Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Rich Map : Prairie Avenue
Worlds of Prairie Avenue (Essay)  |  Prairie Avenue Elite in 1886 (Map)  |  Prairie Avenue Gallery  |  Neighborhood Change, 1853-2003 (Essay)  |  Prairie Avenue, 1853-2003 (Map)
Rich Map
Prarie Avenue
Prairie Avenue Gallery
Working on Prairie Avenue
Town Building
The Reach of Prairie Avenue Businesses
Prairie Avenue Politics
Homes Away From Home
Prairie Ave Gallery : Philanthropies

O. W. Clapp at the Borrowed Time Club, 1914

When retired commission merchant O. W. Clapp presented his remembrances of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and its aftermath to the 135 members of Oak Park's Borrowed Time Club in 1914, all of its members must have had some personal recollection of the events he described. To join the club, a member had to have reached the age of "three score and ten." Fewer probably knew how Mayor Roswell B. Mason had asked Clapp to coordinate relief efforts and the distribution of the aid pouring into the city from all over the world. His leadership was short-lived. By the end of October, the Relief and Aid Society, dominated by many of his business associates and neighbors, assumed control and Clapp turned to rebuilding his own business that was destroyed by the fire.

See also: Commodities Markets

Illinois Training School for Nurses, 1881-1883

The Illinois Training School for Nurses, the first graduating class of which is pictured here, was established in 1881 to achieve two primary goals. The first was to provide improved patient care, especially for Chicago's neediest citizens. The second was to make nursing a respectable profession for women. Creating the school was not easy as Cook County officials and others inside the medical establishment fought the notion of women nurses. Spearheaded by Sarah Hackett Stevenson, M. D. Lucy Flowers, and many of the city's socially prominent women, including Henriette Greenebaum Frank, who served as the school's secretary for over thirty years, the school was highly successful, drawing student nurses from around the Midwest who met the admissions standards and who promised to spend at least one year practicing at Cook County Hospital and another year in other assigned environments.

See also: Baths, Public

John G. Shortall, "Child Saving Work of the Humane Societies," 1897

John G. Shortall, one of the founders of Chicago Title & Trust, was also a driving force in the creation of the American Humane Society. Chicago, as a center of the meatpacking industry, was also an early center for the humane treatment of animals. In 1869, Chicagoans including Shortall created the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Eight years later, Shortall called for a convention of local and state societies to form a national organization that would have enough political strength to lobby Congress "to protect animals in transit from the West to the East." Two years later, the Illinois Humane Society extended its reach to include abandoned, neglected, and abused children in the absence of any other secular organization to care for them. In this speech Shortall presented in Toronto in 1907, he outlines the reach of those child-saving activities.

See also: Juvenile Justice Reform

Evening Classes, Armour Institute of Technology, 1906-1907

In 1874, Joseph Armour helped launch Plymouth Congregational Church's mission at 31st and State Streets. When he died in 1881, his estate included $100,000 for the operation of a Sunday School there, a sum matched by his brother Philip D. Armour. To meet the needs of the mission's rapidly growing membership, staff member Julia A. Beveridge began offering training classes to help them find jobs. When Plymouth's minister, Frank W. Gunsaulus, announced that with a million dollars he would build a school to train people to help themselves, Philip Armour pledged the money and, in 1892, hired Gunsaulus to be the first president of Armour Institute of Technology, located at 33rd Street and Armour Avenue. Using equipment previously displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition, the school expanded its offerings and, as this announcement indicates, began offering night school courses for working Chicagoans.

See also: Douglas; Illinois Institute of Technology