Glessner House

Glessner House Official page of Glessner House. www.glessnerhouse.org
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Christmas Candlelight Tours!!Our popular Christmas Candlelight Tours start this weekend, and many tour times are already...
12/06/2023

Christmas Candlelight Tours!!
Our popular Christmas Candlelight Tours start this weekend, and many tour times are already sold out. One-hour tours are offered every 15 minutes on the evenings of December 9-10 and 16-17, starting at 4:30pm. Learn the origin of many of our Christmas customs, hear carols performed on the Glessners’ Steinway, and see the dining table set for the Christmas feast. Enjoy cookies and hot cider after the tour. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs
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Bill Tyre interviewing Patrick Burke, the craftsman of the recreated dining room table and sideboard, tonight at our eve...
12/06/2023

Bill Tyre interviewing Patrick Burke, the craftsman of the recreated dining room table and sideboard, tonight at our event revealing the new additions to the Glessner House collection.

The big reveal of the long awaited recreated dining room table and sideboard by the lead donors Allan and Angie Vagner!!
12/06/2023

The big reveal of the long awaited recreated dining room table and sideboard by the lead donors Allan and Angie Vagner!!

Nice email from the head of the Benjamin Marshall Society  to the group's members about Glessner House being considered ...
12/05/2023

Nice email from the head of the Benjamin Marshall Society to the group's members about Glessner House being considered one of THE most beautiful places in Chicago, according to Geoffrey Baer's Chicago (WTTW) special last night!!!

"Greetings, dear Benjamin Marshall Society friends,
Not to be missed. Chicago's own Geoffrey Baer is premiering the second part of his PBS special on The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago this Monday evening at 7 p.m.

Among the many wonderful places Geoffrey will visit, is the Glessner House above, a treasure trove of Chicago history curated by Director William Tyre. This is a great family event and since we are all family, let's all watch together and join Geoffrey and his guests...(I even saw pre-eminent Preservation architect, Gunny Harboe, in the trailer...).
..

Don't forget this Monday where you can watch Geoffrey with his inimitable and easy style on WTTW and stream on wttw.com/mostbeautiful and the PBS app. Here's a sneak peek!

I'm chilling my glass of Sauternes to accompany my foie gras and truffled popcorn to be ready for Monday evening's show. Join me, won't you?

Jane


www.BenjaminMarshallSociety.org

Benjamin Marshall, maker and shaker of Chicago. Thanks all for helping us to spread the word!"

Our mission is to educate the public on the life, works and legacy of Benjamin Marshall and to revive his dialogue on the role of architecture in a civic and urban environment. DONATE JOIN OUR MAILING LIST Benjamin H. Marshall (1874-1944) Benjamin H. Marshall was a major influence in the architectur...

77 Flavors of Chicago!The popular Chicago history podcast, 77 Flavors of Chicago, recently filmed an episode in the libr...
12/04/2023

77 Flavors of Chicago!
The popular Chicago history podcast, 77 Flavors of Chicago, recently filmed an episode in the library of Glessner House. They interviewed Geoffrey Baer about his “The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago, Part 2” which airs tonight at 7:00pm on WTTW. Be sure to tune into both Baer’s program and the podcast episode, where he discusses his favorite places in Chicago, including Glessner House, where he trained as a docent in 1987.
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Geoffrey Baer premieres part 2 of his popular "The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago" on Monday, December 4 at 7:00pm (wi...
12/03/2023

Geoffrey Baer premieres part 2 of his popular "The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago" on Monday, December 4 at 7:00pm (with a repeat showing immediately following). Tune into to WTTW to explore Chicago's architectural wonders, including Glessner House, where Geoffrey had his start as a docent back in 1987.
https://interactive.wttw.com/most-beautiful-places-in-chicago

This week’s Photo Friday shows one of the many vintage ornaments on our Christmas tree. The brightly colored scrap shows...
12/01/2023

This week’s Photo Friday shows one of the many vintage ornaments on our Christmas tree. The brightly colored scrap shows a traditional late 19th century image of Santa Claus suspended from a tree branch with a loop of silver tinsel wire. Scrap images like this were collected by children after the invention of chromolithography in 1837, and were frequently given away by stores as premiums.

