Memorial Day, 1918

Clyde Todd stood on the deck of the ship, the great vessel leaning and shuddering in preparation for its departure from the city of Bordeaux, France. He was anxious to watch it all shrink into the distance, until it was barely a speck on the horizon. He hoped he wouldn’t be the only one to cheer when it disappeared behind him. It was Christmas Day, 1918, the sun was finally shining after weeks of downpour, and the 6th Marine Regiment was heading home.

Clyde Todd, Class of 1920 Composite

Clyde Todd, Class of 1920 Composite

The following spring, Todd wrote about his military service for the 1919 issue of The Transcript. He began by describing the feeling of returning to law school after the war, of the difficulty in believing that his military service had been anything more than a vivid dream. “I assure you when we enter the halls…there is a feeling which to me is much the same as that which I always imagined must have come to Rip Van Winkle, when he returned after his years of absence from society,” he wrote. “Many of our experiences are hard now to believe as actualities. Although you naturally refrain from condemning your own eyes, yet often you wonder if they were not deceiving you.”

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1918, Todd was far from home, marching with his regiment into the historic city of Verdun. For months, they had been moving through a string of towns in central and eastern France, growing ever closer to the violence and threat of the enemy. The city had been mightily defended by the French through almost a year and a half of bloody attacks by German troops . By the fall of 1917, the German offensive had been reduced, and American troops began to move into the area. Though he acknowledged that the bloodiest fighting in the city had been over for some time, he noted that holding the area was no easy task. “Coming here for the first time we looked upon our experience as severe hardships…[O]ur experience here for about seven weeks served as a training to prepare us for the test which we were to stand later.” The test came at the end of May. A small celebration of the Memorial Day holiday came to a halt when orders came from the command at Chateau Thierry, an area just under 40 miles from Paris, which German forces were attempting to enter. The order, blunt and chilling, tore through the regiment and sent 30,000 men toward the front lines: “For God’s sake, send troops.”

The entire division rode in a long line through town after town, mile after mile, on the backs of trucks. Through the first several small towns, the trucks slowed to allow crowds of people to part in the streets. “The people had been cheering as we passed all day long, but it was here in Meaux where the streets were lined with women and children that we got the heartiest welcome,” Todd wrote. “Flowers were thrown to us as we passed and from their generosity it seemed they must have had an endless supply.” The city of Meux was a mere 15 miles from the fighting at Chateau Thierry, and it was in these last few miles of the journey that the mood changed dramatically. “It was about two o’clock in the afternoon that we began to meet old men, women and children; babies carried in their mothers’ arms and all they had in the world was on their backs, traveling those dusty, hot roads…Oftentimes, those women with tears in their eyes would look up at us, with a ray of hope coming through their tears…It was on these last kilometers that we experienced that which made us a fighting unit and a formidable foe for the enemy.” The soldiers resolved, some of them aloud, to beat the German forces or die trying.

Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiment arriving in France shortly before the battle of Belleau Wood. (Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines)

Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiment arriving in France shortly before the battle of Belleau Wood. (Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines)

Over the rocky, hilly terrain of the area, through the thick underbrush and timber forests, the German army had advanced. The 7th French Army Corp had fought for weeks under constant, heavy fire, suffering many casualties, to hold the line against the advance of the enemy. On the evening of June 1, 1918, German forces managed to push through the French lines, and Todd’s regiment marched 6 miles and closed the gap by dawn. By the afternoon of June 3, the German advance on the cities of Marigny and Lucy through Belleau Wood was halted by Marines who bravely held their positions in a grain field until the enemy was within 100 yards. With the enemy now enclosed in Belleau Wood, Todd’s regiment charged forward into the darkness of the woods, where the German guns were well-camouflaged and took down nearly 75% of French and American forces. For days, Todd and his remaining fellow soldiers hid in shallow trenches, holding position. They waited, bombardments and bullets cracking overhead, until June 11, when their ranks were replaced. They pushed forward and finally cleared the woods on June 28.

Ruins of a town near Belleau Woods.

Ruins of a town near Belleau Woods.

In the days that followed, Todd marched and fought his way through small towns and crawled through wheat fields. He lost many comrades during this time, and saw much destruction. “In Lucy,” he wrote, “when we left there the only sign of life was one old hen…Many of our comrades lost their lives in this town.” He saw fellow soldiers fall and narrowly escaped the same fate as they advanced through Boureches, Vaux, and Louy. “I was one of a party of six…one night about eleven o’clock and a shell killed four of our party at a well after water. It was a common thing for a man to go out for necessaries and be killed.” Finally, by the end of July 1918, German forces were retreating and Todd’s division left the area, “as barren as if a fire had gone through it.”

