Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Logo

Henry Blake Fuller

January 9, 1857 – July 28, 1929

Inducted in 2017


The Chevalier of Pensieri–Vani (1890: pseudonym Stanton Page)

The Châtelaine of La Trinité (1892)

The Cliff-Dwellers (1893)

With the Procession (1895)

The Puppet-Booth: Twelve Plays (1896)

From the Other Side (1898)

The Last Refuge (1900)

Under the Skylights (1901)

Waldo Trench and Others: Stories of Americans in Italy (1908)

Lines Long and Short: Biographical Sketches in Various Rhythms (1917)

On the Stairs (1918)

Bertram Cope's Year (1919)

Gardens of this World (1929)

With the Procession (1965)

There are a good many ways to skin a cat, and the realistic way, I dare say, is as good a way as any.

Henry Blake Fuller was a third generation Chicagoan born in a house that sat on the lot that is now LaSalle Street Station. He wrote a score of novels and stories set in the city, The Cliff-Dwellers (1893), With the Procession (1895), Under the Skylights (1901), and On the Stairs (1918). His play At St. Judas’s (1896) is considered the first published literary work exploring homosexual themes, and his novel Bertram Cope’s Year  (1919), set at a fictionalized Northwestern University, was the first mainstream novel depicting a homosexual relationship. Fuller had failed to find a commercial publisher and eventually a friend published the novel at his tiny Chicago-based Alderbrink Press.

 Fuller was one of the earliest and best Chicago writers; in fact, upon the publication of his first book, East Coast reviewers, enamored with the story, expressed surprise that something so good had come out of Chicago. Fuller’s first Chicago novel, coming after two successful novels based on his European travels, came out the year of the Columbian Exposition, 1893, and was critical of the city’s crass commercialism. The Cliff-Dwellers is probably the first realistic Chicago novel, in that it explored the social and economic trends changing the face of Chicago; in it, Fuller applied the term “cliff-dwellers” to the people occupying the fictitious Clifton Building, modeled after the Monadnock Building. H.L. Mencken, in reference to the work, claimed that Fuller had “launched realism in America.”

 Adam Morgan, editor of the Chicago Review of Books, quotes Dr. Joseph Dimuro of UCLA as calling The Cliff-Dwellers “arguably the first important novel of the American city.” 

 In fact, during and just after his life, Fuller was widely praised by critics and peers, including Theodore Dreiser, Thornton Wilder, Booth Tarkington, and Carl Van Vechten. William Dean Howells called The Cliff-Dwellers “a work of very great power.”

 Fuller was one of the founding members of the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony (Oregon, Illinois), sat on an advisory board for Harriet Monroe’s upstart Poetry magazine, and was a preeminent member of the literary club called The Little Room. Hamlin Garland took from his friend Fuller’s novel the name for the new club, The Cliff Dwellers, he helped form.

Marita Bonner

June 16, 1898 – December 6, 1971

Inducted in 2017


Short stories

“The Hands–A Story” Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life 3 (1925)

“The Prison-Bound” The Crisis 32 (1926)

“Nothing New” The Crisis 33 (1926)

“One Boy's Story” The Crisis 34 (1927: pseudonym: Joseph Maree Andrew)

“Drab Rambles” The Crisis 34 (1927)

“A Possible Triad of Black Notes, Part One” Opportunity 11 (1933)

“A Possible Triad of Black Notes, Part Two: Of Jimmie Harris” Opportunity 11 (1933)

“A Possible Triad of Black Notes, Part Three: Three Tales of Living Corner Store” Opportunity 11 (1933)

“Tin Can” Opportunity 12 (1934)

“A Sealed Pod” Opportunity 14 (1936)

“Black Fronts” Opportunity 16 (1938)

“Hate is Nothing” The Crisis 45 (1938: pseudonym: Joyce M. Reed)

“The Makin's” Opportunity 17 (1939)

“The Whipping” The Crisis 46 (1939)

“Hongry Fire” The Crisis 46 (1939)

“Patch Quilt” The Crisis 47 (1940)

“One True Love” The Crisis 48 (1941)



“On Being Young–A Woman–And Colored” The Crisis (1925)

“The Young Blood Hungers” The Crisis 35 (1928)

“Review of Autumn Love Cycle, by Georgia Douglas Johnson” Opportunity 7 (1929)



“The Pot-Maker (A Play to be Read)” Opportunity 5 (1927)

“The Purple Flower” The Crisis (1928)

“Exit–An Illusion” The Crisis 36 (1929)


Collected work

Frye Street and Environs: The Collected Works of Marita Bonner (1987)

And then you can, when Time is ripe, swoop to your feetat your full heightat a single gesture. Ready to go where? Why…Wherever God motions.

Marita Bonner, an accomplished short story writer, playwright and essayist, was a black woman who left Boston for Chicago in the thirties and lived there until her death in 1971. At Radcliffe College, despite being barred from living in the college’s dormitories, she majored in English and Comparative Literature, also studying German and musical composition. From 1924-1941, Bonner published short stories and essays in African American journals such as OpportunityThe Crisis, and Black Life, illuminating the lives and struggles of urban black women as they fought to improve the lot of themselves and their families in Harlem and Chicago. These included her landmark 1925 essay On Being YoungA WomanAnd Colored, which was published in The Crisis and which exemplified her ferocious exploration of the enormous prejudices—class, race, and gender—barring opportunity. In 1930, Bonner married William Almy Occomy and moved to Chicago, where she raised three children and later taught school, first at Phillips High School and then Dolittle School, which served educationally deprived students. Her best-known works are her plays The Purple Flower (1928) and The Pot Maker (1927), as well as her Frye Street stories, set in a multi-ethnic, strife-torn Chicago. Distinguished Chicago literary scholar Richard Guzman notes that her 1926 short story, “Nothing New,” introduced her fictional street as one not only of hardship, but promise. He also credits Bonner for influencing writers such as Alice Browning and Era Bell Thompson. A collection of her work was published in 1987 as Frye Street and Environs: The Collected Works of Marita Bonner.

Robert Sengstacke Abbott

November 24, 1868 – February 29, 1940

Inducted in 2017

No greater glory, no greater honor, is the lot of man departing than a feeling possessed deep in his heart that the world is a better place for his having lived. 

From errand boy to lawyer to publisher, as founder of one of the most read Black newspapers in the United States, Robert Sengstacke Abbott gave voice to a Black point of view that had been rendered mute in the early twentieth century.

 Born in Georgia to a couple whose parents had been slaves, Abbott was still a baby when his father, Thomas Abbott, died of leukemia. His mother, Flora, later married John Sengstacke, a mulatto of German descent who promptly added Sengstacke to Robert’s name.

 Abbott graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia. After college he moved to Chicago, a city to which he had been exposed while singing with the Hampton College Quartet at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. He graduated from Chicago’s Kent College of Law in 1898, but because of racial prejudice was unable to practice law. Armed with a printing background and academic credentials, he converting a $25 investment into the Chicago Defender Newspaper. With the assistance of J. Hockley Smiley, The Chicago Defender became the literary domain for racial advancement. The Defender  actively promoted the northward migration of Black Southerners, particularly to Chicago. Its columns not only reported on the movement, but helped to bring about 1917’s “Great Northern Drive,” a term coined by Abbott himself. By the early 20s,  The Defender’s circulation reached more than 200,000 people. Distribution of the paper was facilitated by Black railroad porters who both read and shared The DefenderThe Defender wrote of injustices but also of a spirit that represented unapologetic Black pride, dignity and assertiveness.

 The newspaper also fostered literary careers. At 17, Gwendolyn Brooks started submitting her work to “Lights and Shadows,” the newspaper’s poetry column, and eventually published almost a hundred poems there. Willard Motley and Langston Hughes were just a few of the other big names for whom the Defender was a literary home.

 Married twice, Abbott had no children. The Chicago Defender was left in the capable hands of his nephew John H.H. Sengstacke III. Abbott lived at 4742 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, now a historic landmark known as Robert S. Abbott House.

Lorraine Hansberry

May 9, 1930 – January 12, 1965

Inducted in 2010


A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

A Raisin in the Sun, screenplay (1961)

“On Summer” (essay) (1960)

The Drinking Gourd (1960)

What Use Are Flowers? (c. 1962)

The Arrival of Mr. Todog—parody of Waiting for Godot

The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality (1964)

The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (1965)

To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words (1969)

Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays / by Lorraine Hansberry. Edited by Robert Nemiroff (1994)

Toussaint (fragment)

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.

When Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun burst onto the scene in 1959, she became the youngest American playwright, the first African-American to be produced on Broadway, and only the fifth woman to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play of the year. She also received a Cannes Film Festival special award in 1961 for the screenplay to her famous play. She died just three years later. Though Hansberry’s other works, notably To Be Young, Gifted and Black, are substantial, it is Raisin that provides her lasting legacy. The play, which draws from Hansberry’s experiences in the only black family in the racially desegregated Washington Park subdivision on Chicago’s South Side, continues to be one of the most produced and discussed plays more than forty years after her death.

Richard Wright

September 4, 1908 – November 28, 1960

Inducted in 2010


Uncle Tom's Children (1938)

The Man Who Was Almost a Man (1939)

Native Son (1940)

The Outsider (1953)

Savage Holiday (1954)

The Long Dream (1958)

Eight Men (1961)

Lawd Today (1963)

Rite of Passage (1994)

A Father's Law (2008) (unfinished)


Native Son: The Biography of a Young American with Paul Green (1941)


How “Bigger” Was Born; Notes of a Native Son (1940)

12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States (1941)

Black Boy (1945)

Black Power (1954)

The Color Curtain (1956)

Pagan Spain (1957)

Letters to Joe C. Brown (1968)

American Hunger (1977)

Black Power: Three Books from Exile (2008)


The Ethics Of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch (1937)

Introduction to Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945)

I Choose Exile (1951)

White Man, Listen! (1957)

Blueprint for Negro Literature (1937)

The God that Failed (contributor) (1949)


Haiku: This Other World (eds. Yoshinobu Hakutani and Robert L. Tener, 1998)

Haiku: The Last Poetry of Richard Wright (2012)

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.

Winner of the Springarn Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Story Magazine Award, Wright’s highly-lauded novel Native Son deals with racial inequality in Chicago’s ghettos, as, to some extent, does his memoir, Black Boy. Bigger Thomas, Native Son’s protagonist, is a victim and a criminal living in utter poverty on the South Side, and through him Wright explores the intricacies of societal conditioning in the violence that characterized impoverished black neighborhoods. The Book of the Month Club chose Native Son as its first book written by an African-American. Wright has had a Chicago school named after him, and been featured on a U.S. Postal stamp.

Thornton Wilder

April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975

Inducted in 2013


The Trumpet Shall Sound (1926)

The Angel That Troubled the Waters and Other Plays (1928)

The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act (1931)

Our Town (1938)—won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama

The Merchant of Yonkers (1938)

The Skin of Our Teeth (1942)

The Matchmaker (1954)

The Alcestiad: Or, a Life in the Sun (1955)

Childhood (1960)

Infancy (1960)

Plays for Bleecker Street (1962)

The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder Volume I (1997) 

The Merchant of Yonkers (1938)

The Skin of Our Teeth (1942)

The Matchmaker (1954)

The Alcestiad: Or, a Life in the Sun (1955)

Childhood (1960)

Infancy (1960)

Plays for Bleecker Street (1962)

The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder Volume I (1997)


Mr. North

Shadow of a Doubt


The Cabala (1926)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927)

The Woman of Andros (1930) based on Andria, a comedy by Terence

Heaven's My Destination (1935)

Ides of March (1948)

The Eighth Day (1967)

Theophilus North (1973) 

Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Wilder worked as both a novelist and a playwright. Growing up, Wilder was often teased by children his age for being too intellectual. This quirk, however, was a great benefit in his education at Yale and Princeton. In 1930 he began teaching classics and writing at The University of Chicago, a part-time appointment he held for six years. Penelope Niven, who recently published a biography of Wilder, said the writer found the perfect balance of creative, professional and personal balance in Chicago, and loved the city more than all the others he experienced in his lifetime. During this time, Wilder wrote translations, plays, screenplays and began notes for Our Town, for which he would eventually win the Pulitzer Prize. The Skin of Our Teeth also earned him a Pulitzer and his novel The Bridge of San Luis Ray highly lauded. His writing was considered prolific in the exploration of connections between the common human life and the dimensions of human experience.

Ida B. Wells

July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931

Inducted in 2011

Selected Works


The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States (1895)

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases (1892)

Why the Colored American is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition


Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of IDA B. Wells, Ida B.Wells and Alfreda M. Duster (1970)

One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.

