Classicizing Chicago

On the streets, in the sky, at the theatre, and on the page, stunning reminders of the Greek and Roman past pervade Chicago and its environs. The Classicizing Chicago Project (CCP) exhibits this aspect of the area’s cultural life from the 1840s to today and explores its dynamic relation to Chicago’s identity as a modern, global metropolis.

We investigate uses of the classical past in any medium from architecture, visual and performing arts, recreation and education to politics and labor by people from all walks of life and with widely varying measures of familiarity with the classical sources.

Our research concerns why and how the classical past reverberates in this setting and identifies shifting patterns of interest. Our aim is to enrich knowledge of Chicago history and the reception of classics in America, as well as to provide vivid evidence of persistent fascination with the ancient sources themselves. At present we are developing two open access digital resources for scholars and the public:

The Bosher Collection

The Bosher Collection is a searchable database of the performances of Greek and Roman drama on Chicago stages named in memory of Kathryn Bosher, a historian of ancient theater and beloved colleague who first set the CCP in motion.  Its records range from historical data to images and ephemera. We aim to digitize more materials to enhance the records.


ATLAS  is just getting under way. We envision an archive of examples drawn from diverse spheres of activity augmented by featured encounters in the form of short illustrated essays, videos and walking tours.