After hundreds of hours in classes, we’ve arrived at this very moment: summer. Universally, this season marks the end of the old way of life and the beginning of something new. It is as if the feelings associated with “summer” rhyme with the feelings associated with “exploration.” But of all the endless possibilities what is there new to explore? Since we’re searching for something exciting, looking at how DePaul students and Chicagoans spent their past summers may turn up great ideas. In the wake of all the studying, all the homework, and all the tests, a few ideas come to mind: the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lake Shore, downtown Chicago, and in general being outside.
So how then did DePaul students celebrate in past summers? Perhaps the first goal of summer was this: The photograph of students relaxing by the lake was featured in the 1952 DePaulian, and many current students, who take advantage of the nice summer weather and the Quad, would agree on the familiarity of this scene.
What about Chicagoans before the 1950s? You might be surprised to find Chicagoans have been enjoying the Lake Shore beaches as far back as the early 1900s. This image, for example, illustrates the popular branding of the Lake Shore as a staple of Chicago life, given that this image was featured on a 1905 postcard.
Do you recognize the location of this image’s scene? If you’re having trouble remembering, take a look at Edward Kemey’s lions in the foreground of this 1925 postcard. They’re the same lions out front of the Art Institute of Chicago! While the focus of the postcard is the new Straus Building, it is clear that even in 1920s, the lions that guarded the Art Institute were as beloved then as they are now.
But what about local summer activities? Lincoln Park has a longstanding reputation for its zoo, which is located only a few blocks east of campus. While you may not necessarily get the chance to hug a lion, as this 1911 postcard shows, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a fun and free venue for all ages.
Hopefully, there were some ideas that you will adopt for your own summer plans. You might find yourself doing these same things, but if you’re interested in exploration in a different form, whether to inspire other summer ideas or for the enjoyment, celebrate a summer of throwback with us at Special Collections & Archives.
For additional information on the postcards (from the Chicago & Lincoln Park Ephemera Collection) and DePaul photographs (from DePaulian) used in this blog, contact SPCA at: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Special Collections & Archives in the John T. Richardson Library, Room 314.