The daughter of Mississippi slaves freed after the Civil War, Ida B. Wells became an early leader in the Civil Rights and women’s rights movements. She came to Chicago to help organize a boycott and contribute to the writing of a pamphlet called Why the Colored American is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition. She remained in the city and was active in her own Ida B. Wells Club as well as the Chicago Women’s Club. Throughout her career, Wells stood up against injustice, writing, in pamphlets and for media such as the Chicago Conservator, about issues such as lynchings, Jim Crow laws and white suppression of black economic progress. Around 1894, she became the first black correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper. She spent the last 30 years of her life working for urban reform in Chicago. Her autobiography, Crusade for Justice, was unfinished when she died. A Chicago Housing Authority project is named after Wells, a U.S. postal stamp issued with her likeness, and a journalism award and scholarship fund given through the foundation established in Chicago by her five grandchildren.

Theodore Ward

September 15, 1902 – May 8, 1983

Inducted in 2015


Sick and Tiahd (1937)

Big White Fog: A Negro Tragedy (1938)

Even the Dead Arise (1938)

Deliver the Goods (1942)

Our Lan' (1947)

John Brown (1951)

The Daubers (1953)

Candle in the Wind (1967)

The Creole

Whole Hog or Nothing


Skin Deep

Shout Hallelujah

Falcon of Adowa



John de Conqueror

(Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Elise Virginia Ward)
But what’s there to prevent all the underprivileged from getting together on problems in which they have a common interest? — From Big White Fog

Political playwright Theodore Ward used his writing to help contribute to the success and continuation of art during the Great Depression. Originally born in Louisiana, Ward left his hometown of Thibodaux, Louisiana at 13 and traveled extensively in the United States, picking up work as a book-black and bellboy. He attended the University of Utah and while there wrote an article that earned him a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, where he hosted a local radio program. In Chicago, Ward taught at the Lincoln Center Players, and the friendship he formed with Richard Wright led him to join the Southside Writer’s Club. It was in his job with the Chicago Negro unit that Ward created Big White Fog, a play that none-too-subtly argues that America’s capitalist and racism system disallowed many people from participating in our country’s supposed right to aspire to greater class heights. He was one of the first Black dramatists to win the Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed him to push his career forward and publish thirty plays. His legacy lives on through scholarships offered in his honor to African-American writers.

Margaret Walker

July 7, 1915 – November 30, 1998

Inducted in 2014


For My People (1942)

October Journey (1973)

This Is My Century: New and Collected Poems (1989)

Jubilee (1999)

How I Wrote Jubilee and Other Essays on Life and Literature, Maryemma Graham, ed. (1990)

Conversations with Margaret Walker, Maryemma Graham, ed. (2002)

I want my careless song to strike no minor key; no fiend to stand between my body's Southern song—the fusion of the South, my body's song and me.

The child of parents with high hopes and expectations, Margaret Walker, just two generations removed from slavery, made her mark on American literature with four volumes of poetry, a novel, a biography and many critical essays. Her body of work included For My People (1942), the title poem winning her the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, and Jubilee (1966), a story based on her great-grandmother's life as a slave that took her 30 years to write. Both works were groundbreaking. With For My People, Walker became one of the youngest published black poets of the 20th century and perhaps the first to win a national literary prize of such note; with Jubilee, she wrote, some contend, the first truly historical black novel and became a pioneer in championing the liberation of the black woman. Her legacy resides on a reputation as one of the foremost historians of African-American heritage.

Though born in Birmingham, AL and associated with many other places throughout her life, Chicago was a source for Walker’s education and inspiration. Walker was just 19 when she received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 1935, eventually earning both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. During her several years in Chicago working with troubled, “at risk” girls for the Federal Writer's Project under the Works Progress Administration, and living on Chicago's North Side, she became a part of the South Side Writers Group and partly through that association forged close relationships with other writers such as: James Phelan, Frank Yerby and Richard Wright—a friend she would later aid in researching his landmark 1940 novel Native Son. She would later write a biography of Wright. Walker’s contribution to the FWP included a dialectic piece, “Yalluh Hammuh,” whose folk hero would make its way into the pages of For My People. Chicago yielded her more literary inspiration in the form of an Italian-American neighborhood so fascinating to her she used it as the setting and title for another novel, never to be published, Goose Island.

In 1998, Walker was inducted into the African-American Literary Hall of Fame at Chicago State University. She died of breast cancer at the Chicago home of her daughter.

Studs Terkel

May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008

Inducted in 2010


Giants of Jazz (1957)

Division Street: America (1967) 

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970)

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974)

Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times (1977) 

American Dreams: Lost and Found (1983)

The Good War (1984)

Chicago (1986)

The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream (1988) 

Race: What Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession (1992)

Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It (1995)

My American Century (1997) 

The Spectator: Talk About Movies and Plays With Those Who Make Them (1999) 

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Reflections on Death, Rebirth and Hunger for a Faith (2001) 

Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times (2003) 

And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey (2005) 

Touch and Go (2007)

P.S. Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening (2008)

Chicago is America's Dream, writ large. And flamboyantly.

Terkel, the master of oral history, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for chronicling World War II in The Good War. Born in New York to a tailor and a seamstress, Terkel, at the age of eight, moved with his family to Chicago, where he spent most of his life. In his teens, his parents ran a rooming house that was a collecting point for people of all types. Terkel credited his knowledge of the world to the tenants who gathered in the lobby of the hotel and the people who congregated in nearby Bughouse Square. He never tired of the stories of “ordinary” people and in his second book (and first book of oral history interviews), Division Street: America, a metaphorical title that derived from Chicago's true Division Street, Terkel captured 20th century urban life as told to him by those ordinary folks living in and around Chicago. Division Street set the pattern his subsequent books would follow and established Terkel's reputation as the world's foremost oral historian.

Upton Sinclair

September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968

Inducted in 2015


Courtmartialed (1898)

Saved By the Enemy (1898)

The Fighting Squadron (1898)

A Prisoner of Morro (1898)

A Soldier Monk (1898)

A Gauntlet of Fire (1899)

Holding the Fort (1899)

A Soldier's Pledge (1899)

Wolves of the Navy (1899)

Springtime and Harvest (1901)

The Journal of Arthur Stirling (1903)

Off for West Point (1903)

From Port to Port (1903)

On Guard (1903)

A Strange Cruise (1903)

The West Point Rivals (1903)

A West Point Treasure (1903)

A Cadet's Honor (1903)

Cliff, the Naval Cadet (1903)

The Cruise of the Training Ship (1903)

Prince Hagen (1903)

Manassas: A Novel of the War (1904)

A Captain of Industry (1906)

The Jungle (1906)

The Overman (1907)

The Industrial Republic (1907)

The Metropolis (1908)

The Money Changers (1908)

Samuel The Seeker (1910)

Love's Pilgrimage (1911)

Damaged Goods (1913)

Sylvia (1913)

Sylvia's Marriage (1914)

King Coal (1917)

Jimmie Higgins (1919)

Debs and the Poets (1920)

100% — The Story of a Patriot (1920)

The Spy (1920)

The Book of Life (1921)

They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale of the Second Coming (1922)

The Millennium (1924)

The Goslings A Study Of The American Schools (1924)

Mammonart (1925)

The Spokesman's Secretary (1926)

Money Writes! (1927)

Oil! (1927)

Boston, 2 vols. (1928)

Mountain City (1930)

Roman Holiday (1931)

The Wet Parade (1931)

American Outpost (1932)

The Way Out (novel) (1933)

Immediate Epic (1933)

The Lie Factory Starts (1934)

The Book of Love (1934)

Depression Island (1935)

It Can't Happen Here (1935)

Co-op: a Novel of Living Together (1936)

The Gnomobile (1936)

Wally for Queen (1936)

No Pasaran!: A Novel of the Battle of Madrid (1937)

The Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America (1937)

Little Steel (1938)

Our Lady (1938)

Expect No Peace (1939)

Marie Antoinette (novel) (1939)

Telling The World (1939)

Your Million Dollars (1939)

World's End (1940)

World's End Impending (1940)

Between Two Worlds (1941)

Dragon's Teeth (1942)

Wide Is the Gate (1943)

Presidential Agent 1944)

Dragon Harvest (1945)

A World to Win (1946)

A Presidential Mission (1947)

A Giant's Strength (1948)

Limbo on the Loose (1948)

One Clear Call (1948)

O Shepherd, Speak! (1949)

Another Pamela (1950)

Schenk Stefan! (1951)

A Personal Jesus (1952)

The Return of Lanny Budd (1953)

The Cup of Fury (1956)

What Didymus Did (1954)

It Happened to Didymus (1958)

Theirs be the Guilt (1959)

Affectionately Eve (1961)

The Coal War (1976)


The Autobiography of Upton Sinclair. With Maeve Elizabeth Flynn III (1962)

My Lifetime in Letters (1960)


Plays of Protest: The Naturewoman, The Machine, The Second-Story Man, Prince Hagen (1912)

The Pot Boiler (1913)

Hell: A Verse Drama and Photoplay (1924)

Singing Jailbirds: A Drama in Four Acts (1924)

Bill Porter: A Drama of O. Henry in Prison (1925)

The Enemy Had It Too: A Play in Three Acts (1950)

As Editor

The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest (1915)

Human beings suffer agonies, and their sad fates become legends; poets write verses about them and playwrights compose dramas, and the remembrance of past grief becomes a source of present pleasure - such is the strange alchemy of the spirit.

Though he had a strong career writing films upon the request of Charlie Chaplain, Sinclair was praised for his strong, political works of writing. His best selling novel, The Jungle, was the product of seven weeks of undercover work in Chicago’s meatpacking plants. After the success, Sinclair attempted to run for office in California twice but was unsuccessful. His political passion, however, shone through in his writing. Sinclair was originally born in Baltimore, Maryland, but then moved to New York with his family. He would sell jokes and magazine articles to pay for his education. He was drawn to Chicago after reading of the meatpacking strikes in Chicago. His novel is said to have influenced President Theodore Roosevelt into creating the Food and Drug Administration.

Shel Silverstein

September 25, 1930 – May 9, 1999

Inducted in 2014


Take Ten (1955)

Grab Your Socks! (1956)

Now Here's My Plan (1960)

Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book (1960)

Playboy's Teevee Jeebies (1963)

Uncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back (1963)

A Giraffe and a Half (1964)

The Giving Tree (1964)

Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? (1964)

Uncle Shelby's Zoo: Don't Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies (1964)

More Playboy's Teevee Jeebies (1965)

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)

The Missing Piece (1976)

The Devil And Billy Markham (1979)

Different Dances (1979)

A Light in the Attic (1981).

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1981)

Falling Up (1996)

Draw a Skinny Elephant (1998)

Runny Babbit (2005)

Don't Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies (2008)

Every Thing On It (2011) (Published posthumously)

People who say they create only for themselves and don't care if they are published…I hate to hear talk like that. If it's good, it's too good not to share.

Silverstein grew up on Palmer Street in Chicago and attended Darwin Elementary, Roosevelt High School, University of Illinois and Roosevelt University. He is best known as the author of iconic books of prose including such modern classics as The Giving TreeA Giraffe and a Half, and The Missing Piece. His immensely popular poetry collections are Where the Sidewalk Ends; A Light in the Attic; Falling Up and Don’t Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies. He was a lifelong White Sox fan and worked as a hotdog vendor at the original Comiskey Park when he was young. His popularity with both the young and the old, and connection to his birthplace, all came together on July 13, 2009, when Millennium Park celebrated its 5th birthday with a night of song and spoken word in his honor called SHELabration.

