A local history of classical antiquity

The Classicizing Chicago Project tracks the way elements of ancient Greece and Rome inform expressions of Chicago’s distinctive identity as an American global metropolis.

From the 1830s to today, Chicagoans from all walks of life and with widely varying measures of a formal classical education (including none at all) have conjured classical antiquity in many media —  from architecture, visual arts, performing arts, recreation and education to politics, commerce and more.     Our project maps the contours of this local history of  classical antiquity, opening new routes by which to explore Chicago’s complex cultural heritage and antiquity’s allure across geographic and social boundaries.

Visit our two open access digital resources:

ATLAS  is a developing collection of short, illustrated features that exhibit the diversity of uses of classical antiquity in Chicago history and today.  Browse the items, dig deeper by following links, or use the menu to navigate the set.  We welcome collaboration. Read the Get Involved page and help us mine Chicago-area archives and built environment to locate new material.


bc circle

The Bosher Collection  is a searchable database of the performances of Greek and Roman drama on Chicago stages.  Its records include traditional stagings as well as imaginative adaptations throughout Chicago history. Data ranges from historical details to images and ephemera. The site also identifies current performances.


Take a virtual walking tour of “Ancient Rome in Chicago” guided by Northwestern students