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College of Complexes curriculum, June 1963

Slim Brundage had been a bouncer at the Dill Pickle Club in the 1920s and the manager of a short-lived open forum known as the Knowledge Box in the 1930s. In the 1950s he opened his own club known as The College of Complexes. A bar and an open forum, the College sponsored lectures from all sides of the political and social spectrum, as these issues of the College's newsletter, The Curriculum, suggest.

Date
June 1963
Subjects
Amusements
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
The Riot at Forty-Ninth Street, 1894

Chicago was relatively peaceful during the early weeks of the American Railway Union's boycott of Pullman sleeping cars. Major violence erupted only after a federal court ordered the arrest of Eugene Debs and other union leaders on charges that they had violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Ironically, the law was intended to limit the power of large corporations. When federal troops arrived in early July to enforce the court's order, several working-class neighborhoods erupted in violence. Soon after, the boycott was crushed. This clipping from the Chicago Herald recounts the turmoil as workers, especially women, took to the streets to prevent trains from leaving the stockyards.

Date
1894
Subjects
American Railway Union
Boycotts
Labor
Pullman Strike, 1894
Strikes and lockouts
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
Pullman (Chicago, Ill.)
The Indian Camp

Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the Mississippi River between 1846 and 1848. He compiled them into a great panoramic painting of the river that was a popular attraction in the U.S. and Europe. Later he settled in Germany where he published an illustrated account of his travels.

Creator
Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Date
1857
Subjects
Canoes and canoeing
Indians of North America
Theater
Places
Mississippi River Valley
White Scout

From a Cheyenne ledger book, probably illustrated between 1877 and 1879, containing drawings by Black Horse and other Cheyenne warrior artists of scenes of warfare, hunting, and courtship. The Black Horse ledger book forms part of a long tradition of the Plains Indians of chronicling their lives pictorially, first on buffalo hides, and later, between 1865 and 1935, on the blank pages of ledger books obtained from U.S. soldiers, traders, missionaries, and reservation employees.

Date
ca. 1877-79
Subjects
Cheyenne Indians
Horsemanship
Indian ledger drawings
Indians of North America
Places
Great Plains
People
Black Horse (Cheyenne)
Frontispiece to Clarence Darrow's _Argument in Defense of the Communists_

Among those arrested in January 1920 were twenty members of the Communist Labor Party, one of two newly formed left wing parties that emulated the revolutionary example of the Russian Bolsheviks. Charged under a wartime sedition law, the Communists faced long jail terms. In their defense, well-known civil liberties attorney Clarence Darrow argued that the government targeted the Communists for their beliefs rather than any criminal activities.

Date
1920
Subjects
Civil rights
Communism
Law
People
Darrow, Clarence
E.F. Garry to Mr. Lane on Pullman Saving Plan

In the 1920s a growing number of large industrial employers developed welfare, recreation, and representation programs for their employees. This letter, between executives of the Pullman Company, explores the possibility of a company organized savings and investment plan for workers who built, repaired, and serviced railroad cars. Written shortly after the 1922 nationwide strike of railroad shop workers, the letter offers clues as to why employers favored such welfare programs.

Date
1922
Subjects
Industry
Labor
Places
Pullman (Chicago, Ill.)
Travelling Hunting Party

Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the Mississippi River between 1846 and 1848. He compiled them into a great panoramic painting of the river that was a popular attraction in the U.S. and Europe. Later he settled in Germany where he published an illustrated account of his travels.

Creator
Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Date
1857
Subjects
Hunting
Indians of North America
Theater
Places
Mississippi River Valley
Dill Pickle Lending Library

Among Chicago's most unusual contributions to the culture of modern urban life was the Dill Pickle Club, located at 18 Tooker Alley just east of Bughouse Square. Operating as a coffeehouse, art gallery, and speakeasy, 'The Pickle' welcomed hoboes, prostitutes, professors, and every variety of nonconformist passing through Chicago. The club hosted weekend jazz dance parties and little theater productions of Strindberg, Ibsen, O'Neill, and local playwrights. It hosted serious lectures by university professors and spoof debates staged for pure entertainment. In its early years, the Pickle was a meeting place for some of Chicago's most famous authors, intellectuals, and radicals, including Carl Sandburg, Sherwood Anderson, Floyd Dell, Clarence Darrow, Ben Reitman, Lucy Parsons, Ralph Chaplin, Ben Hecht, Harriet Monroe, and Vachel Lindsay.

Subjects
Amusements
Dill Pickle Club
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
Seven Days of the Life of a Soldier

Manuscript account by Major Alexander Thompson of a canoe journey from Green Bay to Mackinac Island, between June 1 and June 23, 1831. Accompanied by William Holiday, proprietor of an American Fur Company trading house in the interior, who was returning to headquarters in Mackinac to settle his accounts, and by eight French voyageurs or “pork-eaters,” Thompson left Green Bay on June 1, 1831 in a 30-foot bark canoe owned by the Company. As the travelers made their way around the Bay, he commented on the forests, wildlife, and the customs and legends of the Menomonee, Chippewa, Ottawa, and Winnebago Indians. Weather-bound by strong winds to their camp near Vermilion Island, Thompson hiked along some Indian trails, observing the abundant wild strawberries, roses, peas, grapes, currants, and gooseberries, and moccasin flowers, as well as bear, deer, bald eagle, and sturgeon. Strong winds were a constant hindrance throughout the trip, but finally, at Louse Island, they entered Lake Michigan, paddling at night in the moonlight to take advantage of the calm waters. They arrived at Mackinac Island on June 23rd, and were greeted by Company official Robert Stuart.

Creator
Thompson, Alexander Ramsay, 1793-1837
Date
1831
Subjects
American Fur Company
Canoes and canoeing
Fur trade
Indians of North America
Places
Great Lakes Region
Green Bay (Wis.)
Mackinac Island (Mich.)
People
Holiday, William
Thompson, Alexander Ramsay, 1793-1837
Mexican Vaquero

Dodge wrote, “The American cowboy has a Mexican cousin, the vaquero, who does cow-punching in Chihuahua, and raises horses for the Mexican cavalry and occasional shipment across the Rio Grande. The vaquero is generally a peon, and as lazy, shiftless, and unreliable vagabond as men held to involuntary servitude are wont to be. He is essentially a low-down fellow in his habitats and instincts. Anything is grub to him which is not poison, and he will thrive on offal which no human being except a starving savage will touch.” (p. 124).

Creator
Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
Date
1894
Subjects
Cowboys
Horsemanship