Carl Sandburg

January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967

Inducted in 2011


In Reckless Ecstasy (1904)

Incidentals (1904)

Plaint of a Rose (1908)

Joseffy (1910)

You and Your Job (1910)

Chicago Poems (1916)

Cornhuskers (1918)

Chicago Race Riots (1919)

Clarence Darrow of Chicago (1919)

Smoke and Steel (1920)

Rootabaga Stories (1922)

Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922)

Rootabaga Pigeons (1923)

Selected Poems (1926)

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926)

The American Songbag (1927)

Songs of America (1927) (collected by Sandburg; edited by Alfred V. Frankenstein)

Abe Lincoln Grows Up (1928)

Good Morning, America (1928)

Steichen the Photographer (1929)

Early Moon (1930)

Potato Face (1930)

Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow (1932)

The People, Yes (1936)

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939)

Storm over the Land (1942)

Road to Victory (1942) (exhibition catalog)

Home Front Memo (1943)

Remembrance Rock (1948)

Lincoln Collector: the story of the Oliver R. Barrett Lincoln collection (1949)

The New American Songbag (1950)

Complete Poems (1950)

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was In It (1950)

Always the Young Strangers (1953) (autobiography)

Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg (1954) (edited by Rebecca West)

The Family of Man (1955) (exhibition catalog)

Prairie-Town Boy (1955) (autobiography)

Sandburg Range (1957)

Harvest Poems, 1910–1960 (1960)

Wind Song (1960)

The World of Carl Sandburg (1960) (stage production)

Carl Sandburg at Gettysburg (1961) (documentary)

Honey and Salt (1963)

The Letters of Carl Sandburg (1968) (autobiographical/correspondence) (edited by Herbert Mitgang)

Breathing Tokens (poetry by Sandburg, edited by Margaret Sandburg) (1978)

Ever the Winds of Chance (1983) (autobiography) (started by Sandburg, completed by Margaret Sandburg and George Hendrick)

Carl Sandburg at the Movies: a poet in the silent era, 1920–1927 (1985) (selections of his reviews of silent movies)

Billy Sunday and other poems (1993)

Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote (1999)

Poems for the People. (1999)

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years (2007)

Here is the difference between Dante, Milton, and me. They wrote about hell and never saw the place. I wrote about Chicago after looking the town over for years and years.

A winner of Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and biography, as well as a Grammy for spoken word performance, Sandburg provided Chicago with its lasting reputation as “Hog Butcher to the World,” as well as “City of Big Shoulders.” Sandburg’s roots were in rural Galesburg, Illinois (where he for a time drove a milk wagon), but his prolific output reflects his deep connection to Chicago, where he worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. He lived in Elmhurst for 13 years. In addition to his poetry, criticism and biographical work, Sandburg wrote acclaimed film reviews and children’s stories. Sandburg’s vast legacy includes train lines, auditoriums, postal stamps, urban renewal projects, grade schools, middle schools and colleges bearing his name.

Mike Royko

September 19, 1932 – April 29, 1997

Inducted in 2011


Up Against It (1967)

I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It (1968)

Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago (1971)

Slats Grobnik and Some Other Friends (1973)

Sez Who? Sez Me (1983)

Like I Was Sayin (1985)

Dr. Kookie, You're Right (1989)

One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko (2000)

For the Love of Mike: More of the Best of Mike Royko (2001)

Early Royko: Up Against It in Chicago (2010)

Royko in Love: Mike's Letters to Carol (2010)

Being the smartest alderman in Chicago's City Council is something like being the tallest midget in the circus.

Winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Royko's columns were a fixture in Chicago newspapers for more than three decades. He grew up in a Polish neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, living in an apartment above a bar, and drew on his childhood experiences to become the voice of the Everyman Chicago. “…his writing was distinctive and memorable and in its time the closest thing to lasting literature in a daily paper,” Jacob Weisberg wrote for Slate. “Royko could make you laugh and make you think, stir outrage at a heartless bureaucrat, or bring a tear to the eye when he flashed a glimpse of the heart hidden beneath his hard shell.” He wrote over 7,500 daily columns for three newspapers, the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Many of his columns are collected in books, but his most famous book remains Boss, a devastating portrait of Richard J. Daley and machine politics that New York columnist Jimmy Breslin called “the best book ever written about a city of this country.”

Carolyn Rodgers

December 14, 1940 – April 2, 2010

Inducted in 2012

Selected Works

Morning Glory: Poems (1989)

Finite Forms (1985)

Eden and Other Poems (1983)

The Heart as Ever Green (1978)

How I Got Ovah: New and Selected Poems (1975)

2 Love Raps (1969)

Songs of a Blackbird (1969)

A Statistic, Trying to Make it Home (1969)

Paper Soul (1968)

Blackbird in a Cage (1967)

I put the poem on paper by sense and touch, much like a blind person fumbling in the dark for light.

A leading member of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Rodgers, was born in Hyde Park and lived in Chicago most of her life, earning her bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and her masters from the University of Chicago, and later teaching at Columbia College, Malcolm X Community College and Harold Washington College. Her real writing education, though, was in the writing workshops of the arts collection the Organization of Black American Culture. Rodgers, a student of Gwendolyn Brooks, read many of her poems at coffeehouses that served as the heart of the Black Arts Movement. She featured the poet as an individual strident and feminist, and a society in conflict. She wrote of relationships between mother-daughter and black men and women, street life, identity, love, and over the course of her career explored shifting values that included a concern with religion. She experimented in form as well as theme. Following the success of Paper Soul, Rodgers received the first Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Fund Award (1968); after the publication of Songs of a Blackbird, she was given the Poet Laureate Award from the Society of Midland Authors (1970; How I Got Ovah: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award (1976). Rodgers also received a National Endowment of the Arts award. She helped found Third World Press and began Eden Press with a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and worked as a social worker.

Willard Motley

July 14, 1909 – March 4, 1965

Inducted in 2014


Knock on Any Door (1947)

We Fished All Night (1951)

Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1958)

Let Noon Be Fair (1966) published posthumously

Live young, die fast and have a good-looking corpse. Nick Romano, in Knock on Any Door.

When Willard Motley graduated from Engelwood High School, he thought he might move to Paris to become a writer, as his older brother had done. He bicycled to New York City, where his mother then lived, and was promptly told to return to Chicago—all the material he needed could be found there as readily as the European capital. The original author of the Bud Billiken columns in The Defender, Motley’s first two novels, Knock On Anybody’s Door and We Fished All Night, did, indeed, make use of his hometown. Knock On Anybody’s Door sold nearly 50,000 copies in its first three weeks and was turned into a film in which protagonist Nick Roman famously utters the line about living fast, dying young and having a beautiful corpse. Motley was criticized in his life for being a black man writing about white characters, a middle-class man writing about the lower class, and a closeted homosexual writing about heterosexual urges. But those more kindly disposed to his work, and there were plenty, admired his grit and heart, and pointed out that, at least in his first novel, Motley did explore homosexual lifestyles. For Motley, who grew up the son of a Pullman Porter at 350 W. 60th Street, and for years lived in a former sweat shop on Halsted, just north of Maxwell Street, Chicago was more complicated than just its racial or sexual tensions, and as a writer his exploration was expansive, even publishing several children’s stories.

Harriet Monroe

December 23, 1860 – September 26, 1936

Inducted in 2011


Cantata for the opening of the Chicago Auditorium (1889)

Columbian Ode composed for the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition, with George Whitefield Chadwick (1892)

Valeria and other Poems (1892)

John Wellborn Root: A Study of His Life and Work (1896)

The Passing Show - Five Modern Plays in Verse (1903)

Dance of the Seasons (1911)

You and I — Poems (1914)

The New Poetry: Anthology of 20th Century Verse (1921)

Poets And Their Art (1926)

A Poet's Life—Seventy Years in a Changing World (1938)

The people must grant a hearing to the best poets they have; else they will never have better.

Best known as the founder and first editor of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, the Chicago-born Monroe tirelessly dedicated her life to the promotion of the art. As Poetry’s editor, she helped shape the careers of such luminaries as Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams. She was a writer, scholar, critic and patron of the arts. Monroe gave her collection to the University of Chicago, which formally opened the Harriet Monroe Library of Poetry with a dinner that included guest speakers Carl Sandburg, Archibald MacLeish and Ford Maddox Ford—all who lauded her remarkable influence. Monroe’s will also provide $5,000 to establish a prize for distinction in poetry, a considerable gift for that time.

Edgar Lee Masters

August 23, 1868 – March 5, 1950

Inducted in 2014


A Book of Verses (1898)

Songs and Sonnets (1910)

Spoon River Anthology (1915)

Songs and Satires (1916)

Fiddler Jones (1916)

The Great Valley (1916)

Toward the Gulf (1918)

Starved Rock (1919)

Jack Kelso: A Dramatic Poem (1920)

Domesday Book (1920)

The Open Sea (1921)

The New Spoon River (1924)

Selected Poems (1925)

Lichee-Nut Poems (1925)

Lee: A Dramatic Poem (1926)

Godbey: A Dramatic Poem (1931)

The Serpent in the Wilderness (1933)

Richmond: A Dramatic Poem (1934)

Invisible Landscapes (1935)

Poems of People (1936)

The Golden Fleece of California (1936)

The New World (1937)

More People (1939)

Illinois Poems (1941)

Along the Illinois (1942)

Silence (1946)

George Gray

Many Soldiers

The Unknown


Children of the Market Place: A Fictitious Autobiography (1922). Life of Stephen Douglas.

Levy Mayer and the New Industrial Era (1927) Chicago attorney Levy Mayer (1858-1922).

Lincoln: The Man (1931)

Vachel Lindsay: A Poet in America (1935)

Across Spoon River: An Autobiography (memoir) (1936)

Whitman (1937)

Mark Twain: A Portrait (1938)


The New Star Chamber and Other Essays (1904)

The Blood of the Prophets (play) (1905)

Althea (play) (1907)

The Trifler (play) (1908)

Mitch Miller (novel) (1920)

Skeeters Kirby (novel) (1923)

The Nuptial Flight (novel) (1923)

Kit O'Brien (novel) (1927)

The Fate of the Jury: An Epilogue to Domesday Book (1929)

Gettysburg, Manila, Acoma: Three Plays (1930)

The Tale of Chicago (1933)

The Tide of Time (novel) (1937)

The Sangamon (1988)

Immortality is not a gift; Immortality is an achievement; And only those who strive mightily Shall possess it.

Masters grew up in the western Illinois farmlands and made his reputation with his Spoon River Anthology, one of the most widely read books in American literature. The poems in Spoon River are in the form of a series of graveside monologues, during the course of which Masters captures the voice of the Midwestern people, their values and their struggles that he knew so well. Masters set other poetry in the Illinois prairies, and also created a series of courtroom poems that drew upon his law career. In all, he produced 21 books of poetry, 12 plays, six novels, and six biographies, including those of Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman.

Ring Lardner

March 6, 1885 – September 25, 1933

Inducted in 2016

Selected Works

Bib Ballads (1915)

You Know Me Al (1916)

Champion (1916)

Gullible's Travels (1917)

Treat 'Em Rough (1918)

The Big Town (1921; basis of 1948 movie So This Is New York)

How to Write Short Stories (1924)

Haircut (1925)

Round Up (1929)

How can you write if you can’t cry?

Ring Lardner thought of himself primarily as a sports writer, though many of his generation’s best writers considered him one of the finest short story writers and a great American humorist. Ernest Hemingway, writing for his Oak Park high school newspaper, even used the pen name “Ring Lardner, Jr.” in several Lardner-like articles parodies of Lardner’s style, which that employed the slang of common lowbrow characters.

Born in Niles, Michigan, Lardner went to Chicago’s Armour Institute to study engineering, but failed every class except rhetoric. He scuffled around a bit, received a newspaper apprenticeship at the South Bend Times, then returned to Chicago in 1907. Working on a series of Chicago dailies, Lardner started to earn a reputation as one of the smartest, funniest and most insightful baseball writers of his day. In 1913, after a detour to St. Louis and Boston, Lardner accepted the Chicago Tribune offer to install him as columnist of the popular “In the Wake of the News,” which expanded his repertoire beyond sports. He wrote the column seven days a week until 1919, more than 1,600 columns. During this time, Lardner began selling baseball stories to the Saturday Evening Post, and those stories were eventually collected into his first major work, an epistolary novel called You Know Me, Al, which centered around the travails of minor league pitcher Jack Keefe.

Though Lardner is known for his baseball stories, only about a third of his 130 short stories were written on the subject. He also explored subjects such as marriage and the theater, and wrote a series of plays, the most successful being June Moon, a musical comedy for which he also wrote songs. He also is wrote lyrics and comic sketches appeared in for the Ziegfeld Follies, including one in which Will Rogers played a veteran pitcher. His best known collections include Treat ‘Em Rough, The Big Town, How to Write Short Stories, Haircut and Roundup. His biographer, Donald Elder, called Lardner the “most ferocious satirist since Swift.” In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.

The legion of Lardner supporters, beyond Hemingway, includes his era’s greatest intellectual writers, including Dorothy Parker, H.L. Mencken, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and Harold Ross. It’s true that Lardner won high praise, vast readers, and many admirers for his sharp sports writing. His style, approach, the way he interacted with the games and personalities he covered, broke new ground, entertained and informed, and made people laugh. But Lardner’s reach was so much more extensive. His ear for dialect, and skill with vernacular, helped Lardner translate a rough but sensitive American spirit to his readers, and a new technique to aspiring writers. Mencken called his characters “thoroughly American,” and Woolf thought he used games, much like the English used society, to penetrate the interior of his nation’s consciousness.

