Category Archives: biography

The Railsplitter always remains newsworthy. Perhaps you remember the recent Lincoln-related crime wave in Kankakee, Illinois, where a thief or thieves took a plaster sculpture of Abraham Lincoln’ hand. Let’s go to local reaction, as reported in the January 3, 2016 … Continue reading

We are now three years and one day removed from this unforgettable event: Diaper-Wearing Service Kangaroo Kicked Out of Wisconsin McDonald’s You know who else liked kangaroos? P.T. Barnum. You know who publishes his every-word-guaranteed-to-be-true* autobiography? The University of Illinois … Continue reading

Born on January 14, 1963, in Atlanta, Steven Soderbergh found filmmaking in his teens. His Hollywood apprenticeship included work as a cue card holder and a director of concert films. In 1986, his film Sex, Lies, and Videotape helped launch the surge … Continue reading

During the holiday break, we received the sad news that bluegrass pioneer Curly Seckler had passed away at the age of 98. “The greatest tenor singer of all time,” said Marty Stuart, and indeed Seckler’s vocal and mandolin work with the … Continue reading

One hundred-and-one years ago, Francis Albert Sinatra entered the world in Hoboken, New Jersey. He proceeded to live one of the more completely lived lives this side of Casanova. Though foiled by television, Sinatra otherwise thrived across mass media, earning love … Continue reading

Seven-year-old Jesse W. Weik was in the crowd when Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train passed through Indianapolis on its way to Springfield. Weik’s father, an immigrant baker and grocer, lifted his son to see the late president’s body. Years later, the … Continue reading

This week marks the anniversary of the death (?) of Elvis Presley, a transformative cultural figure of the twentieth or any other century. If you have memories of that afternoon in 1977, you perhaps recall what you were doing when news of … Continue reading

Comrades, The Press has asked me, The Bolshevik, to pause from my advice column to fill in with the popular Backlist Bop feature. And good timing it is, for today the roulette wheel of UIP books stops on Radical Studies. … Continue reading

He fought for his country at a time when Native Americans still played a major role in New York’s military conflicts. He died when film could be taken of his funeral. On May 13, 1905, the War of 1812 passed finally out of memory, … Continue reading

Today marks the birthday of famed sculptor Lorado Taft, born in 1860 in Elmwood, Illinois. A graduate of the Illinois Industrial University—forerunner of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Taft studied in France before returning to Chicago to make his reputation and … Continue reading