Historic Chicago in Bright and Distant Shores: Background information when reading Bright and Distant Shores

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Bright and Distant Shores

A Novel

by Dominic Smith

Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith
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  • Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Beverly Melven

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Historic Chicago in Bright and Distant Shores

Print Review

In Bright and Distant Shores, Dominic Smith references some of the historic people and events that helped shape Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. Read on for more information about these fascinating institutions:

  • Hull House - a resource for new immigrants to the U.S. established by two women in 1889. They offered a nursery, classes in English, technical skills, and other services to help immigrants be successful in their new country. (In Bright and Distant Shores, Adelaide volunteers here).

  • Field Museum - originally called the Columbian Museum of Chicago, it was established as a result of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 (where Owen and Adelaide first meet). Exhibits from the fair were given a permanent residence, and the museum grew from there.

  • World's Columbian Exposition - an event to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in the New World (though held a year late, in 1893). Artifacts and native peoples were brought in for display.

  • Franz Boas (bow-az) - one of the biggest names in American Anthropology who, in Smith's novel, works with Adelaide at the Fielding Museum.

  • George Dorsey - also an anthropologist in Chicago in the early to mid 1900s. The events referred to in the text (him being arrested for grave-robbing, and him testifying in court cases) are historically accurate, and demonstrate the wide range of professional standards in the field of anthropology in its formative years.

  • The Panic of 1893 - the largest stock market crash until the Great Depression of 1929. Hale Gray talks about overcoming the negative economic effects of this and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, still a factor 20 years later. (To learn more about the Great Chicago Fire, read BookBrowse's "Beyond the Book" feature on the topic.)


Victorians and Their Collections

For more information on the turn-of the-century obsession with collecting artifacts, read BookBrowse's "Beyond the Book" feature entitled, "Victorians and Their Collections".

Article by Beverly Melven

This article is from the November 17, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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