a major play written by a
distinguished playwright? The play, "Best of Friends", written by Hugh Whitemore, was based
solely on adaptation of letters exchanged by three friends. The playwright did not imagine or
invent a cast of characters. He arranged for us in dramatic form the words in letters exchanged
between them the story of a friendship. He was blessed with unique, mature and productive
talent on which to draw.
March 3, 1997 - Patricia A. Nell - Member since
1995, currently on the committee on arrangements and exercises; delivered her second Paper on
March 3rd at The Cliff Dwellers:
Why Us: Deals with the history of the
Balkans and the strategic placement of Bosnia during the past century, the resilience of the Slavs
after centuries of occupation, and the cultural differences between the East and West. Bosnia
represents over 500 years of coexistence and cooperation between Slavs of three different ethnic
backgrounds. Perhaps the presence of the United States, as part of the commitment made when it
recognized Bosnia's independence, will restore stability to the area and provide a time for all
parties to reflect on their mutual rich culture. The United States is present because of our
membership in NATO. We are geographically, economically, and emotionally uninvolved.
This lack of bias is our strength and is Why Us.
March 10, 1997 - John Notz
- President, presented the first of the season's Classic Nights at The Cliff Dwellers and chose
as his reading:
Eagle Forgotten: This is a 1938 book review by George
Packard of Harry Barnard's biography of John Altgeld, Governor of Illinois (1893-1897). In
covering his life, it provides an introduction to what Clarence Darrow did for Altgeld in the
twilight of Altgeld's life, after he lost the governorship and was devoting his energies to
combating Bryan's influence on the then Democratic Party. In a preface and in closing remarks
John Notz took special note of the significant lasting influence of Altgeld's personality on the then
junior lawyer that was the George Packard of the 1880's. Packard was a member of the club for
fifty-five years and gave over thirty Papers.
March 17, 1997 - John Wilson -
Recording Secretary, presented the second of the season's Classic Nights at The Cliff Dwellers
and chose as his reading:
Inside Germany: 1914-1918: This paper was
written in 1942 by Max Rheinstein who had lived through the first World War as a volunteer
German soldier. It describes the slow disillusionment of an enthusiastic German boy of 1914,
through when he had become a defeated German soldier of 1918.
March 24, 1997 -
John Gerlits - Member since 1980; President during the 1990-1991 season; delivered his
fifth Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
The Fast Lane: Provides an insight into
the complexities of commercial banking and how much it has changed in the second half of this
century. It also cautions that as fruitful as banking's invigorating initiatives have been, the current
environment is now rendering them dangerous and new approaches must soon be introduced to
maintain the system's stability and our confidence in it.
March 31, 1997 - William
H. Beauman - Member since 1986, past member of committee on arrangements and
exercises; delivered his fourth Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
The Unkindest Cut?: The title refers to the fact that
some ancient Oriental Eunuchs enjoyed great power and influence. That condition is then used as
a metaphor for discussions of other sexual losses such as prostate and breast cancers, other kinds
of physical limitation, and finally, for senescence and loss of vitality itself. possible remedies and
preventative measures are investigated, along with questions on the quality of life. Humor is
used throughout to lighten the heavy subject matter.
April 7, 1997 - Mark Pool
- Member since 1995; delivered his first Paper The Cliff Dwellers:
Revisited: A review of Gilbert Keith Chesterton's four major books on religious, specifically
Christian, themes: Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Acquinas
and The Everlasting Man. The author discusses Chesterton's analysis of modernism and his
response to these problems through the Roman Catholic faith. An overview of Post-Reformation
English Catholicism is provided, as well as a brief biographical sketch of Chesterton, for the
context in which these books were written.
April 14, 1997 - Nelson Borelli -
Member since 1992; presented his second Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Juana: Discusses Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, the 17th century prodigy, literary giant,
champion of sexless intellect, devoted Catholic who, at the request of her bishop, gave up all
intellectual pursuits, to die a few years later in Mexico City.
April 21, 1997 -
Robert Cotner - Member since 1996 and Arthur Baer Fellowship Speaker; long-time
member of the Caxton Club and Conductor of its programs during its recent centennial year;
delivered his Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
By Lamplight: In celebration of
National Poetry Month, Robert Cotner chose to read a collection of his writing over the past 40
years, some as recently as that morning. His vision embodies his recollection of and reaction of
the events of the day, from the passing of a blind man to the Challenger disaster. His writings are
of an emerging nature - organic and casual in viewpoint and language. He has refused to see the
world as a poet, theorist, or professional, but sees it as a human being, striving for a simple
elegance that captures the profound essence of the human experience in his time.
April 28, 1997 - Hugh J. Schwartzberg - Member since 1977; currently on
the Committee of Rooms and Finances; delivered his sixth Paper at The Cliff
Invisible, With Liberty and Justice For All: Tells of James Wilson
and states that whether Wilson or James Madison was the most important figure in the drafting of
the United States Constitution, Wilson's "Invisibility" is remarkable. Wilson's writings presaged
the Declaration of Independence, for which he cast the deciding vote. As a negotiator for the
Second Continental Congress, he made peace with some of the Indian tribes. He, and not
Hamilton, was the principal designer behind the first national bank for the new nation. He was
also the source for the Ninth Amendment to our Constitution and it was he who inserted the
phrase "We, the people." He invented the American Presidency. As the first Justice of the United
States Supreme Court, he declared Judicial Supremacy, long before John Marshall ascended to
the court. By custom, practice and Constitutional Amendment, we now live within Wilson's
vision of our National democratic structure.
May 5, 1997 - Philip R. Liebson
- Member since 1992; delivered his second Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Near Beer: The influences of Samuel Johnson and Henry
Louis Mencken on the English language are presented, mainly through examination of
Johnson's Dictionary and Mencken's The American Language. Their social and political
thoughts are compared and contrasted within the context of their times. Their idiosyncracies and
the special role of alcohol in their lives is examined.
May 12, 1997 - Francis H.
Straus - Member since 1966; currently on the Committee of Rooms and Finances; delivered
his tenth Paper at The Cliff Dwellers:
Tulbend: Deals with the history,
natural history, anatomy and physiology of tulips. There is discussion of commercial culture and
a description of the tulip mania of 1635-36. The paper finishes with a personal ausflug to Holland
in order to see tulips and attempts to grow tulips in Chicago and Indiana.
1997 - Anthony J. Batko - Member since 1981; currently on the Committee for
Officers and Members; President in the 1987-88 Season; delivered his sixth Paper, his second
Closing Meeting presentation, on May 19th at The Casino:
autobiographical account of coming of age in the Forties and the contributions that a precocious
friend brought to this process. Narrative and anecdotes focus on life and events in a typical
Chicago ethnic neighborhood.
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