Fast Food History

Most of us have eaten at McDonald’s. Do you know how the company started? Two brothers in California developed a system in the 1950s to serve just a few quality items quickly at their hamburger stand. They were the McDonald brothers and, at the time, they were pretty satisfied with their company and product. But a shake machine salesman from Illinois saw a big future in the business.

The Founder is a movie from 2017 that tells how Ray Kroc got into business with the brothers. At first, he had the job of setting up McDonald’s franchises around the country. After a few years, he took over the company. He then called himself the founder of the company. You can decide if you agree. Check out the DVD and see the performances by Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and John Carroll Lynch.

Rating Biographies of the Presidents

There are many, many presidential biographies. Now someone is reading many of them for you, rating them, and providing reviews on his blog. Stephen Floyd is an investment banker and an “avid fan of American history.” He has merged his love of American history and great biographies to focus on finding the best biographies of each president. In 2012, he started with George Washington and is now working on biographies of Richard Nixon. See his blog for the list of biographies and his reviews.

The New American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, is a new entry in the local museum scene. A current exhibit celebrates the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Upcoming events include a discussion of the life and work of Lorraine Hansberry (Feb. 9) and Madeleine L’Engle (Feb. 11). Eve Ewing will discuss her book Electric Arches with poet José Olivarez on Feb. 13. See the website for more information about the museum and events.

MLA and APA Citation Help

It’s that time of the year again. As you are finishing your paper, you will need to properly format your citations using MLA or APA style. Help is available on the library website on the Research Tools page. Click “Citing Sources” in the middle of the Research Tools page (under Featured Services). The Citing Sources Guide has a variety of links that show citation examples for journal articles, web pages, books, and many other sources. As always, help is also available from the librarians or from the Speaking and Writing Center.

JFK Assassination Information

On October 26, the National Archives will release classified documents about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

The library has these books and eBooks about the assassination.

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: A Complete Book of Facts by James P. Duffy and Vincent L. Ricci (1992)

Bloody Treason: On Solving History’s Greatest Murder Mystery, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Noel Twyman (1997)

Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination compiled and edited by Gus Russo and Harry Moses; foreword by Tom Brokaw (2016)

“The President Has Been Shot!” The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson (eBook and eAudiobook, 2016)

Does it make sense to open a blues bar?

We get many interesting questions at the reference desk. “How do I do research about the feasibility of opening up a blues bar?” was just one of the questions we got in the last couple weeks.

To do research about starting a business, the Library’s Research Tools page is one place to start. We have access to databases such as “Business Source Premier” that focus on business topics. Also, we have Research Guides on a variety of topics. For this topic, the guides for Economics and Company Information can lead you to sources that will help you find information about current restaurant and nightclub trends. The Research Guide for Governmental Information can help you find demographic statistics, consumer information, and regulations to consider.

History of Labor Day

Many states celebrated a “labor day” in the late 1800s but Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. One of the probable reasons for the federal holiday was that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was attempting to placate organized labor after the Pullman Strike, a nation-wide railroad strike that ended after many lives were lost and much property was destroyed. Workers began the strike at the Pullman Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894, as a reaction to wage cuts. You can visit the Pullman National Monument and Historic Pullman Foundation at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Chicago.

Disco Demolition Exhibit

This is part three in the series of things to do in Chicago this summer.

In the exhibit “Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died,” the Elmhurst History Museum has gathered memorabilia from an infamous July 1979 event during a doubleheader at Comiskey Park in Chicago. That day, radio station WLUP sponsored a promotion featuring DJ Steve Dahl, and anyone who brought a disco album to the park got in for 98 cents. The plan was to blow up the disco albums on the field after the first game. The albums were blown up, and then thousands of fans went out on the field and would not leave until the police showed up. The Sox had to forfeit the second game because of the condition of the field.

The book from 2016 about the historic night is available in the library. The Elmhurst History Museum is at 120 E. Park Avenue in Elmhurst. www.elmhursthistory.org

Travel Suggestions for a Long Weekend

Memorial Day is just a few weeks away. If you don’t have plans but want to go somewhere new, here are some sites with details about nearby destinations.

13 best day trips

Weekend getaways near Chicago

Best day trips for under $100

Best train trips from Chicago

Also, the library has this book and ebook on the subject:

Last-Minute Travel Secrets: 121 Ingenious Tips to Endure Cramped Planes, Car Trouble, Awful Hotels, and Other Trips from Hell by Joey Green

Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective: Insider Tips on Getting the Best Value, Service, and Security in Accommodations from Bed and Breakfasts to Five-Star Resorts by Peter Greenberg (ebook)