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Developed over the last 10 years by the Newberry Library with the cooperation of the Chicago Historical Society, the monumental Encyclopedia of Chicago0 will be the definitive historical reference source on Chicago for years to come. Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the City of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and three major Chicago corporations helped ensure a very reasonable price. Some 633 experts from across the U.S. wrote the more than 1,400 entries. The encyclopedia is enhanced with numerous photos, engravings, and maps. Entries treat such topics as Acting, ensemble; Agrarian movements; Annexation; Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Literary images of Chicago; Machine politics0 ; and much, much more. Besides encompassing Chicago history, ethnic groups, businesses, cultural institutions, sports, crime, architecture, religions, and other topics, the editors wanted to have the broadest geographic coverage. In addition to the 77 recognized Chicago neighborhoods, 298 suburban municipalities in the six surrounding counties in northern Illinois and two in northern Indiana are covered. Biographical entries of prominent Chicagoans are not included since these would duplicate information in such readily available sources as the American National Biography0 (Oxford, 1999) and Woman Building Chicago, 1790-19900 (Indiana Univ., 2001). Instead there is a "Biographical Dictionary" at the end of the book that lists 2,000 deceased Chicagoans with short entries noting birth, death, and occupation. There is also a separate "Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses, 1820-2000" that offers brief historical summaries for 236 for-profit companies. Important companies are also discussed in entries on significant industry sectors such as Clothing 0 and garment manufacturing, Department stores, Iron and steel, and Transportation0 . These entries are very detailed and give a complete history of each industry and its place in Chicago. The encyclopedia is set up in an A-Z0 format with three types of entries--broad essays of 1,000 to 4,000 words, midlevel entries of 200 to 1,000 words, and basic entries of 200 words. The broad essays give an overview and synthesize scholarship on a subject, while the basic entries focus on a specific event or institution and give brief information to identify what it is and why it is important. The midlevel entries are meant to fill in the gaps left by the broad essays and give more analysis than is found in the basic entries. All entries are signed and cross-referenced and list a bibliography of related books and articles for further reading. The work also features 21 long interpretative essays that reflect recent scholarship in urban history (for example, Racism, ethnicity, and white identity;0 Street life0 ); numerous sidebars that offer varying viewpoints on different topics; a time line of Chicago history; a list of Chicago mayors; historical population statistics for all municipalities; several inserts with color photos and maps; and a comprehensive 60-page index. Fifty-six maps cover topics such as blues clubs in Chicago, Chicago's Deep Tunnel system, Indian settlement patterns in 1830, street railways in 1890, and movie theaters in Chicago in 1926, 1937, and 2002. A notable feature of the volume is the 400 thumbnail maps that show where each municipality and neighborhood is located in the Chicagoland region. The scope of entries and their readability make the encyclopedia outstanding.\b \b0 All ideas, facts, people, and places are explained fully and in terms high-school and general readers can understand. This is a superb ready-reference work on Chicago, a good starting point for students doing research, and just a wonderful book to browse through. There is no other source that contains the breadth and depth of information found here. The Encyclopedia of Chicago0 is a must purchase for every academic, public, and school library in Illinois. Academic and large public libraries across the U.S. will want it as well. --Merle Jacob Copyright 2004 Booklist
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Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and several major Chicago corporations and guided by three editors and composed of some 1400 entries written by more than 600 contributors, this is one monumental reference work. Begun more than a decade ago under the auspices of the Newberry Library and the Chicago Historical Society, it is the most comprehensive one-volume history of Chicago ever published. Much like the city it celebrates, the architecture of this text is distinctive. Three types of alphabetically arranged entries are organized in a tiered reference system: broad essays ranging in length from 1000 to 4000 words, mid-level entries of some 200 to 1000 words; and basic entries of 200 words or fewer. The topics covered include the blues, iron and steel, literary images of Chicago, machine politics, pizza, skyscrapers, theater, and so much more. The built-in "Biographical Dictionary" pays tribute to some 2000 Chicagoans of the past in concise entries listing birth, death, and occupation. Other special features include 21 interpretive essays, among them "Creation of Chicago Sports," "Planning Chicago," and "Political Culture." Sidebars placed near related articles offer additional viewpoints, and a "Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses, 1820-2000" supplies capsule histories of more than 200 companies. The work even goes outside the city limits to include articles on the 298 towns in the six surrounding northern Illinois counties and two northwest Indiana counties just across the state line. Bottom Line Rich in scholarship and sparkling with photos, maps, and engravings, this is a treasure suitable for any reference collection.-Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.