Art and Architecture, Chicago, History, Reviews

A lost magazine of the jazz age

jacket imageLast Sunday’s New York Times Book Review closes with a noteworthy piece by Matt Weiland on Neil Harris’s, The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age. Weiland praises the book for its handsome resurrection of one of Chicago’s most stylish publications, offered here for a whole new age to enjoy:

[The Chicagoan] was founded in 1926 by a group of Chicagoans inflamed by the example and success of the New Yorker, which had begun the year before. It was published every two weeks, and before long Time magazine was heralding it for having the “finish and flair worthy of a national publication.” But its readership began to decline as the Great Depression set in, its frequency was reduced to monthly, and in 1935 it died a quiet death. Somehow this vibrant magazine was completely forgotten until a few years ago, when the distinguished cultural historian Neil Harris came upon a set of the magazine’s run in the library of the University of Chicago. It has now been brought back into print, if not to life, by the University of Chicago Press.
What a marvelous job they have done! This is a book you will want to own, a coffee-table book nicer and better than most coffee tables. The University of Chicago Press has swung for the fences, producing the book to the highest standards—a nearly 400-page oversize volume, designed with care and attentiveness, to period detail and featuring loads of full-color images. It’s a pleasure to see the ball sail into the bleachers… Thanks to Neil Harris’s serendipitous discovery and the University of Chicago Press’s superb effort, The Chicagoan takes its rightful place on the top shelf.

Read the review on the NYT website. We have a gallery of covers and illustrations from the magazine and sample pages in PDF (7mb) from the book.