Chicago and Modern Arts

Fanny Butcher's Guest Book
Fanny Butcher's Guest Book, 1920-1927.

Chicago and Modern Arts are nearly synonymous. Whether in literature or music, dance or theatre Chicago was an important stage for both traditional and modernist tendencies, and the Newberry offers much material in all of these areas. 


Fanny Butcher was lit­erary editor at the Chicago Tribune. In 1920 she established a bookshop on South Michigan Avenue, and this guestbook attests to the wide circle of literati Butcher knew. [Essay 41]

Fanny Butcher—Books
Chicago, 1920–1927
Gift of Fanny Butcher, 1987

Midwest MS Butcher, Box 36, Folder 1565

<em>The New Yorker's Idea of the United States</em>
John T. McCutcheon, The New Yorker's Idea of the United States, July 27, 1922.

This drawing, for a cartoon published in the Tribune, anticipated, by more than half a century, Saul Steinberg’s celebrated 1976 New Yorker cover “View of the World from 9th Avenue.” McCutcheon, however, was more critical in his depiction. It is an example of collection strengths in maps and in the papers of Midwestern artists, writers, and critics. [Essay 43]

John T. McCutcheon
The New Yorker's Idea of the Map of the United States

New York, July 27, 1922
Gift of Mrs. John T. McCutcheon, 1958
Midwest MS McCutcheon

Letter to Rue Shaw from Alexander Calder, June 18, 1945
Alexander Calder, Letter to Rue Shaw, June 18, 1945.

Alexander “Sandy” Calder writes playfully to Rue Winterbotham Shaw, president of the Arts Club of Chicago, about his stovetop in­vention for avoiding the overflow of boiled milk. His system of weights and balances is not unlike the much larger mobiles for which he is most famous. [Essay 46]

Alexander Calder
Letter to Rue Shaw
Roxbury, Connecticut, June 18, 1945
Gift of the Arts Club of Chicago, 1972
Midwest MS Arts Club  

Letter from Jack Kerouac to Malcolm Cowley
Jack Kerouac, Letter to Malcolm Cowley, April 19, 1956.

In the months before Jack Kerouac sent his “Boo!” postcard to Malcolm Cowley, Kerouac’s editor at Viking Press, their interchange reveals a writer anxious to get On the Road into print. [Essay 16]

Jack Kerouac
Postcard and Note to Malcolm Cowley
Mill Valley, California: April 18, 1956; April 19, 1956
Malcolm Cowley, 1969
Midwest MS Cowley Box 35

Letter to Theodore Thomas and Antonín Dvořák&#039;s Calling Card
Antonín Dvořák, Letter to Theodore Thomas and Calling Card, July 17, 1897 and April 14, 1893.

Theodore Thomas, the first conductor and music director of the Chicago Orchestra, was a vigorous proponent of the Czech composer’s work. Thomas’ scores and papers came to the Newberry. [Essay 112]

Antonín Dvořák
Letter to Theodore Thomas; Calling Card
New York, July 17, 1897; Prague, April 14, 1893
Oakley Fund, 1952
Midwest MS Thomas Box 1, Folder 30

<em>Chicago Day Waltz</em>
Giuseppe Valisi, Chicago Day Waltz, ca. 1893.

October 9, 1893, was Chicago Day at the World’s Columbian Exposition. Huge crowds cel­ebrated the city’s proudest achievement on the anniversary of its greatest calamity, the 1871 fire. The piece is part of a very large Newberry collection of American sheet music. [Essay 111]

Giuseppe Valisi
Chicago Day Waltz October 9th, 1893

Chicago: Valisi Bros., 1893
J. Francis Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music, 1968
Case sheet music M32.V35 C55

Anna Pavlova Performance Programs
Anna Pavlova Performance Programs, ca. 1915-1916.

Ballerina Anna Pavlova toured the United States repeatedly and made several ap­pearances in Chicago. Midwesterner Ruth Page danced in Pavlova’s company and befriended dance critic and teacher Ann Barzel, who collected dance ephemera, including Pavlova’s toe shoes. [Essay 115]

Anna Pavlova: Program, Photograph, Toe Shoes
Program: Chicago: Midway Gardens, week commencing June 19, 1915; photograph: London: Lafayette, undated; toe shoes, before 1917
Gifts of Ann Barzel, 1982/2005
Dance MS Barzel Research, Subject Files, Box 341

<em>Krazy Kat</em> Musical Score and Cartoon
John Alden Carpenter, Krazy Kat Musical Score, 1922 ; George Herriman, Cartoon, 1917.

Composed in 1921, John Alden Carpenter’s ballet, Krazy Kat, A Jazz Pantomime, was inspired by the comic strip Krazy Kat, by George Herriman. Carpenter was the first concert-music composer to use the word jazz in a title. [Essay 38]

John Alden Carpenter; George Harriman
“Krazy Kat,” A Jazz Pantomime
; Krazy Kat Cartoon
New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1922; New York, 1917
Gifts of Mrs. Patrick Hill, 197
Midwest MS Carpenter, Box 2, Folders 114 and 123

Ruth Page and Harald Kreutzberg in <em>Bacchanale</em>
Maurice Seymour, Ruth Page and Harald Kreutzberg in Bacchanale, ca. 1934.

Dancer and performance artist Harald Kreutzberg and bal­lerina and choreographer Ruth Page are shown here in Bacchanale, a piece they choreographed to music by Gian Francesco Malipiero that debuted at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in 1934. [Essay 114]

Maurice Seymour
Ruth Page and Harald Kreutzberg in Bacchanale
Chicago, c. 1934
Gift of Ann Barzel, 1982/2005
Dance MS Barzel, Box 54