"Teufelhunden," Recruiting poster by Charles B. Falls

Teufelhunden,” recruiting poster by Charles B. Falls

Through the fall of 1918, Todd’s division traveled down the line as a shock unit. They took part in the fighting near Soissons in late July, St. Mihiel in September, on the Champagne front in October, and the Argonne Forest in November. By December, the second division’s casualties were the heaviest in the American Expeditionary Forces, with 23,491 lives lost. Decorations awarded for unusual acts of bravery and heroism, at 1,221, outnumbered those awarded to any other division. Todd’s brigade was awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm, the highest honors to be awarded to a unit. After the Battle of Belleau Wood, the German press termed them the “Devil Dogs of America,” a name they proudly accepted as an honor.

In 1919, Clyde Todd wandered the halls of Chicago-Kent as if he were only half experiencing it, as if a part of himself had been left behind in the brush in the Belleau Wood, and another part of himself had never left law school. In his account of his experiences during the war, he describes an almost surreal hellscape, almost too frightening to believe. Still, he felt pride in his service to his country, writing that “We are proud to have taken part in this great war the way in which we did, and I assure you life has a different aspect to us. We realize we have been through hell as every other man does who had the experience of the war.”

97 years after one of our students gathered his courage and marched directly into one of the most violent battles of World War I, we honor and remember those who did not come home, which included many of our own students and alumni. Todd, upon his return, urged the community to take the Allied victory as an opportunity to support one another:

“It is my earnest hope that the boys will work together as they have fought, and enjoy the fruit of victory as we shared the hell in battle. And the men of the Kent College of Law and Alumni of this school, many of you who have taken part directly in this great task and others who have lended a hand, and their support, with our comrades in arms, can weld a great influence on the future of the world and this great republic, so that we and our children may enjoy the right for which many of us fought and gave our blood and lives.”

To read the entire letter, “The Devil Dogs,” download the Military section of the 1919 Transcript. For more letters from Chicago-Kent students and alumni in active service, see the Military section of the 1918 Transcript.

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High Adventure: Chicago-Kent’s World Traveler

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue  6, 1916.  AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 3, 1916. AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

The end of summer 1916 was a fine and peaceful introduction to the oncoming fall weather. The hot days of July were cooling to an agreeable 78 degrees in the August afternoon, and while corn farmers struggled with poor returns in the dry weather, the city folk breathed a sigh of relief as the temperature finally became livable. Of course, none of these concerns or comforts were shared by 1916 Chicago-Kent graduate and former public speaking instructor, Lowell Thomas. The August 1, 1916 issue of the Chicago-Kent Bulletin reported that Thomas was spending the summer in Alaska, collecting material for his travelogues.

Lowell Thomas in Alaska filming the Klondike River; 1916. Marist College B&W photo 1516.10

Lowell Thomas in Alaska filming the Klondike River; 1916. Marist College B&W photo 1516.10

Lowell Jackson Thomas, born in 1892 in Ohio, was never one to rest after a major accomplishment. At the age of 17, he was already a budding journalist, and had interviewed statesman and orator William Jennings Bryan, as well as Clarence Darrow, one of America’s leading labor attorneys, before even finishing high school. By 1911, he had graduated from Valparaiso University with degrees in education and science. Upon the encouragement of his father, who tutored him in elocution, he pursued a position as an instructor in public speaking at Chicago-Kent, which he held from 1912-1914, while also working as a reporter for the Chicago Journal. In 1914, still a young reporter, Thomas interviewed Booker T. Washington and covered the sinking of the Eastland in the Chicago River, but became known for publishing an exposé on con man Carlton Hudson, who skipped bail in New York years earlier only to set himself up as a reputable businessman in Chicago to reprise his swindling ways. Upon receiving a law degree from Chicago-Kent in 1916, one might assume that Thomas would take some time off before beginning his new position as public speaking instructor at Princeton. Instead, he headed to Alaska to exercise his creative mind by putting together a film about the Klondike Gold Rush, and financed the trip and the filming with a series of articles on the wonders of rail travel.

Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Vol. 1, Issue 6

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Vol. 1, Issue 6, 1916. AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

By the time he wrapped up filming and began his new job (and the pursuit of another degree) at Princeton, Thomas had caught the eye of many important people. It was no wonder: at the age of 23, Thomas had already worked as an editor or reporter on six major newspapers, collected five university degrees, and taught at Princeton in a role he helped to create. The December 1916 issue of the Chicago-Kent Bulletin announced with pride that Thomas had been tapped to direct the speakers’ bureau for Mayor Mitchell of New York’s re-election campaign. Another job offer came swiftly, in early 1917, and this one from higher up: Franklin Lane, President Wilson’s Secretary of the Interior, hired Thomas to direct a national program, “See America First.” It was an offer that was rescinded just as quickly as it materialized, however. A month after the program began, the United States declared war on Germany. The cancellation of the promotional campaign saw the birth of a new opportunity, and it was decided that there was no one better than Lowell Thomas to run the campaign to change the minds of Americans toward support of the United States’ involvement in the war. Thomas insisted that the campaign would be a greater success if it was filmed, rather than produced in written format for the American people. The government, however, did not agree, and refused to provide a filming budget. Fortunately, Thomas was able to raise the $100,000 himself (the equivalent of over $1 million today) with the help of the many Chicago businessmen who benefited from his exposé on Hudson. With his new bride Frances Ryan, cameraman Harry Chase, and filming equipment, Lowell Thomas headed for Europe. He formed a company, Thomas Travelogues, and began to sign his letters “Lowell Thomas, Propagandist.”

T.E. Lawrence & Lowell Thomas from London session portraits; Marist College, glass plate 1270.58

Lowell Thomas & T.E. Lawrence from London session portraits; Marist College, glass plate 1270.58

The trenches of the Western Front were a dismal, uninspiring place, where Thomas and Chase found nothing to show the American public that would win any enthusiasm. The pair then visited Italy, where Thomas became interested in the campaign against Palestine. He obtained the permission of the British Foreign Office to travel to Jerusalem, and arrived just in time for the British to take control of the area from the Ottoman Empire. Shortly after, he met T.E. Lawrence, an Irish-English officer and former archaeologist who donned Arab robes and led Arab irregulars and forces in a revolt against the Turks. Thomas and Chase spent weeks following the dashing and photogenic Lawrence through the desert, and collected hundreds of still images and miles of 35mm films of Lawrence and the Arab forces. These images and films would become part of a multimedia show titled “With Lawrence in Arabia,” which traveled across America and Britain. The show was unique in that it featured Lawrence standing in front of a screen, narrating the events depicted in photos and short films. Though it is now considered to be the first of its kind, the documentary was widely panned, as the war had just ended and not only was Thomas’ job as propagandist at an end, nobody seemed interested in talking about the war in any capacity. There seemed to be something, however, in the part of the story about that gallant blue-eyed Oxford graduate, the gentleman who had led a revolt in the desert, and Lowell Thomas was there to tell it. By 1923, Thomas and Chase were perhaps the two best known international journalists, and were permitted to film in Afghanistan. In 1924, Thomas wrote the first of more than 50 books he would write in his lifetime, With Lawrence in Arabia.

Silent footage filmed by Thomas and Chase in 1917.

Lowell Thomas at microphone; Marist College B&W photo 1522.11.b.

Lowell Thomas at microphone; Marist College B&W photo 1522.11.b.

In 1925, Lowell Thomas tried his hand at radio broadcasting, and found yet another medium in which he could excel. By 1930, he was the host of the nation’s first nightly news program, “Lowell Thomas and the News” (or “Nightly News”). As the United States struggled through the Great Depression, Thomas thought it important to begin and end his broadcast on a light note by stating a friendly “Good evening, everybody” at the beginning of the newscast, and closing with “So long until tomorrow.” Since much of the broadcast was bad news, Thomas ended each episode with a light human interest story. The practices of trademark opening and closing lines, and of ending segments on a lighter note, began with Thomas and continue in broadcast news today. With his background in reporting and public speaking, Thomas seemed made for the role of the nation’s first broadcast news reporter, but he didn’t stop there. He also applied his experience in narrating on-screen images to rapt American audiences by lending his voice to Fox Movietone and American Newsreel Company newsreels.

Movietone newsreel, “The Battle of Britain,” narrated by Lowell Thomas, 1940.

Lowell Thomas with FDR (1); Marist College colored glass lantern slide 1428.35.

Lowell Thomas with FDR (1); Marist College colored glass lantern slide 1428.35.

