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Stories by Meredith Francis

December 16, 2021 | Meredith Francis
Did we all hope 2021 would be a calmer news year than 2020? Probably. Was it? Most definitely not. Test your knowledge of Chicago’s top news stories –– from the essential stories, to the bizarre ones –– with our year-in-review news quiz.
Viola Spolin. Courtesy: Viola Spolin Estate
October 13, 2021 | Meredith Francis
Improv "was born out of a need to communicate with a new immigrant population, from a woman who loved theater," says the producer of our new upcoming documentary Inventing Improv: A Chicago Stories Special.
Katherine Dunham dancing and Katharine Kuh smiling and reading papers
September 7, 2021 | Meredith Francis
Dancer Katherine Dunham and curator Katharine Kuh are part of an upcoming exhibition at the Newberry Library called "Chicago Avant-Garde," which tells the story of five Chicago women who took risks throught their art.
Henry Blake Fuller and a cover of his book, "Bertram Cope's Year"
June 16, 2021 | Meredith Francis
Henry Blake Fuller isn't necessarily a well-known name in literature. But his book Bertram Cope's Year is considered by many to be one of the first American novels to feature gay characters. Fuller also played a big role in making social realism the literary style of Chicago.
Ebony Scott
January 18, 2021 | Meredith Francis
WTTW’s new digital series, FIRSTHAND: Living in Poverty, follows five people experiencing intergenerational poverty. As part of the FIRSTHAND Talks series, five experts offer their take on issues related to poverty. Here are some takeaways.
Juliette Kinzie
December 17, 2020 | Meredith Francis
When it comes to Chicago’s early history, people like William Ogden or Cyrus McCormick and their families are often brought up as the city’s founders. But, according to one expert, one of Chicago’s “forgotten founders" is the writer and historian Juliette Kinzie.
I Am Ireland
December 14, 2020 | Meredith Francis
Through storytelling and songs, I Am Ireland examines Ireland’s long struggle for freedom with traditional Irish tenor Paddy Homan performing from the perspective of some of Ireland's prominent leaders.
Welcoming New Dawn, by Chris Pappan
December 3, 2020 | Meredith Francis
By blending a lowbrow style and the use of ledger art, Kanza artist Chris Pappan uses his art to undo the erasure of Native peoples' histories and identities.
Illumination
November 20, 2020 | Meredith Francis
The holidays are going to look different this year. But there are still ways to safely get a healthy dose of holiday cheer both in person and virtually in Chicago.
Sophonisba Breckinridge. Image: Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
October 7, 2020 | Meredith Francis
Sophonisba Breckinridge, a feminist and social reformer, accomplished a lot in her long career, much of which was spent at the University of Chicago. But despite all she achieved, she is what historian Anya Jabour calls a "forgotten feminist."