John H. Johnson

January 19, 1918 – August 8, 2005

Inducted in 2013

Long shots do come in and hard work, dedication and perseverance will overcome almost any prejudice and open almost any door.

John H. Johnson came from humble beginnings to become one of Chicago’s most notable citizens. He was the grandson of slaves. His mother worked two jobs to earn ticket money to move north to Chicago because there was no high school for black students in Arkansas City, AK, the city of his birth. Johnson enrolled at DuSable High School, where he excelled. After graduation in 1936, he attended classes at the University of Chicago and became editor of the company magazine for Supreme Liberty Life Insurance. Johnson built a media empire with the publication of Ebony and Jet, two magazines aimed at African-American readership. He became a millionaire at 31 and is credited with inventing the black consumer market. He became the first black person to own a building on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue and was the first African-American to appear on Forbes’ annual rankings of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Honors received by Johnson include Publisher of the Year award from the Magazine Publishers Association (1972), induction into Chicago Business Hall of Fame (1983), Chicagoan of the Year (1984), and the illustrious Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Johnson stated his goal was to “show not only the Negroes but also white people that Negroes got married, had beauty contests, gave parties, ran successful businesses, and did all the other normal things of life.” In 1996, Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton. The U.S. Postal Service honored Johnson with a “Forever Stamp,” part of its Black Heritage series.

Fenton Johnson

May 7, 1888 – September 17, 1958

Inducted in 2016


A Little Dreaming (1913)

Visions of the Dusk (1915)

Songs of the Soil (1916)

Tales of Darkest America (1920)


James Weldon Johnson, The Book of American Negro Poetry (1931)

Arna Bontemps, American Negro Poetry from (1963)

Ruth Miller, Black American Literature: 1760–Present (1971)

Abraham Chapman, Black Voices: An Anthology of African American Literature (1968)

Richard Barks-dale and Kenneth Kinnamon, Black Writers of America: A Comprehensive Anthology (1972)

Robert Hayden, Kaleidoscope (1982)

Arthur P. Davis, J. Saunders Redding and Joyce Ann Joyce, The New Cavalcade (1991)

Library of America, American Poetry of the Twentieth Century Volume I (2000)

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Nellie McKay’s, Norton Anthology of African American Literature (2004)

It seemed to me like trying to walk on the Atlantic Ocean to obtain recognition in the literary world.

Fenton Johnson began writing as a Chicago public school student, as early as the age of nine, and before his career had ended would establish himself as an important and innovative voice in literature, particularly for his poetry. Johnson was born in Chicago, the son of a railroad porter, and was educated in America’s finest educational institutions—University of Chicago and Northwestern University as an undergraduate, and then Columbia University as a graduate student.

Johnson self-published the first of three poetry volumes in 1913, in which he gave early evidence that he would become a powerful voice in exploring the African-American experience. Before that time, Johnson had already written several plays, and would add a collection of short stories and then essays to his oeuvre. He also founded several literary magazines, The Champion in 1916 and The Favorite Magazine in 1918. All of Johnson’s books and magazine publications were self-financed.

Johnson distinguished himself, though, in the teens and early twenties. According to editor Abraham Chapman, who included eight Johnson poems in his Black Voices: An Anthology of African-American Literature, “From beginnings with verse in conventional forms and often trite in content, Fenton Johnson became one of the very first Negro poets to turn to the revolutionary ‘new poetry’ movement in America. In 1918 and 1919 he published poems in Poetry magazine and Alfred Kreymborg’s Others, where he appeared along with William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore. He never became a major figure, but he cultivated his own distinctive voice and a fatalistic, nihilistic vision of life which was very rare in American literature.”

Johnson’s magazines sought to bring about racial harmony and reform in society, but his poems were notable for despair about the conditions for Blacks in America.

His most famous poem, “Tired,” begins, “I am tired of work; I am tired of building up somebody else’s civilization.” It also includes the line, “Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us too many. It is better to die than to grow up and find that you are colored.”

The J-Rank Encyclopedia notes that, “Johnson was part of the new imagistic poetry of the early twentieth century, which had Midwestern and specifically Chicago roots.”

Indeed, Johnson used Chicago as the setting for a good portion of his work, such as “Aunt Jane Allen,” which is set on State Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood, and “A Negro Peddler’s Song,” which is patterned after a song sung in a Chicago alley. Even in A Wild Plaint, a recently found unpublished Johnson manuscript in the form of 20-year-old Chicagoan Aubrey Gray’s diary, he details the sites and sounds of his city, and the plight of Black Americans. The diary concludes with Gray’s suicide, specifically a note that says, “due to this color-prejudice… that I do what I am doing.” Though Johnson spent the great majority of his life in Chicago, his work is credited as a forbearer to Harlem Renaissance writers like Langston Hughes.

The Johnsons were one of Chicago’s wealthiest Black families—his father owned their State Street home, a rare accomplishment at the turn of the 20th century. Johnson’s uncle, John “Mushmouth” Johnson, amassed a fortune running a gambling house and controlling Chicago’s policy racket. Arna Bontemps, a friend of Johnson’s until his death, wrote that he was “a dapper boy who drove his own electric automobile around Chicago.” But the Chicago boy who went to Englewood High School and then Wendell Phillips High School, whose family had status and financial security, did not see his life as blessed or lucky. In his essays and poetry, Johnson alludes to a bad ending for his father, and his uncle’s demise was also dramatic. The body of his work suggests that being Black, in that time, in that place, ensured such misfortune.

While many scholars consider Johnson a minor, though notable poet, his widespread and continuing inclusion in important literary anthologies suggest his legacy is lasting. In his lifetime, Johnson saw the likes of James Weldon Johnson, Harriet Monroe and her colleague Alice Corbin, and Countee Cullen choose his poems for inclusion in their anthologies. After Johnson’s death, he would continue to be widely published in anthologies of Black literature and poetry, with luminaries such as Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Bontemps selecting his work.

The language poet, Ron Silliman, in his 1987 collection of critical essays The New Sentence, pointed specifically to Johnson as the first American author to introduce “prose poem with a clear, if simple, sentence:paragraph relation.” Silliman was particularly enthralled by Johnson’s “The Minister,” which he argues, is the “first instance in English of a prose poem which calls attention to a discursive or poetic effect.” By this, Silliman means to say that Johnson’s prose poetry was perhaps one of the very first to expand what poetry might look and sound like—here no longer conforming to meter or rhyme but a new repetitive logic, the sentence itself. As Silliman notes in his essay, Johnson’s poetry effectively points the way to Williams and Gertrude Stein amongst others, who historians and critics alike consider to be some of the most important American authors of any century.

It is really no small thing that Johnson’s name would be mentioned in the same breath as these modernist poets. In the 1920s and 1930s, Johnson was already established as one of the most promising young poets of Black or White America. He had appeared alongside Carl Sandburg in Marianne Moore’s The Little Magazine, a number of times in Poetry magazine, and more often still in Kreymborg’s Others. Indeed, by 1930, Kreymborg, one of the most influential editors of the period, would include Johnson in his seminal anthology Lyric America. On Johnson, Kreymborg shared Silliman’s reverence, calling him “the first radical poet.” Perhaps most importantly, five of Johnson’s poems were included in James Weldon Johnson’s Book of American Negro Poetry. This anthology was the very first dedicated to Black poets and remains one of the most important poetry anthologies in all of American literary history.

Langston Hughes

February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967

Inducted in 2012

Poetry Collections

The Weary Blues (1926)

Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927)

The Negro Mother and Other Dramatic Recitations (1931)

Dear Lovely Death (1931)

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems (1932)

Scottsboro Limited: Four Poems and a Play (1932)

Let America Be America Again (1938)

Shakespeare in Harlem (1942)

Freedom's Plow (1943)

Fields of Wonder (1947)

One-Way Ticket (1949)

Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951)

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes (1958)

Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz (1961)

The Panther and the Lash: Poems of Our Times (1967)

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (1994)

Novels and Short Story Collections

Not Without Laughter (1930)

The Ways of White Folks (1934)

Simple Speaks His Mind (1950)

Laughing to Keep from Crying (1952)

Simple Takes a Wife (1953)

Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955)

Simple Stakes a Claim (1957)

Tambourines to Glory (1958)

The Best of Simple (1961)

Simple's Uncle Sam (1965)

Something in Common and Other Stories (1963)

Short Stories of Langston Hughes (1996)

Non-Fiction Books

The Big Sea (1940)

Famous American Negroes (1954)

Famous Negro Music Makers (1955)

I Wonder as I Wander (1956)

A Pictorial History of the Negro in America, with Milton Meltzer (1956)

Famous Negro Heroes of America (1958)

Fight for Freedom: The Story of the NAACP (1962)

Major Plays

Mule Bone, with Zora Neale Hurston (1931)

Mulatto, 1935 (renamed The Barrier, an opera, in 1950)

Troubled Island, with William Grant Still (1936)

Little Ham (1936)

Emperor of Haiti (1936)

Don't You Want to be Free? (1938)

Street Scene, contributed lyrics (1947)

Tambourines to Glory (1956)

Simply Heavenly (1957)

Black Nativity (1961)

Five Plays by Langston Hughes (1963)

Jerico-Jim Crow (1964)

Books for Children

Popo and Fifina, with Arna Bontemps (1932)

The First Book of the Negroes (1952)

The First Book of Jazz (1954)

Marian Anderson: Famous Concert Singer, with Steven C. Tracy (1954)

The First Book of Rhythms (1954)

The First Book of the West Indies (1956)

First Book of Africa (1964)

Black Misery (1969)

Other Writings

The Langston Hughes Reader (1958)

Good Morning Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings by Langston Hughes (1973)

The Collected Works of Langston Hughes (2001)

“My Adventures as a Social Poet” Phylon (1947)

“The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain” The Nation (1926)

To create a market for your writing you have to be consistent, professional, a continuing writer—not just a one-article or one-story or one-book man.

James Mercer Langston Hughes wrote successfully in a variety of genres, most notably in poetry. His column in the Chicago Defender not only brought him much attention, his novels and plays also reached audiences throughout the country, reflecting a true unvarnished look at the plight of African-American people in the United States in the early part of the 20th century.

His poetry crossed barriers and touched readers at a time when the value of the lives of black Americans was in question. A major force in the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes’ words reached deep into the souls of many people influencing them as he had once been influenced by Carl Sandburg.

His seminal work “A Dream Deferred” (1951) includes the line “Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun?” This line later appeared as the title of one of the most important plays of its time and one of the longest running plays ever, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

In 1941, Hughes founded a theater group in Chicago called The Skyloft Players. Using a modest budget, The Skyloft Players mounted plays and offered a variety of classes encouraging and nurturing black theater artists, specifically playwrights. The focus on the work was creating theater from “the black perspective,” according to the group's first director, Helen Spaulding, 

Soon after the inauguration of the theater group, Hughes went to work for the Chicago Defender. It was through the Defender Hughes introduced readers to his character Jesse B. Semple – known to the readers as Simple. Hughes combined powerful rhetoric with down-home humor to attack or reflect the conditions of African-Americans at the time. He was eloquent and clear – and no injustice escaped his literary wrath. To some, this column was Hughes’ most powerful and relevant work. He became the voice of a people who were beginning to secure their place in society.  Hughes wrote his column for the Defender for 20 years.

Gwendolyn Brooks had already been submitting her work to “Light and Shadows,” the poetry element of the Chicago Defender, when she met Hughes at the age of 16. Hughes was an influence on her illustrious career

In 1949, Hughes spent three months at the integrated Laboratory School of the University of Chicago as a Visiting Lecturer on Poetry. Chicago’s Langston Hughes Elementary School, at 240 W. 104th Street, is named in his honor. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp with his likeness in 2002.

As a young man, Hughes was often referred to as the “low-rate poet of Harlem.” As he grew older he became known as “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race,” a title he encouraged.

David Hernandez

May 1, 1946 – February 25, 2013

Inducted in 2014


Despertando/Waking Up (1971)

Collected Words for a Dusty Shelf (1973)

Satin City Lullaby (1987)

Rooftop Piper (1991)

Elvis Is Dead but at Least He Isn't Gaining Any Weight (1995)

This city is a neon lady that nurtures quiet or introspective, loud and brassy poets.

Hailed as the unofficial poet laureate of Chicago, David Hernandez immigrated with his family from Cidra, Puerto Rican at the age of nine, and soon after adopted the art form he would pursue his entire life. He said that his decision to become a poet happened at Robert Morris School, Room 208, when his teacher Miss Greenspan explained that artistic license gave poets liberties with grammar. 