Happy St. Andrew's Day! Frances Glessner's maiden name was Macbeth. Her great-great grandfather, Alexander Macbeth, emig...
11/30/2023

Happy St. Andrew's Day! Frances Glessner's maiden name was Macbeth. Her great-great grandfather, Alexander Macbeth, emigrated from Scotland to America around 1750 and settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Frances Glessner once noted that Shakespeare did her family a great disservice in his play, as the Macbeths were good and honorable people! The image shown is the tartan for the Macbeth clan.

On November 29, 1904, Frances Glessner recorded in her journal that she took her first lesson in silversmithing. Less th...
11/29/2023

On November 29, 1904, Frances Glessner recorded in her journal that she took her first lesson in silversmithing. Less than a year later, she made this lovely salt cellar for her brother, Charles Edgar Macbeth. It was found by a collector in a Seattle-area thrift store in 2019, purchased for $2.00, and traced back to Glessner House based on the inscription “Made for C.E.M. by F.M.G.”

This wonderful complex, designated a Chicago landmark in 1988, stands less than a mile to the west of Glessner House on ...
11/28/2023

This wonderful complex, designated a Chicago landmark in 1988, stands less than a mile to the west of Glessner House on 18th Street. The administration building was completed in 1886, just as construction on Glessner House was beginning.

Our popular Christmas Candlelight Tours are a wonderful way to experience the house and learn how the family celebrated ...
11/27/2023

Our popular Christmas Candlelight Tours are a wonderful way to experience the house and learn how the family celebrated the holiday in the late 19th century. One-hour tours are offered every 15 minutes on the evenings of December 9-10 and 16-17. Learn the origin of many of our Christmas customs, hear carols performed on the Glessners’ Steinway, and see the dining table set for the Christmas feast. Enjoy cookies and hot cider after the tour. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs

11/26/2023

You likely recall that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the most famous reindeer of all. But did you know that Rudolph was born in Chicago? “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is completely a Chicago concoction,” Kori Rumore, a reporter who has covered the topic for the Chicago Tribune, told Chicag...

This week’s Photo Friday celebrates Native American Heritage Day and shows an early 20th century photograph of an Indian...
11/24/2023

This week’s Photo Friday celebrates Native American Heritage Day and shows an early 20th century photograph of an Indian Trail Tree in Glencoe, Illinois. Trees such as this were altered by Native Americans to mark trails, as well as ceremonial and burial sites, water sources, and more. They survived long after the Native Americans were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the first half of the 19th century.

This photograph comes from a book in the Glessner library, "Some Indian Land Marks of the North Shore," published in 1905. Learn more about the Indian Trail Tree Project at https://mountainstewards.org/indian-trail-tree-project/

With this charming postcard from the early 1900s, we extend our wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. We are trul...
11/22/2023

With this charming postcard from the early 1900s, we extend our wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. We are truly thankful for everyone who supports our mission through offering their time, talents, and treasures, allowing us to share this National Historic Landmark home and its stories with an ever-widening audience.

11/22/2023

This 1918 Thanksgiving menu from USS Georgia (BB-15) serves up a unique blend of the familiar and unexpected.

In 1918, bananas were still considered to be an exotic fruit in the United States, and ci**rs, a luxury item typically reserved for officers, were served to the entire crew. The inclusion of these items on the Thanksgiving menu serves to illustrate the special nature of the meal.

Interestingly, just 12 days after the Thanksgiving meal, USS Georgia and the crew began a series of voyages from Virginia to France, aiding in the effort to bring American troops home. Between December 1918 and June 1919, the ship played a vital role in reuniting nearly 6,000 soldiers with their families back in the U.S.

Take a look at how more Thanksgiving meals were celebrated on military bases and aboard Navy ships in our blog: https://s.si.edu/4a0q7PN

On November 21, 1894, Frances Glessner assembled a group of women for the first meeting of her Monday Morning Reading Cl...
11/21/2023

On November 21, 1894, Frances Glessner assembled a group of women for the first meeting of her Monday Morning Reading Class, a tradition that continued for 36 years. In October, we installed a Little Free Library in front of the house, continuing the tradition of focusing on the importance of reading. We are pleased that the library has seen a lot of activity since its installation.

Limited tickets remain for our popular annual Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating Party on Saturday, December 2 from...
11/20/2023

Limited tickets remain for our popular annual Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating Party on Saturday, December 2 from 10:00 to 11:30am. Create a holiday masterpiece to take home – all supplies are included, and no previous decorating experience is necessary! Recommended for ages 3-13, ticket includes one accompanying adult. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/gingerbread-house-decorating-party

Maybe we should get these to sell to honor Frances Glessner.
11/19/2023

Maybe we should get these to sell to honor Frances Glessner.

