Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications that Shaped the City and its Image

Dublin Core


Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications that Shaped the City and its Image


Caxton Club


London: University of Chicago Press



Caxton Club Member Contributions Item Type Metadata

Brief Notes on Book

Special presentation copy with two tipped-in leaves of signatures of Club members.


Chicago by the Book is an exemplar of what we might call canonical bibliography: it aims to “define the city [of Chicago] and its image” through the careful selection and presentation of 101 publications about the city’s history, culture, literature, and environment. Its 101 entries each include an interpretive essay—mostly written by Caxton Club members—and photographs of the item. The coverage ranges chronologically from 1844 (Juliette Kinzie’s Narrative of the Massacre at Chicago) to 2015 (Sara Paretsky’s Brush Back), and includes formats from sheet music to periodicals to city planning documents to photo books. The design, layout, typography, and photography of Chicago by the Book are exceptional, and form a very pleasing object for frequent perusal. The topic can spark countless discussions—about particular works, but also about what’s included and what’s missing, a large part of the fun of any selective bibliography. It also works very well as a collecting guide. I own two copies of the book, but am most fond of this copy, the second I received. It was given to me at a Caxton Club dinner at which I spoke, signed by the attendees. Beyond this copy’s personal significance to me, I am very pleased to have the book in my collection since it complements my interests in Chicago literature, the cultures of the Midwest, bibliography, and, of course, the Caxton Club. While my other copy resides in my office as a valued reference tool, this copy has pride of place on my home bookshelves.




Caxton Club, “Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications that Shaped the City and its Image,” Caxton Club Exhibits, accessed May 15, 2021,