History of The Chicagoan project

When Neil Harris discovered The Chicagoan while browsing the Regenstein stacks, he immediately recognized the potential research significance of the publication. He spent two decades researching the magazine’s history and, with Teri J. Edelstein, selecting the small amount of text and images that could be included in The Chicagoan; A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).

Harris hoped that the book would spark further research into the publication and its literary, cultural, and artistic milieu. This digital collection, which reproduces the full contents of the magazine’s run (with the exception of a few missing issues) provides a wealth of material to support these investigations.

Julia Fay Hecker donated most of the volumes in the University of Chicago Library’s run of The Chicagoan. As Harris explains, her gift "made all this possible," and exemplifies the interrelationships among publishers, collectors, libraries, and researchers that produced the magazine, a book, and a digital collection.


Patrick Spain graduated from the University of Chicago in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ancient Roman History. Spain has worked in the technology industry since graduating from Boston University School of Law in 1979. Since 1990 he has been a serial entrepreneur who founded or cofounded and led four successful Web-based companies: Hoover’s, Inc., HighBeam Research, Newser and First Stop Health. He has been a member of the University of Chicago Library Society Steering Committee since 2004.

Horse and Jockey

His personal and professional interests lie at the intersection of information and technology. He is particularly interested in how emerging technologies can make rare and hard-to access printed material available in digital format to a larger number of people. In addition to his gift to support digitization of The Chicagoan in memory of his wife Barbara M. Spain (1953-2008), Spain has supported the digitization of a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle at Beloit College ( index.htm). He collects antique maps and through his new found interest in genealogy has discovered that he is a remote (thankfully) relative of Genghis Khan.

Neil Harris is a cultural historian with particular interests in the history of museums and libraries, the social history of art and design, the development of world's fairs, popular entertainment, the history of art collecting, the design of shopping environments, and the relationship between people and the built landscape. His last three books are Building Lives: Constructing Rites and Passages; Chicago Apartments: A Century of Lakefront Luxury; and The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age. His current project concerns the history of the National Gallery of Art under director John Carter Brown (to be published in November 2013 as Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience).

Permission to reproduce the cover image of The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age courtesy of University of Chicago Press.


The Chicagoan was originally published by The Quigley Publishing Company which was founded in 1915 by the drama critic Martin J. Quigley. A central figure in the early film industry, Quigley published the standard trade weeklies and authored the Motion Picture Code. He was succeeded as president and publisher by his son, Martin Quigley, Jr., a film journalist and historian. The Quigley Publishing Company, now run by Martin Quigley’s son, Bill Quigley, continues to publish the classic works International Motion Picture Almanac and International Television and Video Almanac. Permission to reproduce The Chicagoan courtesy of The Quigley Publishing Company.