Hernandez published Despertando/Waking Up, in 1971, at which point he’d already been performing his poetry for nearly a decade—on street corners and playgrounds as he made rounds fulfilling his job as community activist. That same year, Hernandez founded Street Sounds, a collection of musicians and poets taking the stage at festivals and other venues.

Hernandez turned out a series of poetry collections thereafter—Collected Words for a Dusty Shelf (1973), Satin City Lullaby (1987), Rooftop Piper (1991), Elvis Is Dead but at Least He Isn't Gaining Any Weight (1995). He was also a regular presence in anthologies.

But reading Hernandez’s poetry was only half an experience. The charisma, passion and humor he brought to his live performances, both with and without Street Sounds, elevated the quality of his work. He performed at Harold Washington's mayoral inauguration in 1987, at Washington's funeral, and at Chicago's sesquicentennial.

Over the span of nearly five decades, Hernandez taught poetry workshops at the Uptown Community Clinic, in the Chicago Public Schools, and through community arts programs, such as Gallery Humboldt Park.

Ernest Hemingway

July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961

Inducted in 2012


In Our Time (1925)

The Torrents of Spring (1926)

The Sun Also Rises (1926)

Men Without Women (1927)

A Farewell to Arms (1929)

Death in the Afternoon (1932)

Green Hills of Africa (1935)

To Have and Have Not (1937)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

Across the River and into the Trees (1950)

The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

A Moveable Feast (1964)

Islands in the Stream (1970)

The Nick Adams Stories (1972)

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1984)

The Dangerous Summer (1985)

The Garden of Eden (1986)

Short Stories (1987)

True at First Light (1999)


Death in the Afternoon (1932)

Green Hills of Africa (1935)

Hemingway, The Wild Years (1962)

A Moveable Feast (1964)

By-Line: Ernest Hemingway (1967)

Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter (1970)

The Dangerous Summer (1985)

Dateline: Toronto (1985)

True at First Light (1999)

Under Kilimanjaro (2005)


Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923)

In Our Time (1925)

Men Without Women (1927)

Winner Take Nothing (1933)

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938)

The Essential Hemingway (1947)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (1961)

The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War (1969)

The Nick Adams Stories (1972)

88 Poems (1979)

Complete Poems (1979)

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (1984)

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (1987)

The Collected Stories (Everyman's Library) (1995)

Hemingway on Writing (1999)

Hemingway on Fishing (2000)

Hemingway on Hunting (2003)

Hemingway on War (2003)

US/UK Film Adaptations

A Farewell to Arms (1932)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

To Have and Have Not (1944)

The Killers (1946)

The Macomber Affair (1947)

The Breaking Point (1950)

Under My Skin (1950)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

A Farewell to Arms (1957)

The Sun Also Rises (1957)

The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)

The Killers (1964)

Islands in the Stream (1977)

The Garden of Eden (2008)

Television Productions

For Whom the Bell Tolls Playhouse 90 (1959)

The Killers CBS Buick Electra Playhouse (1959)

The Fifth Column CBS (1960)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro CBS (1960)

The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio CBS (1960)

After the Storm (not completed) (1960)

For Whom the Bell Tolls BBC (1965)

My Old Man (1979)

The Sun Also Rises 20th Century Fox (1984)

The Old Man and the Sea (1990)

Other Film Adaptations

The Killers (1956)

The Old Man and the Sea (1999)

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, Hemingway’s economical style in short stories, novels, memoir and journalism had a tremendous influence on world literature. He is credited with inspiring a range of literary heavyweights, from Beat to Western writers and much in between. Hemingway grew up in Oak Park, and at Oak Park-River Forest High school starred in track, football and water polo, wrote for the school yearbook and literary journal, and was active on the debate team. In his Oak Park Avenue parlor, Hemingways’s musician mother taught her son classical music lessons that he incorporated into the contrapunctal structure of For Whom the Bells Toll. Hemingway’s legacy is so vast that even a minor planet is named after him.

Ben Hecht

February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964

Inducted in 2013

Books (partial list)

1001 Afternoons in Chicago (1922)

Fantazius Mallare, a Mysterious Oath (1922)

The Florentine Dagger: A Novel for Amateur Detectives (1923)

Kingdom of Evil (1924)

Broken Necks (1926)

Count Bruga (1926)

A Jew in Love (1931)

The Book of Miracles (1939)

A Guide for the Bedevilled (1944)

The Collected Stories of Ben Hecht (1945)

Perfidy (1962)

Concerning a Woman of Sin (1964)

Gaily, Gaily, Signet (1963)

A Child of the Century (1954) (May 30, 1985)

The Front Page (1998)

The Champion from Far Away (1931)

Actor's Blood (1936)

A Treasury of Ben Hecht: Collected Stories and Other Writings (1959)

Erik Dorn

I Hate Actors!

1001 Afternoons in New York

The Sensualists

Winkelberg (play)

Miracle in the Rain

Letters from Bohemia


The Egoist


Kiss of Death

Casino Royale (uncredited)

Circus World

7 Faces of Dr. Lao (uncredited)

Cleopatra (uncredited)

Billy Rose's Jumbo

Mutiny on the Bounty (uncredited)

Walk on the Wild Side (uncredited)

North to Alaska (uncredited)

John Paul Jones (uncredited)

The Gun Runners (uncredited)

Queen of Outer Space

Legend of the Lost

The Sun Also Rises

A Farewell to Arms

Miracle in the Rain

The Iron Petticoat

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (uncredited)

Trapeze (uncredited)

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (uncredited)

The Indian Fighter

The Man with the Golden Arm (uncredited)

Guys and Dolls (uncredited)

Living It Up (based on his play Hazel Flagg)


Light's Diamond Jubilee (television)

Terminal Station (uncredited)

Angel Face (uncredited)

Hans Christian Andersen (uncredited)

Monkey Business

Actors and Sin (also directed and produced)

The Wild Heart (uncredited)

The Thing from Another World (uncredited)

The Secret of Convict Lake (uncredited)

Strangers on a Train (uncredited)

September Affair (uncredited)

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Edge of Doom (uncredited)

Perfect Strangers

Love Happy (uncredited)

The Inspector General (uncredited)


Roseanna McCoy (uncredited)

Big Jack (uncredited)

Portrait of Jennie (uncredited)

Cry of the City (uncredited)

Rope (uncredited)

The Miracle of the Bells

Dishonored Lady (uncredited)

Her Husband's Affairs

The Paradine Case (uncredited)

Ride the Pink Horse

Kiss of Death

Duel in the Sun (uncredited)


A Flag is Born

Specter of the Rose (also directed and produced)

Gilda (uncredited)

Cornered (uncredited)


Watchtower Over Tomorrow

Lifeboat (uncredited)

The Outlaw (uncredited)

China Girl

Journey Into Fear (uncredited)

The Black Swan

Ten Gentlemen from West Point (uncredited)

Roxie Hart (uncredited)


The Mad Doctor (uncredited)

Comrade X

Second Chorus (uncredited)

Angels Over Broadway (also directed and produced)

Foreign Correspondent (final scene-uncredited)

The Shop Around the Corner (uncredited)

His Girl Friday

I Take This Woman (uncredited)

Gone with the Wind (uncredited)

At the Circus (uncredited)

Lady of the Tropics

It's a Wonderful World

Wuthering Heights

Let Freedom Ring

Stagecoach (uncredited)

Gunga Din

Angels with Dirty Faces (uncredited)

The Goldwyn Follies

Nothing Sacred

The Hurricane (uncredited)

The Prisoner of Zenda (uncredited)

Woman Chases Man (uncredited)

King of Gamblers (uncredited)

A Star Is Born (uncredited)

Soak the Rich (also directed)

The Scoundrel (also directed)

Spring Tonic

Barbary Coast

Once in a Blue Moon (also directed)

The Florentine Dagger

The President Vanishes (uncredited)

Crime Without Passion (also directed)

Shoot the Works

Twentieth Century (uncredited)


Viva Villa!

Riptide (uncredited)

Queen Christina (uncredited)

Design for Living

Turn Back the Clock


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum

Back Street (uncredited)

Rasputin and the Empress (uncredited)

Million Dollar Legs (uncredited)


The Beast of the City (uncredited)

The Unholy Garden (1931 film)

The Sin of Madelon Claudet (uncredited)

Monkey Business (uncredited)

Homicide Squad (uncredited)

Quick Millions (uncredited)

Le Spectre vert

Roadhouse Nights

Street of Chance (uncredited)

The Unholy Night

The Great Gabbo

The Big Noise

The American Beauty (uncredited)


The New Klondike (uncredited)

Chicago is a sort of journalistic Yellowstone Park, offering haven to a last herd of fantastic bravos.

Hecht’s career began at 16, when he relocated to Chicago to begin a journalism career that included work at the Chicago Journal and Chicago Daily News, for whom he covered Berlin after World War I. While Hecht was most prolific as the scriptwriter of some 70 films (among them The Front Page, Scarface, Gunga Din and Notorious), he also turned out many quality stories, novels, plays and non-fiction works. His first novel, Erik Dorn, received great reviews, and his collection of newspaper columns, One Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago is still beloved. Two of Hecht’s scripts won Academy Awards for best screenplay.

Alice Judson Ryerson Hayes

1922 – October 13, 2006

Inducted in 2015

I am grateful to the house itself for its smell and taste and texture and for the views out of its windows and for its nurturing spirit.

Alice Judson Hayes was born into a prominent Chicago arts family, and in 1976 carried on its distinguished record of patronage in founding the Ragdale artists colony. She was raised in Lincoln Park by her lawyer father and sculptor mother, and attended the Francis Parker School. As a student at the University of Chicago, Hayes met her first husband, Ned Ryerson, son of the steel magnate Edward L. Ryerson, and subsequently moved to begin a new life on the East Coast. It was after her divorce from Ryerson that Hayes returned to the Chicago area and created the Ragdale Foundation, set up as a working retreat for writers, musicians and visual artists. Built on her family’s Green Bay Road estate in Lake Forest, the retreat was designed by her grandfather, Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. A large number of artists have passed through Ragdale (up to 200 per year), including prominent (or soon to be) writers Audrey Niffenegger, Lisel Mueller, Dennis Lehane, Alice Sebold, Mark Strand, Luis Alberto Urrea, Jane Hamilton, Jacquelyn Mitchard and Alex Kotlowitz, who worked for four weeks on his 1991 classic There Are No Children Here. As its director, Hayes labored on every aspect of the burgeoning community, from high-level decision making to mowing the lawn. In 1981, Hayes remarried and moved to Hyde Park, becoming active in peace and anti-war activities, and a vital part of community organizations, as she continued to be in Lake Forest. Among her civic achievements, Hayes helped found the Chicago chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility. Ten years after their marriage, Hayes and her husband moved into Montgomery Place, also in Hyde Park, where she taught poetry, edited a monthly newsletter, and helped author a history of the establishment called In It Together. Hayes’ published work includes the poetry collections Journal of the Lake and Water, Sheba's Story, as well as a number of short stories. In 2002, Hayes received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, which the Illinois Humanities Council awards for exceptional contributions to the community. The Alice Judson Hayes Writing Fellowship is given out annually in her honor.

Leon Forrest

January 8, 1937 – November 6, 1997

Inducted in 2013


There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden (1973)

The Bloodworth Orphans (1977)

Two Wings to Veil My Face (1984)

Relocations of the Spirit: Collected Essays (1994)

Divine Days (1992)

Meteor in the Madhouse (2001)

This blend of the sacred and the profane seems to me to be so much a part of the Northern experience, particularly a city like Chicago with its great possibilities of going for broke. It’s a hustler’s town. You can make a comeback after falling, and people will let you up.

Forrest grew up on the South Side and went to school at Wendell Phillips, Hyde Park Academy and Wilson Junior College. He wrote and edited for several South Side community newspapers. A professor of English and African-American studies at Northwestern University for 24 years, Forrest’s stream-of-consciousness writing concerned the legacy of slavery and earned him a place on Chicago Magazine’s “Most Important Chicagoans of the 20th Century.” His novels, set in a mythical Forrest County that closely resembles Chicago, comprise an oral history of a fictional place and time. His third novel, Two Wings to Veil My Face, won the DuSable Museum Certificate of Merit and Achievement in Fiction, the Carl Sandburg Award, the Friends of Literature Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award for fiction. His fourth book, Divine Days, won the Chicago Sun-Times Book of the Year Award for local fiction.

