Bug Club vs. University of Chicago, 1921

Chicago, July 7.

To the Editor of the Tribune:

In direct contrast to the wonderful University of Chicago on the Midway with its wonderful buildings of stone exists the Bug club of Chicago, situated in Washington park, without any stone walls or medievel towers but the blue sky above.

Here men of learning and unlearned self-styled atheists, infidels, theologians, historians, Socialists, rationalists, conservatives, astronomers, mythologists and just plain Americanists gather.

They all sit in a circle as the Rev. Theologian Bishop Burke opened the meeting with a prayer.

Quietly starts the evening meeting with the chairman announcing, choose your own subject, but once a speaker expresses his views three out of every two (in other words, some want to talk twice) are on their feet for a chance to enlighten the rest with his theories, and the evening progresses.  I generally leave about 11 and they are still going strong.

Sunday afternoon is the big day and the world and its troubles certainly get ironed out then.

It’s a glorious institution and the man with a craving for knowledge who works all day and cannot afford a university education, if he but listens with an open mind, knowing what to discard as bull (for naturally some of it is) and knowing what to digest, will certainly assimilate a wealth of knowledge in a short summer term.

Oh, the Bug club, long may it rave.

Dick Arman


Chicago Daily Tribune, July 9, 1921, p. 6

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2 Responses to Bug Club vs. University of Chicago, 1921

  1. Tim Lacy says:

    Do you think they also discussed the “Great Books”? Hah! But seriously, I wonder how many (if any) U of C staff and faculty wandered over.

    Surely Dick Arman is using the term “Americanists” loosely? I doubt any of those “true blue Americans” (i.e. the then popular KKK) discoursed with the other at the Washington Park Bug Club?! – TL

  2. Toby Higbie says:

    They probably did talk about the books that would soon become “Great Books.” I’ll dig out a great doc on “What the Hobo Reads,” although the Bug Club was not so much a hobohemian forum as was Bughouse Square. I’m sure a few U of C faculty wandered over. They certainly sent their students to gather data for papers.

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