Mouthwatering pieces of Bumble Bees in dark chocolate. Grab yourself one…or two…three…😋🐝

11/18/2023
This week’s Photo Friday features a pair of shoes believed to have been worn by F***y Glessner for her debut into Chicag...
11/17/2023

This week’s Photo Friday features a pair of shoes believed to have been worn by F***y Glessner for her debut into Chicago society in November 1897. The shoes are made of kid leather, and feature French heels, and satin ribbons to tie them closed. They are displayed in the courtyard guestroom. Photo by Sue Baron.

Don’t miss your last chance in 2023 to explore the lives of the eight live-in servants at Glessner House. The Servants T...
11/15/2023

Don’t miss your last chance in 2023 to explore the lives of the eight live-in servants at Glessner House. The Servants Tour will take place on Saturday, November 25 from 9:30 to 11:30am. Explore the male and female servants’ wings, along with the third floor, basement, and other areas not normally seen on tours. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/november-servants-tour

11/14/2023
Join us online on Saturday, November 18 at 2:00pm CST when Dr. Caroline Ikin will take us on a virtual tour of Standen, ...
11/13/2023

Join us online on Saturday, November 18 at 2:00pm CST when Dr. Caroline Ikin will take us on a virtual tour of Standen, a National Trust property located in West Sussex. The house was designed by Philip Webb in 1892 and contains extraordinary original interiors designed by Morris & Co. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/standen-west-sussex

Tomorrow! Join us in person on Sunday, November 12 at 2:00pm when several collectors of memorabilia from both of Chicago...
11/11/2023

Tomorrow! Join us in person on Sunday, November 12 at 2:00pm when several collectors of memorabilia from both of Chicago’s world’s fairs will exhibit and discuss their favorite objects. Items range from a variety of commemorative items specifically made for fair visitors, to the more unusual one-of-a-kind pieces. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/fair-collectibles

This week’s Photo Friday features a beautiful fireplace tile designed by William De Morgan. The tile is part of a set in...
11/10/2023

This week’s Photo Friday features a beautiful fireplace tile designed by William De Morgan. The tile is part of a set installed on the fireplace in the Glessners’ bedroom in 1887. They were removed by the Glessners’ daughter in 1938 when the house was donated to a school, and were reinstalled on the fireplace five years ago this week.

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson received his first commission on November 6, 1866, for Unity Church in Springfield Mas...
11/07/2023

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson received his first commission on November 6, 1866, for Unity Church in Springfield Massachusetts. By the time he died, less than twenty years later, he was America’s foremost architect. The church was demolished in 1961.

Glessner docents enjoying a Saturday morning with executive director William Tyre at the helm in the coach house, comple...
11/05/2023

Glessner docents enjoying a Saturday morning with executive director William Tyre at the helm in the coach house, complete with a little breakfast. Bill talked about house projects, summer study trips and restoration plans! New docent chair Tom Gotlund was elected. And three docents did presentations about 1)the Glessners' funerals, 2) the MacVeigh House (the only other Chicago house designed by Richardson and torn down in 1922) and 3) four handed piano arrangements- Mrs. Glessner was a fan! The docents also took a fun quiz based on things in our newsletter and social media. For instance....What is highly unusual about the design used for the Morris & Co. Double Bough wallpaper in the corner guest room? If you don't know, come take a tour of Glessner House and find out!

It's Photo Friday!!! This week’s Photo Friday features a beautiful vase in the parlor, made around 1900 by Emile Galle. ...
11/03/2023

It's Photo Friday!!!
This week’s Photo Friday features a beautiful vase in the parlor, made around 1900 by Emile Galle. The cameo glass vase displays an intricate design of a grapevine in brown and golden yellow, a perfect complement to the rapidly changing fall colors outside.
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DE MORGAN COLLECTION ONLINE - Our Favorite FireplacesFriday, November 106:00am CT (Noon UK time)Embark on a fascinating ...
11/02/2023

DE MORGAN COLLECTION ONLINE - Our Favorite Fireplaces
Friday, November 10
6:00am CT (Noon UK time)
Embark on a fascinating journey with Sarah Hardy, Director of the De Morgan Museum, as she delves into the captivating world of William De Morgan fireplaces (including the fireplace in the Glessners' bedroom, shown above). In her talk, Sarah will guide you through the intricate history of these unique hearth adornments, tracing the legacy of De Morgan’s Arts and Crafts intervention from Chicago to Norfolk.

