Chicago, Illustrated
By: Michael Heller

May 10 , 2016

Due to a last-minute change in speakers, Mike Heller presented at the May meeting, on the topic “Chicago, Illustrated.”  Mike showed a large variety of illustrated advertising covers that featured hotels and other businesses of the Windy City.

He started his presentation with two different covers depicting the famous Tremont House on the back of each cover.  One was postmarked 1857 while the other was mailed in the 1860s.  Mike noted that this hotel, built in 1850, was actually preceded by two other ones named Tremont House, destroyed by fire in each case.  Unfortunately, this third version also went up in flames during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871!  Other hotel covers included: Sherman House (1860s); Palmer House (three versions, 1870s); Leland Hotel (overall front); Briggs House; Revere House; Matteson House and the Clifton House.

The hotel group was followed by many covers depicting various Chicago businesses (1870s to early 1900s), including:  Union Hide & Leather factory; Hayden Brothers lumber factory; Selz Shoes (6 different factories); and Lord, Owen druggists (building with mortar & pestle design).  Mike also showed several examples of covers from Hibbard, Spencer & Co. with different versions of their large building and various hardware products displayed on the back of each cover.