In the 1930s, Thomas wrote, produced, narrated, and even appeared in news summaries twice each week, which were then broadcast in theaters across America. In 1939, he began the first televised nightly news broadcast, which was cancelled only a year later due to World War II. Thomas declined other offers to do television news with the hopes of traveling to Europe to cover the events of the war in person. However, he was refused a passport by President Franklin Roosevelt, who considered the front too dangerous to risk the loss of America’s most trusted news anchor. It’s possible that he also did not want to put his friend and neighbor at risk: Thomas’ baseball club, “The Nine Old Men”, which played benefit games to support causes across the country, annually defeated the President’s team of White House correspondents, “The Purgers.” Thomas was not allowed to travel until February of 1945, when he visited Berlin, India, China, and the Pacific in a matter of months, reporting riveting an interesting stories on what he found along the way.

Lowell Thomas & Lowell Thomas Jr.  broadcasting by battery from Tibet; Marist College B&W photo.

Lowell Thomas & Lowell Thomas Jr. broadcasting by battery from Tibet; Marist College B&W photo.

Ever an adventurer and documentarian, Thomas traveled to Tibet with his son, Lowell, Jr., in 1949, where they met the Dalai Lama and produced the first ever remote battery-powered broadcasts for CBS. He produced travel films for his own production company, Cinerama Productions. He established himself as an independent contractor and became a media tycoon in short order by forming several broadcast stations, Capital Cities, which acquired ABC in 1980. From 1955 to 1958, he produced the series “High Adventure” for CBS, and in 1963 took such advantage of jet travel that he crossed all 24 time zones twice, continued radio and television writing and producing, and kept speaking engagements and ski trips around the world for nearly eight weeks, before finally collapsing from jet lag. In April of the following year, Thomas continued to multi-task when he wrote to Chicago-Kent President Douglas Schwantes and Dean William Zacharias to kindly thank them and accept the honorary Doctor of Laws he was to receive at the convocation ceremony later that year, including that he “might have another engagement that I thought I might as well take care of at the same time.” He returned to visit Chicago-Kent once more, for the IIT Annual Reunion in 1974, where he received a professional achievement award. He told a reporter from the Chicago Tribune “I’m planning to retire at the age of 100. I’ve always worked around the clock, ever since my days in Chicago. I’m on a merry-go-round that I don’t think I’ll ever get off.”

Detail, Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Lowell Thomas bid his final on-air “so long” on May 14, 1976, at the age of 84. Though it was to be his last broadcast, he insisted that he would not retire, and changed his parting line to “So long…for now.” Five years later, in 1981, Thomas passed away in his home in Pawling, New York, after returning from a trip to Colorado, where he had given a speech and attended a corporate board meeting. After 46 years in broadcasting, countless firsts, and a life that can only be described as both hectic and spectacular, Lowell Thomas left the world he so loved to travel and experience. His outlook on life was best captured in his response to an interview question in 1976 posed by a Chicago Tribune reporter, who asked him which had been the best years of his life. “The best years of my life,” he said, “have been all of my years.”



The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, No. 1, Issue 3 (August 1916). The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, AC025, Box 1. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, No. 1, Issue 6 (December 1916). The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, AC025, Box 1. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Holmberg, David. “Thomas Returns to Alma Mater.” Chicago Tribune, 19 May 1974: 7.

Gorner, Peter. “84 is only a number if you happen to be Lowell Thomas.” Chicago Tribune, 8 December 1976: A1.

Letter from Lowell Thomas to E. Douglas Schwantes and William F. Zacharias. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia: Making a Legend, Creating History. CLIO online exhibit:

“Lowell Thomas Dies at 89.” Chicago Tribune, 30 August 1981: B1.

Lowell Thomas Papers, Marist College Archives and Special Collections:

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ABA Techshow Recap: The importance of online security

We’re back from the ABA Techshow, which is always a great opportunity to learn about the state of legal technology today.  The show was packed with lawyers from all kinds of law firms who came to learn about the latest technologies to improve efficiency, better market their practices, and engage juries in the courtroom.

This year, many sessions addressed security and technology. Topics ranged from encrypting documents, to password best practices, to the ethics of cloud computing.  Lawyers are increasingly concerned with data security because they have a responsibility to protect client data and confidentiality (not to mention that clients now often ask their lawyers undertake specific security measures to protect their information).

