THE CHICAGO LITERARY CLUB
Summaries of Papers 1998-99
Jack Broeksmit, on October 5, 1998, presented his Presidential Address, "The Ever-Shifting
Opalescence," an ode to the early explorers of our Great Lakes.
Robert Carton addressed the lack of Central European poets in our bookstores and celebrated the
life and career of Reiner Maria Rilke in "The Real Mr. Brigge" on October 12.
Todd Parkhurst audibly demonstrated the use of "Voices"
as he first acquainted us with the specialized requirements of the voice-over announcer, and
secondly as he explored the use of the human voice to communicate with the computer on
Gerald F. Kreyche made a welcome reappearance in
Chicago on October 26 from his retirement home in Colorado to regale us with "Hopscotch:
Reflections Along the Trail," a fascinating account of a camping trip along the Lewis and Clark
route to the Pacific. Many philosophic references sprinkled throughout the paper added much to
a vivid personal account.
Manly Mumford addressed the growth of the Internet in
"On Line" on November 2, which also chronicled the birth of the Club's own Internet Web site.
Leon Carrow entertained the Club on November 9 with
"Sell It or Smell It," a paper both personal and historical regarding the growth and development
of the South Water Street Market. The growth of the market is seen through the eyes of his
father, who came to the US as a youth and became very successful in the market in the early part
of the century.
Clark Wagner took the Club back to its origins on November 16 with "Our Victorian Roots."
This paper built on work and research that he did in preparation for the Anniversary Committee,
and presented many fascinating original insights from our archives and the early histories of the
Teresa Conway gave us "Portrait" on November 23, a
moving and fascinating account of a
Jewess living in Germany during two World Wars, who married a non-Jew and survived the Nazi
period. She and her husband eventually moved to Evanston, where she became an inspiring piano
Mel Marks presented a moving eulogy to a wartime
compatriot and long-time friend in "We Never Say Goodbye" on November 30. In the process,
he also examined a strong friendship that came from shared experience, not from similarity of
background or common interest, that lasted half a century.
John Blew surveyed the lives and business of Wright Howes
and his wife, Zoe Howes, in "'Howes'- The Man (and Woman) Behind the Book". Howes was an
internationally known antiquarian book dealer in Chicago, specializing in Americana. Near the end
of his life he compiled a famous bibliography of Americana, U.S. Iana.
Ray H. Greenblatt presented "Havoc or Chaos" on
December 14. Chronicling the determination of an inner city formerly Catholic private school,
Provident St. Mel, Ray also demonstrated his clear and very practical commitment to helping
these students by teaching economics. The story starts with the imminent closure of a failing
parochial school, through it's conversion to a private community-based school and its growth into
a community anchor and ultimately, national recognition
Ralph Fujimoto began the year 1999 on January 4 with "From
Leucadia to Matsue-An Odyssey," which was a fascinating account of the life of Lafcadio Hearn
from his birth in the Greek Islands, to schooling in Britain, emigration to America, and finally to
Japan, all stemming from Ralph's own odyssey to Mt. Fuji.
Roger E. Ball's address, "A Literary Club for a New
Millennium," a reminder to us of the perils and presumptions of predicting the future, was the
centerpiece of a gala evening January 11, 1999 at the Newberry Library, repository of our Club
records and source of some of our best members.
David O. Lehman, Harvard '69, offered "Confessions of a Class" on January 18 as a reflection on
some of the unusual and famous members of his college class, ranging from the founder of
Broderbund Software to the (current) Vice-President of the United States.
Francis Straus II, long-term member of the Club and scion
of several other long-term members, presented "About Sixty-Six Chicago Literary Club Papers"
on January 25, in which he reviewed the nature and contents of the sixty-six papers read by his
family in an attempt to find common themes through the years.
Hubert Catchpole presented "Just One of Those Years" on February 1, in which he described
pre-war (WWI) rural England in the years 1906-1915 as seen through the eyes of a youth.
David Maher sought to find the reason that four operas were
set in Seville, Spain, in "An Intriguing City," on February 8, even though the authors had never
been there, and why the subject matter of each was politically and sexually subversive.
Richard Thompson gave the Club selections of his latest poetry on February 15, written since his
last outing in 1995.
Howard Prossnitz read "Fords" on February 22, a
combination of the history of Haverford College, biographies of its most influential president and
a well-beloved alumnus of the College, and his own experience of that alumnus' hospitality and
William H. Beauman delivered "Nanoculture" on March
1, describing recent discoveries and theories involving extremely small objects.
Anthony Zummer presented "Simple," on March 8, a continuation of his series of sketches of
teenage life in Kankakee in another era.
Peter Edge gave us "A Man from Wolverhampton" on March 15. This was a biography of his
first cousin, Charles Marston, sprinkled with the usual Edge wit.
William Barnhart, in "Public Member" on March 22, gave us
an extended biography of Frank Joseph Loesch, a Club member who moved from the presidency
of the Club to Chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission in the time of Al Capone, and who
was instrumental in Capone's downfall.
Lewis "Pete" Gibson focused on a major American literary life in "Humor, Reason, and H.L.
Mencken" on March 29.
Frederick D. Malkinson read "Paternity, U.S.A." on April
5, 1999. This is a review of many both little known and well recognized controversial aspects of
George Washington's career, and the manner in which Mason Locke Weems's "Life of
Washington," the first biography of our first president, then played an essential role in
establishing Washington's everlasting fame.
Dennis O'Dea's paper, "Predators" was read by Richard Jacobson on April 12. It was an amusing
semi-biographical and semi-fictional account of the Kennedy clan in politics and social life.
Neil Harris, the Arthur Baer Fellow, on April 19, in "Chicago Magna" explored the influence of
turn-of-the-century Chicago on three men: L. Frank Baum, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and William
William Petersen presented "Fresh Air" on April 26, describing the fresh air movement for inner-city youth, and the camp at Lake Geneva, from its inception to the present.
Donald Parker, in "The Philosopher," on May 3, discussed
Aristotle and the study of philosophy.
Anthony Batko presented a classic paper, "Bergen Evans before Northwestern" on May 10.
Leonard Reiffel closed our 125th anniversary season on May 17 with "Turn Down an Empty
Glass" at The Casino.
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