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Meetings and Speakers Schedule




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Video Recordings have been made of speaker presentations at many Caxton Club events. Methods for sharing them are being explored.

May Luncheon

Friday, May 13, Union League Club

“The Dangerous Years - Rich Cahan on Richard Nickel’s Quest to Save Chicago’s Most Distinctive Buildings”

Saying that, “He gave his life to defending Chicago’s most important and distinctive buildings,” would usually be hyperbole. But when said of Richard Nickel, photographer, preservationist, and salvager of architectural elements it would be literally true. Nickel was gathering pieces from the old Chicago Stock Exchange building when it suddenly collapsed on him.

Nickel left behind a remarkable legacy, which is captured in part in the book Richard Nickel - Dangerous Years: What He Saw And What He Wrote, co-authored by Richard Cahan. Join us for May’s luncheon, when Rich Cahan will bring this crackling story to life as he discusses Nickel’s life, letters, and photographs. This lavishly illustrated talk will take you to the Chicago of yesteryear, with its stunning buildings designed by Louis Sullivan, members of the Prairie School, and others.

Rich Cahan, author of a dozen books, is a wonderfully engaging speaker who has served as the picture editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and is an independent scholar at the Newberry Library.

If you like stories of derring do (clambering through buildings slated for or in various stages of destruction qualifies), of vanished buildings that made Chicago unique among cities, or of how passion for the arts preserves our history… this luncheon program is for you.

May luncheon:Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Boulevard. Luncheon buffet (main dining room on six) opens at 11:30 am; program (in a different room, to be announced) 12:30-1:30. Luncheon is $32. Reservations or cancellations by noon Wednesday for Friday lunch. Call 312 255 3710 or e-mail caxtonclub@newberry.org.

May Dinner

Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Union League Club

Michael Thompson

“The Book in Contemporary American Art”

Michael Thompson is a lawyer, past President of the Caxton Club, member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society of America, a trustee of the Newberry Library, and chair of the Library Society at the University of Chicago. A noted book collector, he is also owner of Boreas Fine Art and a dealer in artists’ books. He will discuss the evolution of books made by artists and the divergent paths that have been followed by books in the fine press tradition and the fine art tradition. These paths reflect today’s world of conceptual art, where choice of medium has become of secondary importance and books themselves present fewer constraints for the artists who use them. Books, long viewed as the primary means by which to communicate ideas, now can take the form of a scroll, codex, score, patterned broadside, leporello, audio recording, manuscript, sketchbook or, most recently, electronic file. In fact, the book, in our contemporary worlds of art and communication, may be the irreducible essence of conceptual art: an idea without a fixed physical object.

May Dinner: Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Boulevard. The evening will follow this order: Social gathering: 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Program: 6:00 pm. Three-course dinner following the program. Drinks are $5-$9. Dinner is $60. RESERVATIONS are required to attend the program only or the program/dinner combination. Reservations MUST be received no later than NOON Monday, May 16, 2016. Dinner CANCELLATIONS or no-shows made after this time will require payment. To reserve call 312-255-3710 or e-mail caxtonclub@newberry.org.

June Luncheon

Friday, June 10, Union League Club

“999 - A History of Chicago In 10 Stories: Richard Fizdale on a Tale Of Wealth, Greed, Power, Corruption and Even Murder, And The Building It Gave Rise To”

There it sits, perched on Lake Shore Drive as the road wraps around it, going from north to west, swinging along the Oak Street Beach. 999 is the address. Inside is the jaw-dropping, name-dropping story of one of Chicago’s most intriguing residential structures. The cast includes Streeter, Fairbank, McClurg, McCormick, Palmer, Donnelley and more.

It’s a tale of how one of Chicago’s signature buildings and signature neighborhoods came to be, told by a speaker whose own history is as fascinating as the book he wrote, 999 A History of Chicago in Ten Stories. Richard Fizdale grew up on Chicago’s north side, became a hippie war protestor and met Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and Timothy Leary … shortly before being introduced to Leonard Bernstein backstage at Lincoln Center. Later he’d trail Norman Mailer during the March on the Pentagon. When his working life began he started as the lowest paid copywriter at the legendary advertising firm Leo Burnett. When he retired, he’d been it’s chairman, CEO and chief creative officer.

Make your reservation today … books will be available for purchase and autographing.

June luncheon: Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Boulevard. Luncheon buffet (main dining room on six) opens at 11:30 am; program (in a different room, to be announced) 12:30-1:30. Luncheon is $32. Reservations or cancellations by noon Wednesday for Friday lunch. Call 312 255 3710 or e-mail caxtonclub@newberry.org.

June Dinner

June 15 at the Newberry Library, Theodore Crackel, former professor and editor-in-chief of the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia, on “The Dispersal of George Washington’s Papers.” Our last meeting before the Club itself disperses for the summer.