At first, it may seem that following all of the practices suggested during the sessions would be daunting.  Lawyers should use encryption, but does that mean they are expected to encrypt all of their email?  Passwords must be secure, but do lawyers need to generate completely random passwords for each account?  Because cloud services can be hacked, should lawyers avoid storing documents on any internet-based service altogether?

But not only did the presenters at the Techshow address these concerns, they also provided practical solutions.  To quote one of the presenters, ”Security shouldn’t be so tight that the lawyer cannot practice law.”

Lawyers aren’t expected to be perfect – but they are expected to take reasonable measures to protect their law firm’s data and client privacy.  For example, there are many emails that won’t require encryption, but lawyers should learn what encryption is and should consider encrypting emails about sensitive topics.

Lawyers should avoid bad password practices like using single words or names, but should consider stronger passwords such as using variations of phrases.  And to make reasonable judgments about which documents can safely be stored on the internet — and which documents will require a more secure solution — lawyers should review the terms of service for cloud-based applications (also known as “software as a service” applications, or SaaS).

If you missed this year’s show, there’s always next year.  The next ABA Techshow will be March 17-19, 2016.


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Your summer reading project is here

(c)Flickr user Josue Goge, licensed under Creative Commons

(c)Flickr user Josue Goge, licensed under Creative Commons

The semester is winding down, and you might actually be looking ahead to summer by now.  Summer offers you a great opportunity to catch up on some non-school reading.  Here’s a novel idea (some pun intended): This summer, you can read, or at least start, the American Bar Association’s list of the 25 Greatest Law Novels Ever.  I’ll assume you’ve already read To Kill a Mockingbird, so you really only need to get through the other 24.  If you’re a reader, this gives you a great opportunity to step away from the casebook for a bit.

There are some great books on the ABA’s list, including many classics.  If you’re looking for a literary page-turner, I highly recommend The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.  Maybe this summer is the summer that you finally read Crime and Punishment or Les Miserables.  Or maybe you’ll just take The Firm or A Time to Kill to the beach.  Think how smart you’ll feel when you’re interviewed for a job next fall and you tell them you spent the summer reading Bleak House and Native Son!

Where will you find these books?  The Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, of course!  Our Law and Popular Culture (LPOP) collection includes copies of all 25 novels, plus a lot of other great books and the ABA’s 25 Greatest Legal Movies, which would probably be a less ambitious summer project.

No matter what you’re looking forward to this summer, the library will be open to help you make the most of it, whether it’s the top 25 law novels, a place to study for the bar exam, or research help at your summer job.

Good luck with the end of the semester!

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Recent Faculty Scholarship Display

The IIT Chicago-Kent faculty are a distinguished and diverse group of scholars, teachers, and practitioners. Our professors are situated at the forefront of their fields, and are published consistently in top-ranking law reviews on subjects that span the full spectrum of the law—from U.S. Supreme Court analysis to privacy rights to labor issues to the intersection of law and technology.

The Library has created a display on the 5th floor of the law school containing profiles and examples of their work to highlight recent scholarship produced by our prolific faculty.


The faculty members highlighted in this display have produced important scholarship in their legal specialties and have helped maintain Chicago-Kent’s status as a leader in academic discourse.

Stop by the display case opposite Room 570 (the Game Room) to see the full display!

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Summer and Post-Graduation Access to Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg Law

As summer approaches, many students and soon-to-be graduates wonder whether they will still have access to their favorite subscription databases over the summer.  Here is a summary of the access that will be offered during the summer of 2015:


Continuing students will be able to extend their passwords over the summer for academic purposes, including school work, moot court, unpaid internship/externships, law review, and research assistant positions.  As long as the work is related to school or for school credit, a student can use their Westlaw account.  Students can extend their passwords here.

While students can use their academic accounts for the purposes listed above, if a student will be working for a firm or other organization they should use the Westlaw account provided to them by their employer.

Graduates will also be able to extend their passwords through the end of November for academic purposes and bar examination preparation.  Graduating students can extend their passwords at this page.

Lexis Advance

Continuing students can use their law school LexisNexis ID for academic, professional and non-profit research.  This access will consist of all legal content and news that would otherwise be available during the school year.  Students will have access to this content for unlimited hours-per-week without any special summer registration–your current LexisNexis ID will remain active all summer.

Summer access to Lexis Advance runs from the last day of classes in the Spring to the first day of classes in the Fall. Normal usage restrictions apply outside of these dates (i.e, during the regular semester you cannot use your academic ID for work, unless it’s for an externship for which you receive class credit).

