Glory, Darkness, Light: A History of the Union League Club of Chicago

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Northwestern University Press, 2004 - History - 254 pages
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With roots in the Civil War, the Union League Club of Chicago grew up, prospered, and suffered alongside its city. Glory, Darkness, Light: A History of the Union Club of Chicago tells an honest story of how the Club and its members have built, boosted, and squabbled with their city for 125 years.

The Union League Club of Chicago is unique among the country's 2,000 city clubs in its rich mix of civic, artistic, and charitable missions. In 1893, Club leaders saved and then presented the incomparable World's Columbian Exposition to 27 million awed visitors. Today the walls of its 23-story clubhouse are gilded with a noted art collection whose pieces overlook elegant dining rooms as well as offices for its four Boys & Girls clubs and two other charitable foundations. However, the Club history also has its darker chapters. Half the members of the Club board of directors in 2003--Jews, blacks, women--would have been neither eligible not acceptable for membership a half-century earlier. Based on their own records, the Club's resistance to these groups as members is recounted in sharp detail.

Drawing on interviews, oral histories, and the Club's extensive archives, Glory, Darkness, Light: A History of the Union League Club of Chicago is both a grand city history and a revealing look at what goes on behind the brass plaque of a prominent city club.

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The Union Leagues Versus the Knights of the Golden Circle
Owen Needs a Job Long John Seeks a Marching Club
Life in the Early Club

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About the author (2004)

James D. Nowlan is a senior fellow with the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He is also the author of A New Game Plan for Illinois (Neltnor House, 1989), and a novel, The Itinerant: A Heartland Story (Conversation Press, 2000), and co-author with Samuel K. Gove of Illinois Politics and Government: The Expanding Metropolitan Frontier (Nebraska, 1996).

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