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October 1999

Robert Pruter has been appointed to the SMA board of directors, replacing the late Dave Fremon. Pruter, an editor and expert on African-American music and high school sports, has written the following books:
    Chicago Soul, University of Illinois Press, 1991. It won the Certificate of Excellence for scholarly works from the Illinois State Historical Society in 1992, and the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, also in 1992
    Doowop: The Chicago Scene, University of Illinois Press, 1996. It won the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, 1997.
    Blackwell Guide To Soul Recordings, Basil-Blackwell Ltd., 1993. Pruter edited the project and personally wrote the introduction and the chapter on Chicago soul.

He has contributed to a number of reference works, including the Encyclopędia Britannica. He has lectured widely on both music and sports history and written more than 500 published articles, columns, and reviews on the subject of rare recordings, artist biography, record corporation history, and discography. He also writes liner notes for recordings.

Each year, mailing the annual yearbook to members brings a few corrections and additions. That's partly because some of you changed address and didn't tell us in time, partly because we couldn't read your handwriting on the registration form, and partly because, oh well, nobody's perfect.
Corrections so far:
George McDaniel's correct E-mail address is

Marci Whitney-Schenck's correct E-mail address is

Mary Edsey, a board member, was omitted from the roster. Please add to your copy of the roster:
Mary Edsey, 2153 W. Cullom St., Chicago, IL 60618. Phone: 773/404-9402. E-mail:

By Barbara Schaaf
Writer Answers 911
Who does a cop call when he needs help? A writer, that's who. Dick Whittingham is working with newly retired U. S. Marshall Joe DiLeonardi on a book about Joe D's long and colorful life in local law enforcement. Should be a page turner.

Woman of Mystery
Barbara D'Amato's new sleuth, Polly Kelly, makes her debut in Help Me Please, which won high marks in Publishers Weekly. Kelly is a Chicago detective working on the abduction of the young daughter of a state senator and a country western singer from the pews at Holy Name Cathedral. PW credits D'Amato with "a lightning fast plot, engaging characters, deftly dropped clues and an earthy Chicago atmosphere."

Wise Choice
If you know anyone in the four-to-seven age group, Publishers Weekly recommends The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland. It is the tale of a young boy named Ishaq, a resident of the House of Wisdom, an institution of higher learning built by the caliph of Baghdad in 830 A.D. Ishaq's father is a revered scholar, and the boy fears he cannot measure up to Dad. When the caliph sends Ishaq on a search for ancient manuscripts, the lad's energy and desire to learn carry him to new heights. An unusual topic, an unusual period, and an unusual setting for children's books.

Tape Tells
SMA members are nothing if not multi-faceted. Gera-Lind Kolarik, who is president of Evidence Video, played a major role in the law suit involving the flaming crash which killed six children. Kolarik developed tapes which are said to have brought "the victims back to life." It must have worked, because it was settled (for $100 million) before it went to the jury.

Literary Social Note
Dempsey Travis was guest of honor at a recent gala marking the publication of his new book, The Life and Times of Redd Foxx.

Warshawski's Back
After a five-year lapse, Sara Paretsky has written another in her series of mysteries featuring V. I. Warshawski, her tough woman private detective. Hard Time will be published in October by Delacorte. Publishers Weekly says, "Paretsky weaves a thread of loss through this journey to hell and back in which Vic ponders the death of her own mother and the end of a relationship, as well as the pain of those caught in the far-reaching tentacles of corrupt power. "The use of short chapters with catchy, ironic titles keeps the action moving without giving too much away and helps to marshal the abundant characters and plot turns. "Hurrah and welcome back, V. I. and Sara P."

Takes Measure of C-SPAN
Michael H. Ebner, Lake Forest College, recently interviewed Brian P. Lamb, founder and CEO of C-SPAN, for an article, "Bringing Democracy to Television." It was published in the August issue of the OAH Newsletter, published by the Organization of American Historians. The interview devotes particular attention to C-SPAN's book-related programming, especially Booknotes and Book TV.

Out and About Free-lance writer George Bushnell is a regular contributor to the "Out and About Chicago" section of Midwest Living magazine. He writes a quarterly one-page Midwest events round-up for the Pioneer Press newspapers and supplies travel articles to AAA Home and Away and Travel America magazines. He and his wife, Faith, were recently elected to the board of directors of the Three Lakes Association in Michigan.

First Mystery
Harriette Gillem Robinet, author of prize-winning children's books, has written her first mystery. Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues will be published next summer by Atheneum Simon & Schuster. Aladdin is bringing out a paperback edition of her Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule this winter.

New Producer
Carol Carlson, SMA vice president, has branched out as a theatrical impresario. With friends, she has launched the Rowhouse Theater at 1138 W. Ainslie, Chicago. In September, the theater offered two one-act plays by Tennessee Williams, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and This Property is Condemned.

What's Really Funny
Marci Whitney-Schenck, publisher and editor of Christianity and the Arts, landed on the commen- tary page of the Chicago Tribune with an article contrasting the old Marx Brothers comedy, Monkey Business with the current animated blockbuster, South Park. One difference, she noted, was that the Marx Brothers were funny, while conveying a lesson about tolerance. "At the end of South Park. when a little girl was called a clitoris, I felt demeaned."