Eugene Field

September 2, 1850 – November 4, 1895

Inducted in 2016


At the Door

Armenian Lullaby

Ashes on the Slide

Ballad of the Jelly-Cake

Bambino (Corsican Lullaby)

Beard and Baby

Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-Not

Christmas Eve

Christmas Treasures

Cobbler and Stork

The Cunnin' Little Thing

The Dinkey-Bird

The Duel

Father's Letter

The Fire-Hangbird's Nest

The First Christmas Tree, 1912

Ganderfeather's Gift

Garden and Cradle

Gold and Love for Dearie, Cornish Lullaby


In the Firelight

Jest 'fore Christmas

Jewish Lullaby

Kissing Time

To a Little Brook

Little Boy Blue

Little Croodlin' Doo

Little Mistress Sans-Merci

Lollyby, Lolly, Lollyby

Long Ago

Marcus Varro, on a Roman book-lover

To Mary Field French

Morning Song

The Night Wind

Norse Lullaby

Oh, Little Child (Sicilian Lullaby)

The Peace of Christmas-Time

Pittypat and Tippytoe


Seein' Things

The Sugar Plum Tree

Telling the Bees, The International Folk-Lore Congress of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, July, 1893

A Valentine

With Trumpet and Drum

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Dutch Lullaby

The Dream Ship

Not so, however, with books, for books cannot change. A thousand years hence they are what you find them to-day, speaking the same words, holding forth the same cheer, the same promise, the same comfort; always constant, laughing with those who laugh and weeping with those who weep.” from The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac

For fifty dollars a week, the Chicago Morning News lured popular newspaper columnist Eugene Field to relocate from Denver. In 1883, Field was already widely known, and his new column, Sharps and Flats, would continue his reputation for humorous essays. Living near the intersection of North Clarendon and West Hutchinson in the Buena Park neighborhood, Field chided current events and people, often in the arts and literature, and made a habit of criticizing his new city’s materialism. He called Chicago, “Porkopolis.” Soon, Field’s production of children’s verse increased, and his audience broadened. Field’s first poetry publication was in 1879, and more than a dozen volumes followed. Though Field’s intended audience appeared to be largely adults, his nostalgic recollections of growing up earned him the nickname “Poet of Childhood.” He also wrote a substantial number of short stories. Field died of a heart attack in Chicago at the age of 45, and is buried at Kenilworth’s Church of the Holy Comforter. The Eugene Field Memorial in the Lincoln Park Zoo features “Dream Lady,” an Edwin Francis McCartan sculpture based on the poem, “The Rock-a-By Lady from Hush-a-By Street.” The granite base depicts scenes from other Field poems, including “The Fly Away Horse” and “Seein Things.” His famous “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” as well as parts of “The Sugar Plum Tree” are carved into the sides. Other local memorials include an Albany Park field house named after the writer; Chicago, Elmhurst, Park Ridge, Wheeling, Rock Island and Normal elementary schools bearing his name; and Field Park in Oak Park.

Edna Ferber

August 15, 1885 – April 16, 1968

Inducted in 2013


Dawn O'Hara (1911)

Buttered Side Down (1912)

Roast Beef, Medium (1913)

Personality Plus (1914)

Emma Mc Chesney and Co. (1915)

Our Mrs. McChesney (1915) (play, with George V. Hobart)

Fanny Herself (1917)

Cheerful–By Request (1918)

Half Portions (1919)

$1200 a Year: A Comedy in Three Acts (1920) (play, with Newman Levy)

The Girls (Edna Ferber novel) (1921)

Gigolo (1922)

So Big (1924)

Minick: A Play (1924) (play, with G. S. Kaufman)

Show Boat (1926)

Stage Door (1926) (play, with G.S. Kaufman)

Mother Knows Best (1927)

Old Charleston (1927)

The Royal Family (1927) (play, with G. S. Kaufman)

Cimarron (1929)

American Beauty (1931)

Dinner at Eight (1932) (play, with G. S. Kaufman)

They Brought Their Women (1933)

Come and Get It (1935)

Trees Die at the Top (1937)

Nobody's in Town (1938)

A Peculiar Treasure (1939)

The Land Is Bright (1941) (play, with G. S. Kaufman)

Saratoga Trunk (1941)

No Room at the Inn (1941)

Great Son (1945)

Saratoga Trunk (1945) (film, with Casey Robinson)

One Basket (1947)

Bravo (1949) (play, with G. S. Kaufman)

Giant (1952)

Ice Palace (1958)

A Kind of Magic (1963)

Musicals adapted from Ferber novels

Show Boat (1927)

Saratoga (1959)

Giant (2009)

Life can’t defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death.

A Chicago resident during her early years, Ferber would use her novels and plays to champion the cause of equality, not just for women but all people. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1925 for So Big, the story of a woman raising a child on a truck farm outside Chicago. She is better known for her works, such as Giant and Show Boat, that were turned into blockbuster Hollywood films. Her 1932 play, Dinner at Eight, which she co-authored with George Kaufman, continues to be staged today.

James T. Farrell

February 27, 1904 – August 22, 1979

Inducted in 2012


Young Lonigan (1932)

Gas-House McGinty (1933)

Calico Shoes (1934)

The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan (1934)

Guillotine Party and Other Stories (1935)

Judgment Day (1935).

A Note on Literary Criticism (1936)

A World I Never Made (1936)

Can All This Grandeur Perish? and Other Stories (1937)

No Star Is Lost (1938)

Tommy Gallagher's Crusade (1939)

Father and Son (1940)

The Bill of Rights in danger!: the meaning of the Minneapolis convictions  (1941)

Decision (1941)

Ellen Rogers (1941)

“$1000 a Week and Other Stories” (1942)

My Days of Anger (1943)

“To Whom It May Concern and Other Stories” (1944)

Who are the 18 prisoners in the Minneapolis Labor Case?: how the Smith “Gag” Act has endangered workers rights and free speech (1944)

“The League of Frightened Philistines and Other Papers” (1945)

Bernard Clare (1946)

“When Boyhood Dreams Come True and Other Stories” (1946)

“The Life Adventurous and Other Stories” (1947)

Literature and Morality (1947)

Truth and myth about America (1949)

The Road Between (1949)

An American Dream Girl (1950)

The Name Is Fogarty: Private Papers on Public Matters (1950)

This Man and This Woman (1951)

Yet Other Waters (1952)

The Face of Time (1953)

Reflections at Fifty and Other Essays (1954)

French Girls Are Vicious and Other Stories (1955)

A Dangerous Woman and Other Stories (1957)

My Baseball Diary (1957)

It Has Come To Pass (1958)

Boarding House Blues (1961)

Side Street and Other Stories (1961)

“Sound of a City” (1962)

The Silence of History (1963)

What Time Collects (1964)

A Glass of Milk, in “Why Work Series” editor Gordon Lish (1966)

Lonely for the Future (1966)

When Time Was Born (1966)

New Year's Eve/1929 (1967)

A Brand New Life (1968)

Childhood Is Not Forever (1969)

Judith (1969)

Invisible Swords (1971)

Judith and Other Stories (1973)

The Dunne Family (1976)

Olive and Mary Anne (1977)

The Death of Nora Ryan (1978)

The danger of censorship in cultural media increases in proportion to the degree to which one approaches the winning of a mass audience.

A huge White Sox fan, graduate of Mt. Carmel High School and the University of Chicago, Farrell used his Chicago roots, especially his South Side childhood memories, to create some 50 books. His Studs Lonigan trilogy made a lasting impact on the literary world, obtaining a broad readership and praise not only among critics but also historians and sociologists. His realistic renderings of social conditions and their impact on characters reflected his own political leanings. Farrell was awarded the Emerson-Thoreau Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Lonigan triology was selected a top 100 novel of the 20th century by the Modern Library.

Roger Ebert

June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013

Inducted in 2016


Each year from 1999 to 2013, except in 2008, Ebert published Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook


An Illini Century: One Hundred Years of Campus Life (1967)

A Kiss Is Still a Kiss (1984)

The Perfect London Walk (1986)

Two Weeks In Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook (1987)

Behind the Phantom's Mask (1993) Fiction

Ebert's Little Movie Glossary (1994)

Roger Ebert's Book of Film (1996)

Questions for the Movie Answer Man (1997)

Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary (1999)

I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie (2000)

The Great Movies (2002)

The Great Movies II (2005)

Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert (2006)

The Great Movies III (2010)

Your Movie Sucks (2007)

Roger Ebert's Four-Star Reviews 1967–2007 (2007)

Scorsese by Ebert (2008)

The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker (2010)

Life Itself: A Memoir. (2011)

A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length (2012)

When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be. [Esquire]

Working for the Chicago Sun Times from 1967 until his death, Roger Ebert was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Ebert and Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel helped popularize nationally televised film reviewing when they co-hosted the PBS show Sneak Previews, followed by several variously named At the Movies programs.

But above all else, Ebert was a writer. He wrote more books than any TV personality since Steve Allen — 17 in all. Not only collections of reviews, both good and bad, and critiques of great movies, but humorous glossaries and even a novel, Behind the Phantom’s Mask, that was serialized in the Sun-Times. In 2011, his autobiography, Life Itself, won rave reviews. “This is the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written,” Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times.

In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tom Van Riper of Forbes described him as “the most powerful pundit in America,” and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called him “the best known film critic in America.” Ebert was also named honorary life member of the Directors' Guild of America; won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriters' Guild; and received honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder. The 19th annual installment of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival took place in Urbana-Champaign this past April, and according to the official website “his influence on the Festival continues.” Ebert’s blog,, has been carried on by his widow Chaz, who is a regular contributor as well as the publisher.

Ebert lived with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands from 2002. He continued to publish frequently both online and in print until shortly before his death. Two days before his death, Ebert ended his final blog post by saying, “So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies.” His death prompted wide reaction from celebrities both in and out of the entertainment industry. President Barack Obama wrote, “Roger was the movies ... [he could capture] the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical ... The movies won't be the same without Roger.” Robert Redford called Ebert “one of the great champions of freedom of artistic expression” and said, “His personal passion for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for generations to come.”

Theodore Dreiser

August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945

Inducted in 2011


Sister Carrie (1900)

Jennie Gerhardt (1911)

The Financier (1912)

The Titan (1914)

The “Genius” (1915)

Free and Other Stories (1918)

An American Tragedy (1925)

Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories (1927)

The Bulwark (1946)

The Stoic (1947)


Plays of the Natural and Supernatural (1916)

The Hand of the Potter (1918)


A Traveler at Forty (1913)

A Hoosier Holiday (1916)

Twelve Men (1919)

Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub: A Book of the Mystery and Wonder and Terror of Life (1920)

A Book About Myself (1922); republished (unexpurgated) as Newspaper Days (1931)

The Color of a Great City (1923)

MOODS Cadenced and Declaimed (1926)

Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928)

My City (1929)

A Gallery of Women (1929)

Tragic America (1931)

Dawn (1931)

America Is Worth Saving (1941)

Theodore Dreiser: Political Writings, edited by Jude Davies (2011) 

Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.

Dreiser, who began writing for the Chicago Globe after flunking out of Indiana University, is known as a trailblazer for his generation. In his fiction and non-fiction, he tackled subjects that were considered in violation of conventional morality, including Sister Carrie (about a woman who flees the country for Chicago and eventually dabbles in illicit activities such as the theatre and rich men) and his Trilogy of Desire (based on Chicago streetcar tycoon Charles Tyson Yerkes). Dreiser’s themes of social inequality and his battles with censorship earned him a reputation as a champion for literary freedom, while his style won him credit as a founder of the naturalism literary movement.

