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Hanni Steckner Yahrmarkt and her daughter Helga, ca. 1909,  Photograph by Eva Watson Schütze

Hanni Steckner Yahrmarkt and her daughter Helga, ca. 1909. A member of the American Photo-Secession movement and the wife of a University professor of German literature, Eva Watson Schütze maintained an active photographic practice in Hyde Park. Photograph by Eva Watson Schütze

The Little Review, vol. 1, no. 1 (March 1914)

One of the most noted of all literary magazines, The Little Review was the creation of Margaret Anderson. After announcing its publication at a party given by Floyd Dell, she solicited articles for the first issues from her friends at the 57th Street artists' colony.

The University Neighborhood

A Creative Center
Improvements in streetcar lines and more frequent rail service assured Hyde Park's connections with downtown Chicago. By the mid-1920s, the Illinois Central Railroad was running 165 trains daily to and from the neighborhood. Except for the area immediately around the University campus, Hyde Park's population was increasingly diversified. First- and second-generation German, Irish, Czech, Italian, and Polish immigrant families moved into the small workers' cottages vacated after the Colombian Exposition, while African-Americans found housing in restricted areas near the Illinois Central tracks and along alleyways. German and Russian Jews, who had migrated south from the Loop through a succession of neighborhoods, settled in Hyde Park-Kenwood in large numbers and by the end of the 1930s made up forty percent of the neighborhood's population.

In the early decades of the century, Hyde Park also became a magnet for writers and artists, many of them representing Chicago's cultural avant-garde. In a cluster of wooden buildings along 57th Street and Stony Island Avenue formerly used as souvenir stands during the world's fair, a group of young bohemians congregated around the makeshift residence of writer and artist Floyd Dell. Among the others who became fixtures of this lively artists' colony were Margaret Anderson, founder of the influential Little Review; Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry magazine, an assertive voice for modern expression; sometimes controversial realist writers and poets such as Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, Edgar Lee Masters, Vachel Lindsay, and Carl Sandburg; and journalists like Ben Hecht who were both participants in and publicists for the new movements in the arts.

Members of the University were among those who frequented the 57th Street colony and attended its readings and informal discussions. Writers Robert Herrick, William Vaughn Moody, and Robert Morss Lovett, all members of the faculty, found common ground with the social, intellectual, and literary concerns of the Chicago bohemians. Divinity School professor George Burman Foster was often seen in the 57th Street shopfronts, where he acquired a nonacademic following as a champion of the philosophy of Nietzsche.

The University, for its part, offered frequent public lectures, concerts, and educational programs and made Hyde Park-Kenwood an attractive neighborhood for professionals with intellectual and cultural interests. Theodore Thomas and Frederick Stock, the first two conductors of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, were among them. Many of these commuting professionals made their homes in high-rise luxury apartment buildings and residential hotels constructed between the Illinois Central tracks and the lakeshore or in substantial houses on side streets near the University campus.


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