Lexis provides two separate programs for graduating students:

The Graduate ID program provides graduating students a new Lexis Advance ID for bar review and career searching purposes through December 31, 2015.

The ASPIRE program provides all students doing verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work a Lexis Advance ID through September 30, 2016. Students register for both programs using the same form, located here.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law offers students unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law over the summer and for 6 months following graduation.  No special registration is required.


If you have any questions regarding access to any of these services, please feel free to contact our account representatives:

Westlaw – Dennis Elverman (
LexisNexis – Jonnell Simpson (
Bloomberg Law – Valerie Carullo (

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The Land of Books

Century of Progress PosterOn October 28, 1929, a $10 million dollar bond for the Chicago World’s Fair was issued. The following day, the stock market crashed, bringing the Roaring Twenties to a shuddering halt, and plunging America into the depths of the Great Depression. It was in this economic climate that the Century of Progress International Exposition, the World’s Fair of Chicago, opened in May of 1933 along the shores of Lake Michigan. Thousands of visitors flooded the midway to get a glimpse of the future and forget, if only for a day, about the tempestuous present. “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms,” the fair’s motto boasted. Visitors basked in the glow of a giant electric Coca-Cola sign above a rotating lunch counter. Crowds gathered to watch racing champion Harry Hart, “Daredevil of the Race Track,” drive a boxy Chrysler around a 40 degree turn at a terrific 50 miles per hour. The bravest visitors took a spin on the “Skyride,” a slow-moving metal car suspended on cables 628 feet above the ground. With its focus on modern industrial design, new electrical devices, and idealistic interpretations of a healthy and beautiful American future, the Century of Progress International Exposition was a welcome distraction in the gloomy landscape of early 1930s America.

Dedication ceremonies took place in late spring of 1933. On the afternoon of May 6, Mrs. Lennox Lohr broke “a great big bottle of milk over that grand pink confection known as Magic Mountain.” The dedication signified the opening of the Enchanted Island, a section of the fair situated between a lagoon and Lake Michigan, filled to the brim with entertainment for children. Near the Magic Mountain, which doubled as a large slide, was a giant Radio Flyer wagon, a mechanical zoo, a tiny “fairy castle”, a miniature theater featuring plays such as Peter Pan and Cinderella, all encircled by a child-sized locomotive for little passengers.

Illustration of the Enchanted Island of the Chicago World's Fair, 1933

Postcard from the Enchanted Island, “where parents may leave their children.”

Weary parents checked their children into the Enchanted Island for any amount of time from an hour to an entire day. Near the entrance, where youngsters were released to roam free in this mini-Utopia, boys from the Francis Parker School walked back and forth, shifting uncomfortably under the weight of their sandwich boards, which displayed the messages “Follow the Shore to Story Cove and Hear Tales of Many Lands” and “Rest a While at Story Cove with Adventurous Heroes from the Land of Books.” Beyond the roar of car engines, screams of roller coaster riders, and the noise of the crowds shuffling through hundreds of exhibits under the hot sun, there existed a small, quiet room filled with child-sized tables and chairs. The room, known as the Story Cove, was also home to a collection of nearly 1600 children’s books in 17 languages from 57 countries around the world. Sheltered from the sun and insulated from the electric hum of progress booming all around, cooled by the breeze off Lake Michigan, children sat and read from a new library of stories by authors outside the canon of popular American children’s literature.

In the Days of Giants by Abbie Farwell, 1902

In the Days of Giants by Abbie Farwell Brown, 1902

The Story Cove was a project of the Library of International Relations, a small Chicago library with a mission of increasing international understanding, which would one day become a part of Chicago-Kent. Organized in 1932 by Eloise ReQua with funds from the Carnegie Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Library’s first home was a single room provided by the John Crerar Library at the corner of Randolph and Michigan Avenue. The LIR was established as an open-shelf reference collection dealing with international affairs, with a focus on twentieth century events, especially World War I. Documents of the International Labor Office, the Permanent Court of International Justice, and the League of Nations were preserved and made available to the public by Ms. ReQua and fellow librarians. In the spring of 1933, the children’s collection was created with the Century of Progress in mind. “International relations,” Ms. ReQua told the Chicago Tribune, “may seem far removed from a child’s life, but the story book friends of foreign lands give children an understanding and sympathy with other ways and other aspirations, and such an understanding may prove a balance wheel in later years.” For over a year, librarians sent hundreds of letters to publishers around the world requesting books for the Story Cove, so that American children could read a variety of titles, such as The Fat of the Cat and Other Stories by Gottfried Keller of Switzerland, In the Days of Giants by Abbie Farwell Brown from Scandinavia, and Boy of the Desert by Eunice Strong Tietjens of North Africa. They also gathered a small group of Newbery award-winning books, which were hand bound by famous bookbinder Ernst Hertzberg. Their vision was for a collection which would give a wider international view of children’s literature than the average American child was likely to have. They were destined to succeed.