Floyd Dell

June 28, 1887 – July 23, 1969

Inducted in 2015


Moon-Calf (1920)

The Briary-Bush (1921)

Janet March (1923)

This Mad Ideal (1925)

Runaway (1925)

Love in Greenwich Village (1926)

An Old Man's Folly (1926)

An Unmarried Father (1927)

Souvenir (1929)

Love Without Money (1931)

Diana Stair (1932)

The Golden Spike (1934)


Women as World Builders (1913)

Were You Ever a Child? (1919)

Looking at Life; essays (1924)

Intellectual Vagabondage; essays (1926)

The Outline of Marriage (1926)

Upton Sinclair: A Study in Social Protest (1927)

Homecoming; autobiography (1930)

Love in the Machine Age: A Psychological Study of the Transition from Patriarchal Society (1930)

Government Aid During the Depression to Professional, Technical and Other Service Workers (1947)

Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43 (Washington: Government Printing Office) (1947)

Homecoming; An Autobiography (1969)

Upton Sinclair : A Study in Social Protest (1970)


Essays from The Friday Literary Review, 1909-13 (1995)

Feminism for Men (1914)

Mona Lisa and the Wheelbarrow (1914)

The Censor's Triumph (1915)

Enter the Woman (1915)


Human Nature: A Very Short Morality Play (1913)

Chaste Adventures Of Joseph: A Comedy (1914)

Ibsen Revisited: A Piece Of Foolishness (1914)

Enigma: A Domestic Conversation (1915)

Rim Of The World: A Fantasy (1915)

Legend: A Romance (1915)

King Arthur's Socks: A Comedy (1916)

Long Time Ago: A Tragic Fantasy (1917)

Angel Intrudes: A Comedy (1917)

Sweet-And-Twenty: A Comedy (1918)

Poor Harold: A Comedy (1920)

Little Accident (1928)

King Arthur's Socks and Other Village Plays (2012)

Chicago became for him the symbol of that real world. It was no longer a place of refuge—it was a test, a challenge. He would go there not as a moonstruck dreamer, but as a realist, able to face the hard facts of life. (from The Briary-Bush)

Floyd Dell was born in Barry, IL and after attending high school in Iowa moved to Chicago in 1908, where he remained until moving to New York City in 1913. Having been brought up in poverty, he took an early interest in politics and social change and by the age of 16 had joined the Socialist Party. This would pave the way for a string of jobs writing and promoting for Socialist publications such as The Tri-City Worker and The Masses. While a supporter of Socialism, he did not limit himself or his career to mere political constraints. He eventually took a job with The Chicago Evening Post and by 1911 was the editor of its Friday Literary Review, a nationally distributed weekly supplement that helped enhanced the reputation of Chicago’s literary renaissance. During this period he would become an unequivocally prominent figure in the literary movement that would in later years be deemed American Modernism. He advocated the work of such modernist icons as Jack London, Upton Sinclair and George Bernard Shaw, all the while slowly honing his own literary gifts. He is perhaps best remembered for his first novel, the 1920 bestselling Moon-Calf, and later with the 1928 Broadway hit play Little Accident. Along with his novels (11 of them) and plays (12), he was also an influential critic, essayist and poet of reasonable distinction. He also wrote an autobiography, Homecoming, in 1930. He is remembered today as a heavily influential figure in early American Modernism, Socialism, and as an usher for the exodus of new literary voices in the Midwest to settle in the great cities of the east like New York. According to author R. Craig Sautter, who helped compile a 1996 collection of his essays from the Friday Literary Review, Dell was “one of the most flamboyant, versatile and influential American Men of Letters of the first third of the 20th Century.”

Cyrus Colter

January 8, 1910 – April 15, 2002

Inducted in 2011


A Chocolate Soldier (1988)

Night Studies (1979)

River of Eros (1972)

The Hippodrome (1973)

Short Story Collection

The Amoralists and Other Tales (1988)

The Beach Umbrella (1970)

You grow close to your characters, and begin to share their burdens.

Colter began writing at the age of 50 and ten years later published his first book, the short story collection The Beach Umbrella, when Kurt Vonnegut chose it as the winner of the Iowa School of Letters Award. That and his first novel, River of Eros, are both naturalistic works that revolve around blue-collar African-Americans in Chicago. Night Studies won the 1980 Carl Sandburg fiction prize, though Chocolate Soldier (published eight years later) is generally considered his crowning accomplishment. Colter had a full career as a lawyer before joining Northwestern University’s faculty in 1973; a few years later, he became the first black to hold an endowed chair when he was appointed chair of the department of African-American studies.

Margaret T. Burroughs

November 1, 1915 – November 21, 2010

Inducted in 2015

Selected Works

Jasper, the drummin' boy (1947)

Whip me whop me pudding, and other stories of Riley Rabbit and his fabulous friends (1966)

What shall I tell my children who are Black? (1968)

Did you feed my cow? Street games, chants, and rhymes (1969)

For Malcolm; poems on the life and the death of Malcolm X Dudley Randall and Margaret G. Burroughs, editors (1969)

Africa, my Africa (1970)

What shall I tell my children?: An addenda (1975)

Interlude: seven musical poems by Frank Marshall Davis, Margaret T. Burroughs, editor. (1985)

Minds flowing free: original poetry by “The Ladies” women's division of Cook County Department of Corrections, Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, editor (1986)

The Family Linocut (1986)

A very special tribute in honor of a very special person, Eugene Pieter Romayn Feldman, Margaret T. Burroughs, editor (1988)

His name was Du Sable and he was the first (1990)

Africa name book (1994)

A shared heritage: art by four African Americans by William E. Taylor and Harriet G. Warkel with essays by Margaret T. G. Burroughs and others (1996)

The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Fine Art, African American Style Ana M. Allen and Margaret Taylor Burroughs (1998)

The tallest tree in the forest (1998)

Humanist and glad to be (2003)

My first husband & his four wives (me, being the first) (2003)

What will your legacy be? What deeds have you done in your lifetime which will be left for you to be remembered by? Will it be just a gray decaying tombstone standing alone in the ceremony or will it be, as it should be, some act, some service or some deed that will insure that you will be remembered on and into eternity for life’s game? I ask you. What will your legacy be?

Margaret Taylor-Burroughs moved to Chicago at the age of five and remained close to the city the rest of her life. She established a host of enduring cultural organizations, distinguished herself as an educator, served as a longtime commissioner at the Chicago Park District, and produced world-class bodies of literary and fine arts works.

Burroughs attended public schools, culminating with her graduation from Englewood High School in 1933, before pursuing higher academic goals at Chicago Normal College, Chicago Teachers College and the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned her B.E. and M.A.

By the time she turned twenty-three in 1940, she had co-founded the South Side Community Arts Center (SSCAC), located across the street from the coach house she shared with her first husband, Bernard Goss, on 3831 S. Michigan Ave. She would serve on the board for 70 years. Burroughs also created a famous salon in Bronzeville, in which prominent cultural figures like W.E.B. DuBois and James Baldwin were among those in attendance. She launched an art fair at a shopping center around 35th Street and King Drive to provide a showcase for the work of black artists. She also helped start the National Conference of African-American Artists.

Burroughs crowning achievement, though, was the DuSable Museum, which she co-founded in 1961, along with husband Charles Burroughs, on the ground floor of her Chicago home; it remained there until it outgrew the space and was relocated to the current Washington Park site.

The museum is only not even two miles away from DuSable High School, where Burroughs taught from 1946-1969. She was also a professor of humanities at Kennedy-King College from 1968-79, and taught art and poetry to prison inmates.

Burroughs became heavily influenced by Mexican Muralists, whose style would later characterize her own famous white-on-black prints of African American history. Much like her art, her equally illustrious writing career was largely defined by its passionate interpretation of the African-American experience. Such poems as What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black!, and books like Jasper, Drummin’ Boy and Did You Feed My Cow? have all been critically acclaimed and translated into multiple languages.

Burroughs’ many honors include the President’s Humanitarian Award (given to her by Gerald Ford), the Paul Robeson Award, the Art Institute’s Legacy Awards, Anyone Can Fly Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, and she was named to the Chicago Defender’s list of most influential women.

Fanny Butcher

September 13, 1888 - May 1987

Inducted in 2016


Many Lives, One Love (1971)

Much has been written about the great days of Chicago’s literary life around the 1920s, the so-called Chicago Literary Renaissance. As someone who watched it, recorded it, and was part of it, since I knew many of the makers and shakers, I can assure you that nobody ever thought while it was happening that we were making literary history.

Fanny Butcher was a writer and critic for the Chicago Tribune for 40 years. She moved to Chicago as a child and graduated from the University of Chicago. Throughout her career at the Tribune, she worked as a society editor, club editor, crime reporter, and fashion editor. She was also a praised book reviewer, and published her memoir Many Lives, One Love in 1971. A favorite writer and friend of hers was Ernest Hemingway, who was honored by the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2012.

Gwendolyn Brooks

June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000

Inducted in 2010


Negro Hero (1945)

The Mother (1945)

A Street in Bronzeville (1945)

The Children of the Poor (1949)

Annie Allen (1950)

Maud Martha (1953) (Fiction)

Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956)

The Bean Eaters (1960)

Selected Poems (1963)

A Song in the Front Yard (1963)

We Real Cool (1966)

In the Mecca (1968)

Malcolm X (1968)

Riot (1969)

Family Pictures (1970)

Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1971)

The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1971)

Aloneness (1971)

Report from Part One: An Autobiography (1972) (Prose)

A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing (1975) (Prose)

Aurora (1972)

Beckonings (1975)

Other Music (1976)

Black Love (1981)

To Disembark (1981)

Primer for Blacks (1981) (Prose)

Young Poet's Primer (1981) (Prose)

Very Young Poets (1983) (Prose)

The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986)

Blacks (1987)

Winnie (1988)

Children Coming Home (1991)

Report From Part Two (1996)

In Montgomery (2000)

We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.

Brooks was raised and educated on the South Side, taught at several local colleges, and set much of her poetry in the city. With the publication of A Street in Bronzeville in 1945, Brooks won a Guggenheim Fellowship, became one of Mademoiselle’s “Ten Young Women of the Year,” and generally triggered an avalanche of praise that would continue unabated until her death. With Annie Allen, in 1950, Brooks became the first African-American to capture a Pulitzer Prize; she was poet laureate of Illinois and the United States; she was named National Endowment for the Arts’ Jefferson Lecturer; is a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame; and has four Illinois schools and a library named in her honor. In conjunction with her 80th birthday in 1997, Mayor Richard Mr. Daley declared Gwendolyn Brooks Week, at which 80 performers and writers from around the world presented her gifts.

L. Frank Baum

May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919

Inducted in 2013

Selected Works

Mother Goose in Prose, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish (1891)

Father Goose, His Book (1899)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902)

The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)

Queen Zixi of Ix (1904)

Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1905, comic strip depicting 27 stories)

The Woggle-Bug Book (1905)

Ozma of Oz (1907)

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)

The Road to Oz (1909)

The Emerald City of Oz (1910)

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)

Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1913, collection of 6 short stories)

Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)

The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

Rinkitink in Oz (1916)

The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)

The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)

Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)

I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-the-wisp, which when caught, is not worth the possession; but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one’s heart and brings its own reward.

When Baum moved his family to Chicago in 1891, he was a washout as an oil tycoon, shop owner and newspaper publisher. He had dabbled, with limited success, as an actor, newspaper reporter, playwright, salesman and chicken breeder. In Chicago, living with his family on Humboldt Blvd., Baum took work as a reporter, department store window dresser and traveling chinaware salesman. Now in his forties, Baum finally found his calling: in 1897, a Chicago publisher put out his Tales from Mother Goose, and two years later Father Goose: His Book sold 60,000 copies. Then, in 1900, came The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is probably no coincidence that notes of The White City could be heard throughout The Emerald City, as Baum experienced the radiance of that fantastical creation at the World’s Columbia Exposition shortly after his resettlement in Chicago. Readers loved Dorothy and her strange traveling companions, and Baum followed up his big success with The Marvelous Land of Oz. He would go on to write 14 Oz books in all, and even today, more than a century later, Baum’s characters are among the best loved in all children’s literature. The books were translated (some by Baum) into successful theatrical productions in Chicago, New York and eventually throughout the world. Though Baum’s own film adaptations failed (he bought his own film company, which he sold to Universal), the MGM production in 1939, starring Judy Garland, was a huge commercial and artistic success. The film is cited on several prominent lists as one of the greatest in film history. A statue of the Tin Man pays homage to Baum in Chicago’s Oz Park, and festivals throughout the country, notably in Chittenango Falls, New York and Sedan, Kansas, annually celebrate the author and his books.

Margaret Ayer Barnes

April 8, 1886 – October 25, 1967

Inducted in 2016


The Age of Innocence, a dramatization of Edith Wharton's novel of the same name (produced 1928), made into a 1934 motion picture of the same name.

Jenny, a play, with Edward Sheldon (1929)

Dishonored Lady, a play, also with Sheldon (1930), made into a 1947 motion picture of the same name (aka Sins of Madeleine)

Prevailing Winds, short stories (1928)

Years of Grace, a novel (1930)

Westward Passage, a novel (1931), made into a 1932 motion picture of the same name.

Within This Present, a novel (1933)

Edna, His Wife, a novel (1935), later adapted into a play of the same name by Cornelia Otis Skinner.

Wisdom's Gate, a novel (1938)

All people who think sooner or later go through hell.

Chicago born and bred, Margaret Ayers Barnes was a novelist, short story writer and playwright. She began her writing career in earnest after a debilitating car accident at age forty in 1926. Two of her plays, Age of Innocence (adapted from the Edith Wharton novel), and Jenny each played for more than a hundred performances on Broadway. Her first novel, Years of Grace won the Pulitzer Prize in 1931 and was also the best selling book in its year of publication. The novel, set in late nineteenth century Chicago, spans four decades in the life of Jane Ward Carver, daughter of a wealthy family, from child all the way to grandmother, and shows the changing world through her eyes. Barnes followed that up with two more best sellers, Within This Present and Westward Passage, which was adapted to the screen for Ann Harding. Barnes was also an amateur actress, playing roles in productions of the Aldis Players in Lake Forest and the North Shore Theatre in Winnetka. That experience helped her launch a career on the speaking circuit.