As we cozy up for the season of long nights and warming fires, Sarah’s presentation offers a delightful exploration of the places fortunate enough to boast De Morgan tiles in their hearths. This isn’t just a local story; it’s a global one. Discover how these exquisite tiles, known for their unique designs and exceptional craftsmanship, travelled the world.

Sarah will share insights into the cultural significance of De Morgan tiled fireplaces and how they became sought-after treasures. Learn where you can still witness the beauty of rare De Morgan tiled fireplaces today.
Purchase Tickets Here: https://www.demorgan.org.uk/event/our-favourite-fireplaces/
And don't forget the time difference!!

Fair Collectibles!!Join us in person on Sunday, November 12 at 2:00pm when several collectors of memorabilia from both o...
11/01/2023

Fair Collectibles!!
Join us in person on Sunday, November 12 at 2:00pm when several collectors of memorabilia from both of Chicago’s world’s fairs will exhibit and discuss their favorite objects. Items range from a variety of commemorative items specifically made for fair visitors, to the more unusual one-of-a-kind pieces. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/fair-collectibles
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Lovely Halloween decorations in another Chicago neighborhood that we in the Prairie District also hold dear and close to...
10/31/2023

Lovely Halloween decorations in another Chicago neighborhood that we in the Prairie District also hold dear and close to our Gilded Age heart! Have a wonderful day!

Our Silver Tour!Members of Glessner House were treated to a special presentation in the dining on Sunday, October 29, le...
10/30/2023

Our Silver Tour!
Members of Glessner House were treated to a special presentation in the dining on Sunday, October 29, led by Carolyn Law, a personal property appraiser, antiques researcher, and collector specializing in silver. She discussed a dozen pieces in the Glessner family collection including pieces by Tiffany, Christofle, Gorham, and six pieces handmade by Frances Glessner in the early 1900s.
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If you read yesterday's post about the  Glessners son, George taking pictures at the 1893 Fair, here is another one he t...
10/29/2023

If you read yesterday's post about the Glessners son, George taking pictures at the 1893 Fair, here is another one he took that also happens to be the image used for our latest virtual jigsaw puzzle!!
George Glessner took this photograph at the World’s Columbian Exposition during a visit in the summer of 1893. At center is one of several stands for the Union News Company that could have been found on the fairgrounds. The company sold newspapers, magazines, postcards, and other printed materials to fairgoers, and had stands around the country on street corners, in railroad stations, and in hotels.
This particular stand stood on the south side of the Administration Building, shown at left. A portion of the south facade of the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, facing the Court of Honor, can be seen at far right.
Play our latest virtual jigsaw puzzle right here: https://www.glessnerhouse.org/the-union-news-co-stand

COLLECTIONS CAMEO!!!Photos of the World's Columbian Exposition by George Glessner A  story of amateur photographers, rol...
10/28/2023

COLLECTIONS CAMEO!!!
Photos of the World's Columbian Exposition by George Glessner A story of amateur photographers, rolling chairs, and sterilized water

NOTE: A dozen of George Glessner’s photographs will be displayed in the Visitors Center through November Also, See our latest virtual jigsaw puzzle of one of his photos that will be posted tomorrow!

George Glessner was a talented amateur photographer, so it is no surprise that he took photographs of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The organizers of the Fair wished to control how it appeared in books and the media. They engaged Charles Dudley Arnold (1844-1927) to take the official photographs of the Fair; these are the photographs we are all familiar with today. (He also photographed the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY).

To take his photographs, George Glessner would have paid a $2.00 fee for the privilege of bringing in a hand-held camera; that was four times the price of the 50 cent admission to the Fair itself. No tripods were allowed, and the photos could not be larger than 4” x 5”; George used glass negatives of that size. Furthermore, he would have had to sign a release noting that his photographs were for personal use only and would not be published.

Amateur photographs of the Fair provide an important perspective of the grounds and activities. Whereas the official photographs were often devoid of people and show everything perfectly arranged, amateur images frequently include people, focus on sites beyond the major buildings and attractions, and show the Fair as it actually appeared to a visitor as he wandered the grounds.

