“Upcoming Author Appearances at Newberry Library, Frugal Muse” by S.M. O’Connor

There are four events with authors speaking in Ruggles Hall at The Newberry Library on the North Side of Chicago and one author at Frugal Muse Books in west suburban Darien, Illinois in March and April.  Photojournalist Andrew Lichtenstein and Alex Lichtenstein will speak about their book Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory in Ruggles Hall at The Newberry Library on Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  [Please note that renovation of the ground floor of The Newberry Library began in January of 2018, and Ruggles Hall will be unaffected, but one should check this link for news about which entrance to use and which washrooms are available.] Professors Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf will speak about their book Thomas Jefferson and American Democracy in Ruggles Hall of The Newberry Library on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Journalist David Howard will speak about his book Chasing Phil: The World’s Most Charming Con Man in Ruggles Hall at The Newberry Library on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Emmy-winning leftist radio host, pundit, and author William H. (“Bill”) Press will speak about his book From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire at Frugal Muse Books, Music & Video on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Professor Errol Magidson, author of Chicago’s Only Castle: The History of Givins’ Irish Castle and Its Keepers, will speak in Ruggles Hall at The Newberry Library on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This event with Alex and Andrew Lichtestein will be free and open to the public, but registration is required by 3:00 p.m. on March 8thMarked, Unmarked, Remembered is a book of photographs of historic American landscapes by Andrew Lichtenstein with essays by American Historical Review Editor Alex Lichtenstein and former Journal of American History Editor Edward T. Linethal.  Andrew Lichtenstein is a photographer, journalist, and educator.  His first book was Never Coming Home. Alex Lichtenstein is a Professor of History and Adjunct Professor in the Department of American Studies at Indiana University and Director of the Global Learning-Living Center.

This event with Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf is free and open to the public, but registration is required by 3:00 p.m. on March 14th.  Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf are co-authors of Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.  Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.  She was formerly the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from 2010 to 2016 and the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Queen’s College, University of Oxford, from 2014 to 2015.  He is Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor at Corcoran University.  Sue and Melvin Gray are sponsoring this event, as is the Jack Miller Center as part of a series of programs about Thomas Jefferson.

The event with David Howard is open to the public, but registration is required by 3:00 p.m. on March 20th.  Howard relates in Chasing Phil: The World’s Most Charming Con Man the true story of how young F.B.I. Agents J.J. Wedick and Jack Brennan went undercover in 1977 to take down Phil Kitzer, a confidence man who had swindled people around the world out of millions of dollars.  Howard, who is also author Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic, has written for The New York Times, Men’s Journal, Outside, Travel & Leisure, and Bicycling.  After his presentation, Howard will be signing copies of his book, copies of which will be available for sale.  Doors will open half an hour before the program begins, with seating for first-come, first-served basis for registered attendees.  If seats remain available, individuals who have not registered will be permitted to enter about ten minutes before the event begins.  If one has a question, one should e-mail publicprograms@newberry.org or call (312) 255-3610.

Bill Press will give a presentation and take questions before signing copies of his new book, From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire, which will be available for purchase.  Mr. Press is host of the leftist talk radio program The Bill Press Show on WCPT-AM (a terrestrial radio station based in Willow Springs, Illinois) and YouTube.  He was Chairman of the California Democratic Party from 1993 to 1996.  Press resigned this post a year early to become co-host of Crossfire.  [The show had a lively format that pitted a Republican pundit such as Patrick Buchanan against a Democrat pundit such as Press debating issues of the day.]  The two men also starred on M.S.N.B.C.’s Buchanan & Press.  He also formerly wrote a syndicated newspaper column distributed by Tribune Media Services.  More recently, he wrote about politics for the Website The Hill.  He and his wife, Carol, live in Washington, D.C.  This is his eighth book.  Only copies purchased at Frugal Muse will be allowed in the signing line.  R.S.V.P. by calling (630) 427-1140 or in the store.

