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Description

Guide Map To Chicago Vice?

Color coded to show location of brothels, pawn brokers, saloons, and lodging houses. Covers a portion of the Loop district in Chicago, Illinois, from Clark Street to Dearborn Street and from Harrison Street to Polk Street.

The map appeared in W.T. Stead's If Christ Came to Chicago -- a Please for the Union of All Who Love in the Service of All Who Suffer

In Mapping Society, Laura Vaughan notes at p. 174-76:

Stead was probably Britain’s first investigative journalist . . . Stead’s journalism was highly successful, contributing to the setting up of a Royal Commission on the Housing of the Poor in 1884.  . . . Having travelled to the United States to attend the World’s Fair of 1893 in the city, Stead published the 500-page ‘If Christ came to Chicago! A Plea for the Union of All Who Love in the Service of All Who Suffer’, in which he proclaimed that faith in Christ by every town-dweller would ‘lead directly to the civic and social regeneration of Chicago or any other great city’.

The map drawn up for Stead’s book depicted the worst of the precincts he studied. Not only was the choice of precincts intentional, so were the boundaries he selected for the map itself, which emphasises the dominance of prostitution within the precinct . . . By colouring brothels in red he drew the eye to the scale of the problem. . . . Contemporary records of his extended stay in Chicago describe how, following his visits to Fourth Avenue . . . Stead stirred up controversy amongst the city’s dignitaries by addressing meetings in its most respectable bastions . . . where he accused its members of being more disreputable than a harlot because of the self-indulgence of their style of living, which ignored the poverty surrounding them.

Stead was using his best weapons–shocking language and sensationalist imagery – to get across his frustration with the depths of vice and immorality that he had seen in the city. Similarly, the focus on the brothels in the pull-out map to his book was much more shocking at the time than can be comprehended today: he was in effect providing a directory of vice, a dramatic contrast with the Christian language suggested by the book’s title.

Stead’s description of his map of the nineteenth precinct, with its ‘forty-six saloons, thirty-seven houses of ill-fame and eleven pawnbrokers’, which he points out as the ‘moral sore spots of the body politic’, maintains that it in fact underestimates the reality of the problem. It gives, he wrote, ‘an unduly favourable  impression’, as many of the stores and offices are ‘more or less haunted by immoral women’, while the precinct has so many saloons that it is impossible to not become intoxicated. . . .

The map is scarce.  This is the first time we have seen the map on the market.