The photograph above is an excellent example. This image shows one of the rolling chair stands found through the fairgrounds; this one was located at the southwest corner of the Administration Building, prominently seen at left. (The Statue of the Republic and a portion of the peristyle can be seen at right, along with a band stand at far right). The rolling chair stands were never the focus of official photographs and only occasionally show up to the side or in the background.

The Columbian Rolling Chair Company provided chairs for ladies and others who were unable to navigate the 600-plus acres of the fairgrounds on foot. The chairs featured cane seats and high backs, and were designed to be pushed, not operated by the person seated. For a fee of 60 cents per hour, you could rent a chair and an attendant to push you around while simultaneously pointing out the highlights of the Fair.

The hundreds of uniformed attendants were all college students, and many were divinity students, leading to the attendants becoming known as “holy rollers.” The company grossed more than $400,000 during the Fair, so the chairs were clearly popular!

The other interesting item shown in this photo is the box-like structure to the right of the stand, with a barely visible spigot. The writing on the box reads:

STERILIZED WATER
FOR DRINKING ONLY.
PLEASE DO NOT WASTE
OR USE FOR ANY PURPOSE
BUT TO DRINK.

Why the emphasis on “sterilized water”? A supply of clean, safe water was a major concern for people coming to Chicago due to the fear of typhoid, which claimed about 2,000 victims per year in the city. Articles in publications such as Engineering News exposed the questionable quality and safety of the city’s water supply, and the ability of the Chicago Health Department to address the issue.

The city was, however, taking serious steps to remedy the problem. In December 1892, a four-mile underground supply tunnel was completed, bringing significantly cleaner water to residents from farther out in Lake Michigan. Additionally, work had begun on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which would reverse the flow of the Chicago River with its sewage away from Lake Michigan (and down to St. Louis), but the canal would not open until 1901. Publicizing sterilized water, which had been boiled and filtered in a multi-step process, was an important way to alleviate any fears that fairgoers may have had about the water.

The stories a single photograph can tell!

It's Photo Friday!! This week’s Photo Friday captures an image of a perfectly executed spiderweb, an ideal way to start ...
10/27/2023

It's Photo Friday!!
This week’s Photo Friday captures an image of a perfectly executed spiderweb, an ideal way to start the Halloween weekend! The web was constructed beneath the limestone kitchen porch in the courtyard.
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Very nice writeup about us by Chicago Loop Alliance!  We are members now....
10/26/2023

Very nice writeup about us by Chicago Loop Alliance! We are members now....

Glessner House is a trip back to Chicago's Gilded Age. Immerse yourself in this celebrated architectural treasure that inspired a generation of architects like a young Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lost in AmericaJoin us in-person on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00pm when author Richard Cahan will discuss his newly pub...
10/25/2023

Lost in America
Join us in-person on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00pm when author Richard Cahan will discuss his newly published book, Lost in America: Photographing the Last Days of our Architectural Treasures. The book focuses on 100 buildings torn down since the 1930s which were documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/lost-in-america
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GLESSNER CRAFT GROUP!!!Thursday, October 26 from 6:00 to 8:00pmOn Thursday we officially relaunch the Glessner Craft Gro...
10/24/2023

GLESSNER CRAFT GROUP!!!
Thursday, October 26 from 6:00 to 8:00pm

On Thursday we officially relaunch the Glessner Craft Group. Individuals are encouraged to bring their own knitting, crocheting, sewing, and/or needlework projects to work on while enjoying the historic ambiance of the Main Hall of Glessner House just as Frances Glessner (shown above) and many of her friends and family did. Additional dates for 2023 are November 16 and December 14 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. If you are interested in attending, please email Cari Dudich at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you!

Our Haunted Tours!!!Limited tickets remain for our popular haunted tours, “Shadows on the Street,” on Friday and Saturda...
10/23/2023

Our Haunted Tours!!!
Limited tickets remain for our popular haunted tours, “Shadows on the Street,” on Friday and Saturday, October 27-28, with tours running every 15 minutes starting at 6:30pm. Learn about the untimely death of Marshall Field, Jr. (whose home is shown here), the tragic ending of Edson Keith, and the story behind the most haunted site in the area where the enormous mansion of Philander C. Hanford once stood. Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs/
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1800 S Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL
60616

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