Rane Arroyo

November 15, 1954 – May 7, 2010

Inducted in 2015

Books of Poetry

Columbus's Orphan (1993)

The Singing Shark (1996)

Pale Ramón (1998)

Home Movies of Narcissus (2002)

The Portable Famine (2005)

Don Quixote Goes to the Moon (2006)

The Roswell Poems (2008)

The Buried Sea: New & Selected Poems (2008)

White as Silver: Poems (2010)

Book of Short Stories

How to Name a Hurricane (2005)

Performed Plays

The Amateur Virgin, Buddha and the Señorita, Tiara Tango, Emily Dickinson in Bandages, A Family in Figleaves, Prayers for a Go-Go Boy, Honeymoon Rehearsals, House with Black Windows (with the poet Glenn Sheldon), Red House On Fire, and Horatio: An Inquisition

Published Plays

Dancing at Funerals: Selected Plays (2010)

Buddha and the Señorita, Sex with the Man-in-the-Moon, Spanish Moon, Bed But No Breakfast, Fade to White (with the poets Glenn Sheldon and Diane Williams), Honeymoon Rehearsals, and A Lesson in Writing Love Letters

It is only after a lifetime of poems, of difficult work, that a man or woman can be judged a prophet.

Rane Arroyo was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents, and began as a performance artist in Chicago galleries before beginning to write poetry, which eventually yielded Columbus’s Orphans, Pale Ramon, and Home Movies of the Narcissus, among other titles. He wrote 10 poetry books, more than a dozen plays and a short story collection. 

A beloved teacher, writer, and scholar, Arroyo overturned assumptions and stereotypes about homosexuality and Latinos, helping define both literary canons. Among his many awards, Arroyo’s work received the John Ciardi Poetry Prize, the Carl Sandburg Poetry Prize, an Ohio Arts Council Award for Excellence in Poetry, a Pushcart Prize and the Hart Crane Poetry Prize.

Though for more than a decade Arroyo lived in Ohio, where he was a professor of creative writing at the University of Toledo, he considered Chicago his home more than any other. In an interview with Cervena Barva Press, Arroyo said that he “actually lived in three Chicagos.” The first was an entirely Spanish-speaking Chicago neighborhood, the second the western suburb to where his family relocated, and the third the Chicago that welcomed him as “prodigal son returned.” As a young artist exploring Chicago’s 80s art scene, Arroyo read in “parking lots and discos.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College.

Seven Kitchens Press recently announced the formation of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize.



Sherwood Anderson

September 13, 1876 – March 8, 1941

Inducted in 2012


Windy McPherson's Son (1916)

Marching Men (1917)

Poor White (1920)

Many Marriages (1923)

Dark Laughter (1925)

Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926, semi-autobiographical novel)

Alice and The Lost Novel (1929)

Beyond Desire (1932)

Kit Brandon: A Portrait (1936)

Short Story collections

Winesburg, Ohio (1919)

The Triumph of the Egg: A Book of Impressions From American Life in Tales and Poems (1921)

Horses and Men (1923)

Death in the Woods and Other Stories (1933)


Mid-American Chants (1918)

A New Testament (1927)


Plays, Winesburg and Others (1937)


A Story Teller's Story (1924, memoir)

The Modern Writer (1925, essays)

Sherwood Anderson's Notebook (1926, memoir)

Hello Towns! (1929, collected newspaper articles)

Nearer the Grass Roots (1929, essays)

The American County Fair (1930, essays)

Perhaps Women (1931, essays)

No Swank (1934, essays)

Puzzled America (1935, essays)

A Writer's Conception of Realism (1939, essays)

Home Town (1940, photographs and commentary)

If man doesn’t delight in himself and the force in him and feel that he and it are wonders, how is all life to become important to him?

Anderson wrote volumes of poetry, essays, memoirs and short stories, but will always be remembered as the author of the seminal collection Winesburg, Ohio. The small town of Winesburg is the setting for a series of interrelated stories told to protagonist George Willard, who, like a lot of his friends and neighbors and acquaintances, feels a suppressed desire for a better life. Though the book was published as a short story collection, many consider it one of the greatest American novels, and literary heavyweights such as Phillip Roth and Henry Miller have given nods to its influence in their own work. Anderson’s first novel, Windy McPherson’s Son, is the story of an Iowa newsboy who makes his fortune in Chicago, and in it Anderson clearly drew from his own Chicago experiences, as he did in his second novel, Marching Men. Anderson’s Chicago rooming house occupants were the models for the characters in Winesburg. Chicago was a magnet that kept pulling Anderson back—he did factory work in the city as a young adult; returned as a successful copywriter several years later; and came back after a nervous breakdown to begin work as a serious writer.

Margaret Anderson

November 24, 1886 – October 18, 1973

Inducted in 2014

Selected Works

My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography (1930)

The Fiery Fountains: The Autobiography: Continuation and Crisis to 1950 (1951)

The Little Review Anthology, Hermitage House (1953)

Margaret C. Anderson Correspondence with Ben and Rose Caylor Hecht (1959)

The Strange Necessity: The Autobiography (1962)

The Unknowable Gurdjieff, memoir, dedicated to Jane Heap (1962)

Forbidden Fires, part memoir, part novel, Ed. by Mathilda M. Hills (1996)

I felt an incredible resentment against God or man for having imposed an incredible stupidity upon the world. And the world had accepted it —

With a finishing school education and a resentment against her bourgeois upbringing, Margaret Anderson migrated from Indianapolis to Chicago in the fall of 1908 to take work as a reviewer for the religious weekly The Continent. She arrived in the city at the start of the Chicago Literary Renaissance, and in March 1914 founded the literary magazine The Little Review, which became a force in the American and European literary landscapes. Anderson made it clear from the beginning that her magazine “would make no compromises with public taste,” and its debut issue set the tone: articles on psychoanalysis, feminism and Nietzche, among others. Funding was difficult, especially since Anderson held high editorial standards (she rejected F. Scott Fizgerald because he was too popular), and for a half-year in 1914 she and her staff, unable to pay rent on her residence or office space, camped on the shores of Lake Michigan. Anderson, whose stated objective was to produce fresh and intelligent music art, drama and life from the artist’s point of view, personally marketed the magazine throughout the United States, her strategy to draw a big readership while spurning the highbrow literary establishment. Though the Little Review never paid contributors, it offered a home to stories, poetry and art considered too unconventional to place nearly anywhere else, much less mainstream publications; these orphans included important works by the likes of Wyndham Lewis, James Joyce and Ezra Pound, notably Ulysses, which in 1918 was featured in serialized form and subsequently brought the wrath of the U.S. Postal and legal systems down upon Anderson. Other notable contributors to the magazine included T.S. Eliot, Ben Hecht, Amy Lowell, Vachel Lindsay, Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandburg and Ford Madux Ford. Over the years, Little Review supported anarchism and alternative lifestyles (Anderson was a lesbian), among other unpopular points of view. The magazine’s life spanned from 1914 until 1929, a month before the American stock market crash, and almost perfectly spanned the years of the “Lost Generation” while playing a major part in shaping American modernism.

Nelson Algren

March 28, 1909 – May 9, 1981

Inducted in 2010


Somebody in Boots (1935)

Never Come Morning (1942)

The Neon Wilderness (1947)

The Man with the Golden Arm (1949)

Chicago: City on the Make (1951)

A Walk on the Wild Side (1956)

Nelson Algren's Own Book of Lonesome Monsters (1962)

Who Lost an American? (1963)

Conversations with Nelson Algren (1964)

Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway All the Way (1965)

The Last Carousel (1973)

The Devil's Stocking (1983)

America Eats (1992)

He Swung and He Missed (1993)

The Texas Stories of Nelson Algren (1994)

Nonconformity (1996)

Notes From a Sea Diary & Who Lost an American (2009)

Loving Chicago is like loving a woman
with a broken nose.

Algren won the first National Book Award in 1950 for The Man with the Golden Arm, a novel set on Chicago’s Northwest Side and, like much of his work, concerned with the city’s quasi-criminal underbelly. Algren lived much of his life in and around Chicago’s Polish Triangle and was remembered there with a fountain dedicated in his name and inscribed with a quote from one of his essays in Chicago: City on the Make. Though Algren’s reputation is built around a small output of novels, stories and essays, and though he was often ignored in mainstream literary circles, he was elected to the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters. There is an annual short story contest named in Algren’s memory, and the Nelson Algren committee sponsors an annual birthday party for him.

Jane Addams

September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935

Inducted in 2012


A Belated Industry The American Journal of Sociology (1896)

The subjective value of a social settlement (1892)

Hull-House Maps and Papers: A Presentation of Nationalities and Wages in a Congested District of Chicago, Together with Comments and Essays on Problems Growing Out of the Social Conditions (1896)

“Ethical Survivals in Municipal Corruption,” International Journal of Ethics (1898)

“Trades Unions and Public Duty,” The American Journal of Sociology (1899)

“The Subtle Problems of Charity,” The Atlantic Monthly (1899)

Democracy and Social Ethics (1902)

Child labor (1905)

“Problems of Municipal Administration,” The American Journal of Sociology (1905)

“Child Labor Legislation: A Requisite for Industrial Efficiency,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1905)

The operation of the Illinois child labor law, (1906)

Newer Ideals of Peace (1906)

National protection for children (1907)

The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909)

Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes, (1910)

A new conscience and an ancient evil (1912)

With Balch, Emily Greene; and Hamilton, Alice. Women at the Hague: The International Congress of Women and Its Results. (1915)

The Long Road of Woman's Memory (1916)

Peace and Bread in Time of War 1922

The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, the Illinois native used many methods to enact social change, including the written word. She wrote, in biographies, essays, published speeches and memoirs, on subjects ranging from politics to social ethics to war. Her autobiography Twenty Years at Hull-House is an ambitious documentation of her work founding America’s best known settlement house, and contains the ideas embodied in her struggle to achieve social justice.

Saul Bellow

June 10, 1915 – April 5, 2005

Inducted in 2010

Novels and Novellas

Dangling Man (1944)

The Victim (1947)

The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

Seize the Day (1956)

Henderson the Rain King (1959)

Herzog (1964)

Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970)

Humboldt's Gift (1975)

The Dean's December (1982)

More Die of Heartbreak (1987)

A Theft (1989)

The Bellarosa Connection (1989)

The Actual (1997)

Ravelstein (2000)

Short Story Collections

Mosby's Memoirs (1968)

Him with His Foot in His Mouth (1984)

Something to Remember Me By: Three Tale (1991)

Collected Stories (2001)


The Last Analysis (1965)


To Jerusalem and Back (1976), memoir

It All Adds Up (1994), essay collection

Saul Bellow: Letters, edited by Benjamin Taylor (2010)

There Is Simply Too Much to Think About (Viking, 2015), collected non-fiction

We are always looking for the book it is
necessary to read next.

A winner of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, three National Book Awards and the National Medal of Honor, Saul Bellow was a long-time resident and chronicler of Chicago. The Adventures of Augie March is essentially a realistic fictional rendering of Bellow’s own childhood in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, where he was immersed in an immigrant neighborhood bubbling with a hodgepodge of European languages, cultures and customs that included a population of more than 100,000 Jewish residents. Bellow’s first novel, Dangling Man, which he completed while serving as a Merchant Marine in World War II, revolves around a young Chicago man waiting to be drafted. Herzog, Humboldt’s Gift, A Dean’s December, The Actual and Ravelstein all concern Chicago characters and places, and often Bellow drew from early memories to render his social settings. In the Paris Review, Bellow said, “I really do see those Chicago environments as I represent them. They suggest their own style of presentation. I elaborate it.” Bellow attended Tuley High School, and then Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. In the 1930s, Bellow was a part of the Works Progress Administration’s Writer’s Project. In 1962, he returned to Chicago to be a professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago; he remained part of the faculty more than 30 years. Ravelstein revolves around two University of Chicago professors, one of whom is widely acknowledged to be based on Bellow’s colleague Allan Bloom. Chicago designated the 2600-block of West Augusta “Saul Bellow Way” in a 2012 ceremony. He was elected into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2010.

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
641 W. Lake Street, Suite #200, Chicago, IL 60661
773.414.2603 © 2019 Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Hannah Jennings Design