Saturday, February 09, 2008

Marjorie Warvelle Bear's A mile square of Chicago

Zorn: Overdue book: "...Mile Square..." published at last
Nearly 50 years after Marjorie Warvelle Bear started writing her book, 38 years after she finished it, 26 years after she died and 14 years after I wrote a column about her languishing manuscript, "A Mile Square of Chicago" is now in print.

It's a sprawling and meticulously detailed remembrance of the neighborhood of Bear's youth -- -the area on the West Side between Ashland and Western Avenues from Lake Street on the north to Harrison Street on the south just after the turn of the century.

1 comment:

danzmark said...

An absorbing, hard to put down, book.
When I was asked to read this 549 page book by one of the author’s sons, I reluctantly said I would. However from the first page of the Introduction, I was hooked. It is beautifully written, well organized and illustrated. I would like to have a summary so that I could walk the Mile Square of Chicago that is described. While there, I could consider all of the famous people who the author described that lived in that area of Chicago, and view those structures that remain. I especially enjoyed the details about Tad Lincoln, one of Abraham Lincoln’s sons.
Since I have a science degree and worked in the medical field, I found the sections on the Chicago Medical center, both its early history and its later years in the author’s section entitled Book Three: Today and Tomorrow to be of personal interest. To think I almost did a postdoctoral fellowship at that institution!
In the Foreword the editor, Arthur T. Orawski, mentions that the author’s obituary stated: Marjorie “…will be remembered by many as a “Renaissance woman”…".
I know all of Marjorie Warvelle Bear’s children. I think each of them could also be thought of as a Renaissance Man or Woman which certainly testifies to the author’s life.
This book is not only a fascinating description of a certain area and peoples of Chicago, it is a detailed history of the city, including descriptions of the Great Fire of 1871 and the World’s Fair of 1893. The book is divided into three sections: Book One: Before My Day; Book Two: In My Day; Book Three: Today And Tomorrow, for a total of Fifteen Chapters. In each Chapter, the author has included appropriate quotes and poetry. This book should be included in the list of required reading for all students, especially for those attending the schools described. Further, I highly recommend the book for all who enjoy American History.
Janet Tisdale Nell Herbert
Dr. Herbert holds a BS from the College of Charleston, MS and PhD from Florida State University (FSU) and has numerous papers published in scientific journals.