Children in the Story Cove reading room.

Children reading in the Story Cove reading room (image from On the Shelves of the Story Cove, 1934).

When its doors opened to the broader public on May 27, 1933, the Story Cove became an instant favorite. English vice consul Lewis Bernays visited the Story Cove to join in a birthday celebration for King George V. Visiting children from Scotland and Ireland sang traditional songs and performed “the Highland fling.” Children learned Native American stick games and made decorations for the national holidays observed in other lands. Singers, actors, and writers visited the Story Cove and gave special storytelling performances, some of which were broadcast on WGN Radio. Each day featured readings and activities based on international themes, with special storytelling guests on the weekends. The main attraction was, of course, the children’s library, and the many interesting books it held. The Chicago Tribune reported that “[f]air authorities had to enforce strict regulations to keep the little reading room for boys and girls instead of their mothers and fathers.”

Cover of On the Shelves of the Story Cove

On the Shelves of the Story Cove, 1934. Records of the Library of International Relations, AC001, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

In November of 1933, the Fair closed for the winter, but re-opened in May of 1934. The fair closed permanently in the following November, but not before paying its entire debt. In its two year run, the Century of Progress International Exposition had attracted over 48 million visitors and become the first international fair in American history to pay for itself. At the end of 1934, the books of the Story Cove were packed away for storage, the LIR librarians taking a break from the project to re-focus on the Library’s permanent collections. Finally, in May of 1935, the Chicago Tribune reported that “[b]oys and girls who spent long, happy hours the last two summers in the Story Cove at A Century of Progress, now only a memory, will dance with glee this morning when their mothers tell them that again they are to enjoy their little library.” The Chicago chapter of the Red Cross had agreed to set up the children’s reading room in a corner of the Red Cross headquarters at 616 Michigan Avenue, where it became known as the Junior Red Cross Story Cove. In 1983, the Library of International Relations was acquired by the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Today, all that remains of the Story Cove collection of the LIR are archival copies of On the Shelves of the Story Cove, a list of the books featured in the original Story Cove in 1934, produced by LIR librarians in response to the flood of requests from parents and teachers for more information on the titles their children had enjoyed during those two magical summers.

The 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition became known as a “break in the clouds” for many people struggling with the darkness of the Great Depression. Its acknowledgment of a changing world and focus on a brighter, happier future became a beacon around which millions could stand in awe and enjoyment. The creators of the Story Cove extended that sense of wonder and hope for the future by creating a place for children to learn about the world at large, about different cultures and experiences outside of their own. The foreword to On the Shelves of the Story Cove expresses their mission thusly:

“With all the world we wish for the new child, eyes that will see, ears that will hear, hands that will shape the raw materials of the earth into bits of beauty, hearts that will beat with the throbbing currents of the universe…long life with dreams.”



Bennett, James O’Donnell. “Library Solves Queries On Far Parts Of Globe.” Chicago Tribune, 2 Sept. 1934: 5.
Cass, Judith. “Fair Trustees to Arrange Today for Enchanted Island Opening.” Chicago Tribune, 27 Apr. 1933: 13.
Cass, Judith. “Story Cove for Children at Fair.” Chicago Tribune, 26 May 1933: 21.
Cass, Judith. “World’s Fair Story Cove to Be Reopened.” Chicago Tribune, 16 May 1935: 19.
On the Shelves of the Story Cove, Records of the Library of International Relations, AC001, Box 13. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

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ABA Techshow: How Lawyers Really Use Technology