What, No Bagels?
There will be a second novel in the series written by Dorothy Rosen (with husband Sidney as co- author) featuring amateur detective Belle Appleman. The first was Death and Blintzes. The second title, also published by Academy Chicago Publishers, is Death and Strudel, which will appear in hard cover in October, and eventually in paperback. A third novel, slated to appear in the spring of 2000, will be Death and Chicken Soup. Death and Blintzes, now in paperback, received an interesting review on the website from a reader who wrote that "this fine novel was more history than mystery,¦ and that the time period in which the action takes place (the 1930s) was one that people were in danger of forgetting."

Hurricane Jim
Jim Schwab will be talking about ¦Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction¦ Oct. 26 in Orange Beach, Ala., at the annual conference of the Alabama Association of Regional Councils. In September he taught an intensive one-credit short course for the University of Iowa Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning. It was based on a report sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, edited by Jim and published by the American Planning Association this past spring. The report served as the text. He is also talking about growth management in rural areas for the Council of State Community Development Agencies, in Orlando, Fla.

No Lazy Bones
Sheila Kelly Welch wrote to bring us up to date on a list of her activities: BOOKS: Little Prince Know-It-All, Golden Books, 1998 (Early Reader). "A tale of sibling rivalry with a humorous twist." Lazy Bones Jones, Learning Media, an educational publisher, New Zealand, 1999 (Fifth Grade Chapter Book). "A boring day turns wild in this fantasy about a boy who goes into the world of a jigsaw puzzle." Leaping Lena, Rigby, Australia, an educational publisher, 2000 (Third Grade Chapter Book). "Nico and his pony, Lena, must save their farm when his father makes an outlandish bet with the king." The Shadowed Unicorn, Front Street/Cricket Books, 2000 (Ages 10 to 14). "After their father¦'s death, twin boys are tempted to join their older sister in her search for a unicorn in the woods around their new home in the country." MAGAZINES (text and illustration): ¦K.D.¦s Kid,¦ Ladybug, May, 1999. "Nathan¦s Magic Nation," Spider, November, 1999. Book Broadcast Blast History Professor Melvin G. Holli has been hitting the TV and radio circuit to discuss not one but two new books. He delivered a 50-minute book talk on C-Span TV discussing the "best" and "worst" big-city mayors and political leaders, the subjects of his recent book, The American Mayor: the Best and Worst Big City Leaders. The broadcast originated from Chicago¦s Newbery Library. Holli also appeared on CLTV - Chicago and Fox News TV in Cleveland. On WGN Radio's Extension 720 (the Milton Rosenberg show) Holli was a guest to talk about both The American Mayor and a just published second book, A View From Chicago's City Hall: Mid-Century to Millennium. He was interviewed also on National Public Radio stations in Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C. (And see Barnes & Noble program notice on Page 1.)

Still Soaring
Marjorie Kriz is cheered to see her 1997 book, Soaring Above Setbacks, the story of the pioneer African-American flyer, Janet Harmon Bragg, still featured in the Smithsonian Institution Press catalog.

Authors at Navy Pier
Several SMA members will participate in a reception and book-signing during the Illinois Library Association conference on Sunday, Oct.17, at Navy Pier, Chicago. The book-signing will be sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book. SMA members participating include: Carol Adorjan, Raymond Benson, Cynthia Gallaher, William Elliott Hazelgrove, Laurie Lawlor, Richard Lindberg, Harriette Gillem Robinet and Glennette Tilley Turner. Some will be signing books before a lake cruise (2 to 3 pm and some after (5 to 6 pm), at Barbara's Bookstore on Navy Pier. The authors will be going on the cruise.

Infamy Expert Strikes Again
Richard Lindberg's new book has been published by Cumberland: Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago. He recently appeared on the 848 program on WBEZ with Steve Edwards to talk about another of his books, Tour Guide and History of Famous Acts of Infamy in the Windy City.

Mary Gray Hughes
A former SMA board member, she died Sept. 15 of cancer in Evanston (Ill.) Hospital. She was an award-winning short-story writer, novelist and poet. She also taught writing classes at Northwestern University.

Promote Your Current Book
SMA helps member-authors promote their current books whenever possible. One way is to volunteer to appear in the co-operative program series with Barnes & Noble's Webster Place store in Chicago. Katie Schwartz is the B&N liaison. Another is to post your schedule of book-signings, lectures and other appearances on the SMA website. You don't have to contact anyone; just go to, click on "Events Calendar" and fill in the blanks on the screen.

James A. McPherson
First African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (Elbow Room, 1978), McPherson is pro- fessor of English in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His most recent book is Crabcakes (1998), ¦part lilting memoir, part anxious meditation,¦ said The New York Times Book Review. He is currently researching the history of the Middle West during and after the Civil War. He reports he is looking forward to sharing his research with other members of SMA in years to come.

Dominic A. Pacyga
Author or co-author of Chicago's Southeast Side, Chicago: a Historical Guide to the Neighborhoods, Chicago: City of Neighborhoods and Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago, he lives in Chicago on the South Side.

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