The event with Professor Magidson is open to the public, but registration is required by 3:00 p.m. on April 11th.  The book is a companion piece to Magidson’s documentary Chicago’s Only Castle: The History of Givins’ Irish Castle and Its Keepers (2011).  Linda Lamberty of the Ridge Historical Society[1] edited the documentary, which was made possible thanks to a $10,000 grant from Richard H. Driehaus (the founder of the Driehaus Museum). Errol Magidson is an adjunct professor of psychology at Saint Xavier University in Mount Greenwood (Community Area #74) on the Far South Side of Chicago.  For thrity-three years, he was a professor in the Community Colleges of Chicago.  In 2002, the Community Colleges of Chicago named him a Distinguished Professor.  He spent over 3,000 hours making the documentary, for which Phil Ponce  interviewed him on W.T.T.W.’s Chicago Tonight and Rick Kogan interviewed him on W.G.N. Radio’s Chicago After Hours with Rick Kogan.  The castle in question, which is actually a mansion with corner towers that give it a resemblance to a castle keep, stands at the northwest corner of 103rd Street and Longwood Drive.  Professor Magidson relates the history of the building and its various “keepers” in the context of Chicago history, including the Great Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1983), the era of cable-cars, the era of automobiles, and A Century of Poregss International Exposition (1933-34).  It was built with limestone quarried in Joliet, Illinois by Robert Cartwright Givins (1845-1915), an Irish-Canadian real estate developer, novelist (under the nom de plume Snivig C. Trebor), and world traveler who chronicled his journeys in the pages of the Chicago Evening Post.  The Givens family lived there on and off between 1887 and 1909.  Briefly, it served as a finishing school, as the Chicago Female College, from 1895 to 1897.  During that period, Julia Thayer, a poetess and President of the Chicago Female College, lived there, as well.  It was the resdience of the Burdett family from 1909 to 1921.  J.B. Burdett, an inventor who built his own automobiles, won one of Chicago’s first car races, with his wife, Jessie, in a fortymile-long trip to Joliet, in 1901.  The Siemans family lived in the “castle” from 1921 to 1942.  Dr. Miroslaw Siemens, a physican of Ukrainian descent who co-founded the Ukrainian National Museum and a benefactor of St. Nicholas Catholic Cathedral when it opened as a parish church.  Dr. Siemens headed the group of local Ukrainians who sponsored the Ukrainian National Pavilion at A Century of Progress.  [Ukraine was in no position to sponsor a pavilion because it was occupied by Soviet Russia from 1922 to 1991.][2]  Since 1942, it has housed Beverly Unitarian Church.   After his presentation, Magidson will sign copuies of his book, which will be available for pruchase.  The proceeds from the sale of this book will go to The Castle Building Fund, which pays for the preservation and maintenance of the buidling.

The address of The Newberry Library is 60 West Walton, Chicago, Illinois 60610.  The phone number is (312) 943-9090.  The Website is www.Newberry.org. The address Frugal Muse Books is 7511 Lemont Road, Darien, Illinois.  The phone number is (630) 427-1140.  The Website is www.frugalmusebooks.com.


[1] The Ridge Historical Society is dedicated to Morgan Park, Beverly Hills, Washington Heights, and Mount Greenwood community areas on the Far South Side of Chicago.

[2] Before the 13th Century Mongolian invasion of Kievan Rus, the modern Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians were more or less one people and Kievan Rus was vassal state of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire).  The princes of other city-states swore allegiance to the Grand Prince of Kiev who swore allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor.  After the Mongolian invasion, Moscow emerged as the capital of Mongolian Russia (the Grand Duchy of Moscow) and then fought a war of independence from the Mongolian Empire.  Meanwhile, Ukraine and Belarus had begun to forge new identities as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (which also included Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) and that polity was affiliated with the Kingdom of Poland as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.  The Russian Empire, in the 1600s and early 1700s, conquered and annexed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (part of which was then occupied by the Kingdom of Sweden) and with Prussia and Austria, carved up the Kingdom of Poland in the late-1700s.  During this period, the Russians referred to the Russian part of the Russian Empire as Russian Russia and Ukraine as “Little Russia.”  After the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II in the Revolution of February of 1917, only for the Provisional Government to be overthrown by Lenin and his Bolsheviks in the Revolution of October 1917, after which they also massacred the Imperial Family in 1918, the Ukrainians broke free of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.  Between 1917 and 1922, various factions tried to establish a new Ukrainian regime, a Republic of Ukraine, and Lenin’s Soviet Russia tried on three different occasions to establish a puppet regime in Ukraine before the Red Army finally invaded in 1922.  The Russain-controlled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) did not allow constituent republics to have foreign policies, yet when the U.S.A. established the U.N. Stalin demanded each soviet republic in the U.S.S.R. have a seat at the U.N.  Through a combination of malice and incompetance, the Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin and his minions caused the deaths of somewhere between 2,500,000 and 10,000,000 Ukrainians, Russians, and other unfortunate residents of Soviet republics in a manmade famine called the Holodomor (1932-1933), compounded by plagues, forced resettlements, purge executions, and people who died in Gulag forced labor camps.  Stalin re-introduced collective farming and wanted to “liquidate” 5,000,000 kulaks, Ukrainian farmers who had managed to accumulate a little money and did not want collectivization.  Who knows more about farming, farmers or political idealists who got into power at gunpoint? Stalin demanded so much grain from Ukrainian farmers in the midt of collectivization that Ukrainians were reduced to earing grass and treebark in some places.  Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) truthfully related what happened in Ukraine in the pages of the Manchester Guardian, but Walter Duranty (1884-1957), who had won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his coverage of the Soviet Union for “scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment and clarity,” lied in The New York Times.  Muggeridge went to Ukraina, where he witnessed mass starvation and saw unburied corpses.  “Conditions are bad, but there is no famine,” Duranty wrote, in a dispatch from Moscow in 1933.  “But – to put it brutally – you can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs.”  Yet, to a British diplomat, he confided he believed around 10,000,000 people had perished, which is also the number Stalin gave Churchill.  Harison Salisbury exposed Duranty as effectively a Soviet propagandist to the American public in Without Fear or Favor, published in 1980, and S.J. Taylor in Stalin’s Apologist, published in 1990, as Karl E. Meyer pointed out in The New York Times in 1990.

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