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Chicagoist Wayback Machine: In Which We Go Through Royko's Stuff

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on May 27, 2007 4:00PM

This whole CWM history deal is something of a learning process. Well, hopefully it is for you, Constant Reader, as well as for us. For example, we were well aware of the incredible and ever-swelling numbers of Chicago history books, with their tremendous photographic accompaniment. Hell, we practically have the Dewey Decimal reference number for the "HIST-CHICAGO" section at Sulzer memorized. (It's F548 something something.)

So when we were doing a little research at the Newberry, imagine our surprise when we found out we could go through boxes upon boxes of Mike Royko's old stuff. Now, despite what Neil Steinberg says about him, we Chicagoistas still like to poke through the old books and columns (pretty much the same thing, really). Even though he kicked off about ten years ago, a lot of the things he wrote back then still ring true. Ah, Chicago - how little we learn.

As it turns out, the Newberry's collection ranges from columns and correspondence all the way to half-smoked packs of cigarettes and Jack Daniels neckties. It was a little like when they let Joliet Jake out of prison. "One pork pie hat. Black. One unused prophylactic. One soiled. " While we refrained from putting on on the old jackets and playing a little softball, it was amazing to be able to be this hands on with a vital piece of Chicago history. Hell, we even went through his Rolodex (and there'll be more on that in a future post).

Going through some of the collection, one thing did our little hearts good: his original job application. In 1956 as he was trying for journalism gigs, he filled out this form to work for the City News Bureau. We're not entirely sure if "strong legs" and "not planning on being rich" are valuable traits for working at a newspaper today, but they apparently worked back then. And he can type!


Image to a larger cleare scan of the picture here.

Image and photocopy courtesy the Newberry Library. Curious about something in Chicago History? Wondering what happened to an old building or what horrible things happened where? Email us at and we'll see what can be tracked down.