Thursday, October 22, 2020

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Give the Lady What She Wants

GIVE THE LADY WHAT SHE WANTS | Herman Kogan & Lloyd Wendt | BUY HERE ABOUT THE BOOK (New Release 2019) In the heart of downtown, there was a palace of commerce, a jewel of Chicago history. It was Marshall Field & Company. "Give the lady what she wants". "The customer is always right". These generous policies are Marshall Field's legacy to the world of retail. Here is the department store's history, a love story, told with fun and flair. It include a very personal new preface by Rick Kogan, longtime Chicago newpaperman, radio personality, and eldest son of...

John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded...

ISBN: 9780375726156 | BUY HERE David S. Reynolds' study of the heroic abolitionist John Brown is more than a biography of one man; it's an account of an entire era.  The author helps us understand the forces that shaped Brown and made him such a fierce opponent of slavery. It also conveys a vivid picture of life -- especially cultural life --in the United States before the Civil War, the decades when an intense debate raged over slavery. With great verve, Reynolds recounts how Brown and his compatriots planned and...

Barbara’s 1968

Originally posted in 2017.   I bought Barbara's Bookstore from Barbara Siegel Markowitz - exactly fifty years ago. Or maybe it was 1967.My law partner, David Baylor, asked me to be his campaign manager that year. He was running as the anointed Democrat against incumbent RepublicanDonald Rumsfeld - yes, Rumsfeld - in the Illinois 13th congressional district. I did it and succeeded in maneuvering Dave to a 73% to 27% loss. 1968 was the year that Robert Kennedy was assassinated; the year of riots in Chicago, DC, Baltimore, Wilmington, Kansas City, Detroit and some...

The First Labor Day Parade

THE FIRST LABOR DAY PARADE New York, NY—The huge procession began with 400 members of Bricklayers Union No. 6, all dressed in white aprons. They were followed by a band and then the members of the Manufacturing Jewelers union. The jewelers marched four abreast, wearing derby hats and dark suits with buttonhole bouquets. They all carried canes resting on their shoulders (similar to the way infantry officers carry swords when on parade.) As the day went on, the parade included contingents from the Manufacturing Shoemakers Union No. 1 (wearing blue badges), and an especially well-received...

A Bookstore in the Family

My daughter’s first word was ‘dada.’ Her second word was ‘book.’ Barbara’s Bookstore was her playground. As a toddler, among her favorite books were Three Little Kittens and Frog & Toad Are Friends. She started in Montessori at age two-and-a-half. By age three she could read by herself. She kept this new skill a secret from her parents, however. We did not know until we took her to an art exhibition on Navy Pier and she read the captions to us – Vase with Roses, City at Midnight. We were speechless. By three-and-a-half, she wanted to write books. Writing with a...

April 4, 1968: Dr. King is Killed Defending Labor’s Rights

April 4 is one of the saddest days of the year. On that day in 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. While many events are held each year to honor Dr. King’s memory, too often people forget – or have never learned -- why he was in Memphis that spring. Dr. King went to Memphis to help striking sanitation workers – and paid for his stand with his life. That makes April 4 an important anniversary not only in African American history (and in U.S. history in general), but in the history...

Grapefruits

Carmichael’s Bookstore opened on Bardstown Road in Louisville in 1978. In that pre-boomtown year, it was a desolate location. A former music record store, it took months before customers realized it wasn’t still selling LPs and 45s. Carol and Michael—Carmichael’s—moved home to Louisville from Chicago after working for Barbara’s Bookstores for many years. Carol Besse was a treasured Barbara’s manager. Her then boyfriend, Michael Boggs, kept our books. Carmichael’s has grown into Louisville’s best known and beloved independent bookstore, with three locations. It has been named Independent Bookseller of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, and I think of it...

Electric Boots

Saw Rocketman on opening day May 31st. It was touching, but maybe because we are old and listened to Elton John from the beginning. Jan, pregnant with our daughter, Rebecca, and I were at Elton’s concert at Chicago Stadium in late 1974. In the movie, Elton describes this time as the worst of his addictions and despair.  Because we knew a roadie, we sat behind the stage and were backstage when it ended. While the audience was yelling for more, Elton ran past us and jumped into an idling limo....

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

On the first of January we began a drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico, our home, to DesPlaines, Illinois. The purpose was to deliver a car to our daughter, Rebecca. With two kids now in school and son-in-law, David, Barbara’s Chief Operating Officer, dealing with all of our stores, they needed a second vehicle and we found a great cheap one being abandoned by an old (I mean old) friend. It was a surprise for our kids. On the way, Jan and I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, visited the State capital in Topeka,...

The Distant Rumblings of the Sexual Revolution

As the years went by, Barbara's became well known in Chicago and beyond. That led us down many interesting and, often, peculiar roads.One day in February 1971 I got a call from someone at Kingston Mines. Kingston was one of the small playhouses that had sprung up on the near north side of Chicago sometime in 1968. The 300 seat theater was housed in a converted trolley barn at 2356 North Lincoln. The front of the theater had a small cafe and I was asked if we could set up a display of books...

Barbara’s C2

The original Barbara's at 1434 Wells Street in Old Town was in an ancient three-story with two apartments above the store. When I came to Barbara's in the late 60s, we expanded to the second floor, built a steep and precarious staircase in the middle of the store to get to it, and used the new space for a little more book store and an office.  Our daughter Rebecca was born in 1975.  She lay in a crib in a side room of the upstairs office while her mother Jan...