ABA TECHSHOW 2015We’ve all heard that technology is rapidly changing American legal practice — but it’s one thing to read myriad articles about it and another to see this change for yourself.  ABA hosts an annual Techshow in Chicago that provides one of the best opportunities for students to engage with emerging legal technologies hands on.
The Techshow will run from April 16-18 and will feature dozens of one-hour sessions on all kinds of legal technologies.  Topics range from practical tips for using Microsoft Office to digital security to integrating mobile devices into legal practice.  Students can register to attend all of these sessions for only $100 (a great bargain – for some lawyers, the price is over $1050).
Don’t have time to attend all of the sessions?  The free vendor showcase is open on Thursday and Friday. You can stop by at pretty much any time for as long as you’d like.  The Showcase is a great way to learn about new legal technologies and services in an exhibit hall featuring over 100 companies.  You can see live demos of legal tech systems and equipment, not to mention pick up a more than few free pens.  The Techshow is also a good opportunity to learn more about alternative jobs available in the legal tech sector (although job announcements are not traditionally posted at the Techshow).
A couple of us librarians will be in attendance, and we hope to see you there, too!
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The Fight over Pulaski Road, or “What’s in a name?”

A sign for the Pulaski CTA orange line stop

The “Not-Crawford” orange line stop. (c) Flickr user Araceli Arroyo, licensed under Creative Commons

Today is Casimir Pulaski Day.  Illinois schoolchildren can tell you that Pulaski was named after a Polish general who fought in the American Revolutionary War.  People in Chicago should also be able to tell you that it’s celebrated in March and it shuts down an assortment of government offices.  They should also be able to tell you that Pulaski Road is named after Casimir Pulaski.  What they may not be able to tell you is that Chicago residents tore down street signs and sued all the way to the Supreme Court twice to try to block that name.

The road that is now Pulaski Road in Chicago was once Crawford Avenue.  In fact, if you look at a map of Cook County, the same road is still called Crawford in the suburbs.  In 1933, Mayor Edward Kelly renamed Crawford Avenue to honor Casimir Pulaski.  Business owners and residents protested claiming, among other things, that it would be a waste of businesses’ money to have to advertise a new address and a waste of taxpayer money to put up new street signs.  The Circuit Court of Cook County granted the pro-Crawford camp an injunction, keeping the name as Crawford.  The Illinois Appellate Court, in Hagerty v. City of Chicago, 274 Ill.App. 39 (1934), and Illinois Supreme Court, in Hagerty v. City of Chicago, 360 Ill. 97 (1935), held that it was a reasonable exercise of City Council’s legislative power to name a street.  They also held that people don’t have a property right in the name of their street.

So everyone agreed it was Pulaski and got over it?  Not quite.  The pro-Crawford camp tore down street signs, people continued to use Crawford Avenue addresses, and the post office delivered mail to them.  Then, in 1937, the Illinois General Assembly tried to prevent this from happening again.  They passed a law that required a city to change the name of a street upon the petition of 60 percent of the property owners living along that street. Ill.Rev.Stat., chap. 24, par. 65.22 (1937).  In 1938, Crawford’s supporters submitted a petition, but it fell short of the 60% required by law.

Given that it had been a full five years since the name was changed, everyone finally rallied around Pulaski?  Nope.  In June 1948, the self-styled Crawford Avenue Association put together a petition and got barely more than the 60% required.  The City Council received the petition, and a report from the commissioner of public works said that all of the signatures were valid, but did nothing.  The Crawford Avenue Association filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, a legal action that, essentially, tells public officials to do their jobs, demanding that the City Council and various other city officials change the name back to “Crawford Avenue.”  The trial court granted the writ, but the defendants appealed and the pesky question of the name of the road wound up back before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1952.

This time, the Court told the pro-Crawford camp that naming streets is a legislative function and private citizens don’t get to exercise that authority for themselves.  The Court held that the 1937 law allowing 60% of property owners on a street the unbridled authority to change the name of that street, “clearly vests in a group of private citizens an arbitrary discretion of what the law shall be.”  People ex rel. Chicago Dryer Co. v. City of Chicago, 413 Ill. 315, 323-24 (1952).  Therefore, the law was ruled unconstitutional; the 1948 petition no longer mattered, and the road was officially Pulaski Road, nearly 20 years the name was changed.

For further reading, check out the entry “Fight for 40th Street” (yes, the road had a third name even before it was Crawford Avenue) in the Encyclopedia of Chicago, a project of the Chicago History Museum, the Newberry Library, and Northwestern University.

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Librarians in the Classroom

problem solving lectureResearch librarians at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law played key roles in an intensive, seven-day intersession course in January designed to simulate real-life, collaborative work at a busy law firm. The course, Problem Solving Skills for Lawyers, was taught by Professors Katharine Baker and Kari Johnson, and took students through four complex legal problems requiring a mix of written work and presentations on tight deadlines. Continue reading

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