There are scores of excellent books on the history of Chicago.  Below are some that have particular relevance to the period covered by this web site.

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General Chicago History

Chicago and the American Century: The 100 Most Significant Chicagoans of the Twentieth Century
Robert F. Ciccone (Contemporary Books, Inc., 2000)

City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America
Donald L. Miller (Simon & Schuster, 1997)

City of Broad Shoulders: A History of Chicago
Robert G. Spinney (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 2000)

Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City
Stevenson Swanson, ed. (McGraw-Hill, 1996)

The Encyclopedia of Chicago
James R. Grossman, ed. (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2004)

A Wild Kind of Boldness: The Chicago History Reader
Rosemary Adams and Harold Platt, eds. (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998)

Notable Events

Chicago Death Trap: The Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903
Nat Brandt (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2003)

The Sinking Of The Eastland: America’s Forgotten Tragedy
Jay Bonansinga (Citadel Press, 2004)

Tinder Box: The Iroquois Theatre Disaster, 1903
Anthony P. Hatch (Academy Chicago Publishers, 2003)

Popular Culture

Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life, 1837-1920
Perry R. Duis (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1998)

Chaos, Creativity, and Culture: A Sampling of Chicago in the Twentieth Century
Kenan Heise (Gibbs Smith Publishers, 1998)

Chicago by Gaslight: A History of Chicago’s Netherworld, 1880-1920
Richard C. Lindberg (Academy Chicago Publishers, 1996)

Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930
William Howland Kenney (Oxford Univ. Press, 1994)

For the Love of Pleasure: Women, Movies, and Culture in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago
Lauren Rabinowitz (Rutgers Univ. Press, 1998)

Inventing the Public Enemy: The Gangster in American Culture, 1918-1934
David E. Ruth (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996)

Riverview Amusement Park (Images of America Series)
Dolores Haugh (Arcadia Publishing, 2004)

Riverview: Gone, but Not Forgotten
Chuck Wlodarczyk (Riverview Publications, 1997)

The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920
Perry R. Duis (Univ. of Illinois Press, special ed., 1999)

Sounds of Reform: Progressivism and Music in Chicago, 1873-1935
Derek Vaillant (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003)

Windy City Wars: Labor, Leisure, and Sport in the Making of Chicago
Gerald R. Gems (Scarecrow Press, 1997)

Sports & Recreation

Black Baseball in Chicago (Black America Series)
Lester Miller, et al. (Arcadia Publishing, 2000)

Bury My Heart at Wrigley Field: The History of the Chicago Cubs
Larry Names (Angel Press of Wisconsin, 1996)

Chicago Blackhawks: Seventy-Five Years
Bob Verdi (Tehabi Books, 2000)

Chicago’s Parks: A Photographic History (Images of America Series)
John Graf (Arcadia Publishing, 2000)

Comiskey Park (Images of Baseball Series)
Irwin J. Cohen (Arcadia Publishing, 2004)

Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
Eliot Asinof (Owl Books, 2000)

Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront
Lois Wille (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1991)

Say It Ain’t So, Joe! The True Story of Shoeless Joe Jackson
Donald Gropman (Citadel Press, 1999)

Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson
David L. Fleitz (McFarland & Company, 2001)

Windy City Wars: Labor, Leisure, and Sport in the Making of Chicago
Gerald R. Gems (Scarecrow Press, 1997)

World’s Fairs

“All the World Is Here!” The Black Presence at White City
Christopher Robert Reed (Indiana Univ. Press, 2002)

Building a Century of Progress: The Architecture of Chicago’s 1933-34 World’s Fair
Lisa D. Schrenk (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2007)

Celebrating the New World: Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893
Robert Muccigrosso (Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 1993)

Chicago’s White City of 1893
David F. Burg (Univ. of Kentucky Press, reprint ed., 1979)

Chicago World’s Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record
Stanley Appelbaum (Dover Publications, 1980)

The Fair Women: The Story of the Women’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893
Jeanne Madeline (Academy Chicago Publishers, 1981)

The Great American Fair: The World’s Columbian Exposition and American Culture
Reid Badger (N. Hall, 1979)

The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair: A Century of Progress
Cheryl R. Ganz (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2012)

World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions
Robert W. Rydell (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993)

Architecture & the Built Environment

Carson, Pirie, Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store
Joseph Siry (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988)

Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis
Harold M. Mayer and Richard C. Wade (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1973)

Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue: Planning and Development, 1900-1930
John W. Stamper (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991)

The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925
Carl Condit (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998)

Chicago Transit: An Illustrated History
David M. Young (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1998)

Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age
Ann Durkin Keating (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2005)

Constructing Chicago
Daniel M. Bluestone (Yale Univ. Press, 1993)

An Early Encounter with Tomorrow: Europeans, Chicago’s Loop, and the World’s Columbian Exposition
Arnold Lewis (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997)

The Electric City: Energy and the Growth of the Chicago Area, 1880-1930
Harold L. Platt (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991)

Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront
Lois Wille (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1991)

Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York and Chicago
Carol Willis (Princeton Architectural Press, 1995)

Frank Lloyd Wright and Midway Gardens
Paul Kruty (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1998)

A Guide to Chicago’s Murals
Mary Lackritz Gray (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2001)

The “L”: The Development of Chicago’s Rapid Transit System, 1888-1932
Bruce G. Moffat (Central Electric Railfans’ Association, 1995)

Lost Chicago
David Garrard Lowe (Watson-Guptill Publications, rev. ed., 2001)

Louis Sullivan and the Chicago School
Nancy Frazier (Knickerbocker Press, 1999)

The Man-Made City: The Land-Use Confidence Game in Chicago
Gerald D. Suttles (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1990)

Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
William Cronon (W. W. Norton & Company, 1992)

Perfect Cities: Chicago’s Utopias of 1893
James Gilbert (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993)

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
Daniel Burnham (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2007)

Property Rules: Political Economy in Chicago, 1833-1872
Robin L. Einhorn (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991)


From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago, 1869-1929
Joseph C. Bigott (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2001)

Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in the City
St. Clair Drake (Univ. of Chicago Press, rev. ed., 1993)

City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919
Margaret Garb (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2005)

Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960
Arnold R. Hirsch (Univ. of Chicago Press, reprint ed., 1998)

Chicago’s Southeast Side (Images of America Series)
Rod Sellers and Dominic Pacyga (Arcadia Publishing, 1998)

Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side
Amanda I. Seligman (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2005)

Families Against the City: Middle-Class Homes of Industrial Chicago, 1872-1890
Richard Sennett (Harvard Univ. Press, reprint ed., 1984)

Back of the Yards: The Making of Local Democracy
Robert A. Slayton (Univ. of Chicago Press, reprint ed., 1988)

At Home in the Loop: How Clout and Community Built Chicago’s Dearborn Park
Lois Wille (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1998)

The Gold Coast and the Slum: A Sociological Study of Chicago’s Near North Side
Harvey Warren Zorbaugh (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1983)

Immigrants & Ethnic Communities

Swedish American Life in Chicago: Cultural and Urban Aspects of an Immigrant People, 1850-1930
Philip J. Anderson, ed. (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1992)

Italians in Chicago (Images of America Series)
Dominic Candeloro (Arcadia Publishing, 1999)

White On Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, And Power In Chicago, 1890-1945
Thomas A. Guglielmo (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004)

Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939
Lizabeth Cohen (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991)

The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb
Irving Cutler (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1996)

Jewish Chicago: A Pictorial History (Images of America Series)
Irving Cutler (Arcadia Publishing, 2000)

Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics in Polish Chicago, 1976-1990
Mary Patrice Erdmans (Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1998)

Ethnic Chicago: A Multicultural Portrait
Melvin G. Holli, ed. (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 4th ed., 1995)

German Chicago: The Danube Swabians and the American Aid Societies (Images of America Series)
Melvin G. Holli (Arcadia Publishing, 1999)

Polish-American Politics in Chicago, 1888-1940
Edward R. Kantowicz (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1975)

What Parish Are You From? A Chicago Irish Community and Race Relations
Eileen M. McMahon (Univ. of Kentucky Press, reprint ed., 1996)

Italians in Chicago, 1880-1930: A Study in Ethnic Mobility
Humbert S. Nelli (Oxford Univ. Press, 1970)

Polish Catholics in Chicago, 1850-1920: a Religious History
Joseph John Parot (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1982)

African Americans

Black Chicago’s First Century, 1833-1900
Christopher Robert Reed (Univ. of Missouri Press, 2005)

Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 1915-1952
Wallace D. Best (Princeton Univ. Press, 2005)

Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in the City
St. Clair Drake (Univ. of Chicago Press, rev. ed., 1993)

Black Power, White Control: The Struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago
John Hall Fish (Princeton Univ. Press, 1973)

Bitter Fruit: Black Politics and the Chicago Machine, 1931-1991
William J. Grimshaw (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995)

Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration
James R. Grossman (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991)

Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960
Arnold R. Hirsch (Univ. of Chicago Press, reprint ed., 1998)

Toward a Tenderer Humanity and a Nobler Womanhood : African-American Women’s Clubs in Turn-Of-The-Century Chicago
Anne Meis Knupfer (New York Univ. Press, 1996)

The Promised Land: the Great Black Migration and How It Changed America
Nicholas Lemann (Vintage Books, 1992)

Popular Fronts: Chicago and African-American Cultural Politics, 1935-46
Bill V. Mullen (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1999)

The Slum and the Ghetto: Immigrants, Blacks, and Reformers in Chicago, 1880-1930
Thomas L. Philpott (Wadsworth Publishing Co., 2nd ed., 1991)

The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership, 1910-1966
Christopher Robert Reed (Indiana Univ. Press, 1997)

Black Chicago: the Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920
Allan H. Spear (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1969)

Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919
William M. Tuttle (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997)

Labor & Industry

Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago’s Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922
James R. Barrett (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1990)

Pullman: An Experiment in Industrial Order and Community Planning, 1880-1930
Stanley Buder (Oxford Univ. Press, 1970)

Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939
Lizabeth Cohen (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992)

Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs
Philip S. Foner, ed. (Anchor Foundation, 1969)

WCFL: Chicago’s Voice of Labor, 1926-78
Nathan Godfried (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997)

Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago’s Packinghouses, 1904-54
Rick Halpern (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997)

Pride in the Jungle: Community and Everyday Life in Back of Yards Chicago
Thomas J. Jablonsky (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992)

Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922
Dominic Pacyga (Ohio State Univ. Press, 1991)

Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-97
Richard Schiernov (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1998)

Chicago’s Pride: The Stockyards, Packingtown, and Environs in the Nineteenth Century
Louis C. Wade (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1987)

Gender & Sexuality

Gender and the Politics of Welfare Reform: Mothers’ Pensions in Chicago, 1911-1929
Joanne L. Goodwin (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1997)

Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century
Kevin Mumford (Columbia Univ. Press, 1997)

Seeing with Their Hearts: Chicago Women and the Vision of the Good City, 1871-1933
Maureen A. Flanagan (Princeton Univ. Press, 2002)

Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930
Joanne Meyerowitz (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992)

The Women of Hull House: A Study in Spirituality, Vocation, and Friendship
Eleanor J. Stebner (State Univ. of New York Press, 1997)

Politics & Mayors

American Pharoah: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation
Adam Cohen (Back Bay Books, 2001)

Beyond the Martyrs: A Social History of Chicago’s Anarchists, 1870-1900
Bruce C. Nelson (Rutgers Univ. Press, 1988)

Big Bill Thompson, Chicago, and the Politics of Image
Douglas Bukowski (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1998)

Big City Boss in Depression and War: Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago
Roger Biles (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1984)

Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago
Mike Royko (Plume Books, reprint ed., 1988)

Chicago Divided: The Making of a Black Mayor
Paul Kleppner (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1985)

Harold, the People’s Mayor: The Authorized Biography of Mayor Harold Washington
Dempsey Travis (Urban Research Press, 1988)

A House for All Peoples: Ethnic Politics in Chicago, 1890-1936
John M. Alswang (Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1971)

The Mayors: the Chicago Political Tradition
Melvin G. Holli, ed. (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1995)

Richard J. Daley: Politics, Race, and the Governing of Chicago
Roger Biles (Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1995)

Schools and Institutions

The University of Illinois at Chicago: A Pictorial History
Fred W. Buettler, et al. (Arcadia Publishing, 2000)

A History of the University of Chicago: The First Quarter-Century
Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2003)

Decision-Making Chicago-Style: The Genesis of a University of Illinois Campus
George Rosen (Univ. of Illinois Press, 1980)

DePaul University: Centennial Essays and Images
John L. Rury (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1998)

Give the Lady What She Wants: The Story of Marshall Field & Company
George Wendt (And Books, 1979)

City of Courts : Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago
Michael Willrich (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003)