Oscar Wilde In America


DETAiled verification of Oscar Wilde’s lecture tour of North America

Chicago

Illinois


Central Music-Hall

Monday, February 13, 1882


The Decorative Arts

See Clarification Below

Verification

Newspaper report

The Chicago Tribune, Feb 14, 1882


In his lectures Wilde often included local references, where possible, and while in Chicago he took the opportunity to comment on Chicago's imposing (154 feet) 1869 water tower which he called "a castellated monstrosity with pepper-boxes stuck all over it".


Many Chicagoans were offended. For the full story see The Chicago Water Tower.


Wilde lectured again in Chicago on March 11, 1882.

Venue


Central Music-Hall

SE corner of State and Randolph Streets, Chicago, IL


Built: Dankmar Adler, 1879

Demolished: 1900


This was the first important building designed by Adler in which he made use of his knowledge of acoustics. It was replaced in 1900, around the time Adler died, in order to build the Marshall Field & Company store, now Macy's. Wilde met Marshall Field at a reception given for him in Chicago (see below).


Related

Central Music Hall (Wikipedia)

The Chicago Tribune, Mar 12th, 1882.

Errata


Correction of Beckson (The Oscar Wilde Encyclopedia)


An entry by Beckson indicated on his itinerary comparison mistakenly shows an additional lecture by Wilde in Chicago two days earlier on February 11th; this is a confusion with Wilde's return visit to Chicago on March 11th. Contemporary newspapers clearly indicate that the lecture on February 13th was Wilde's first in Chicago and the lecture on March 11th his second.

Accommodation


The Grand Pacific Hotel *

Occupying the block bounded by Clark, Quincy, LaSalle and Jackson Streets


Built: 1873 (William W. Boyington, architect)

Rooms: 460

Partial demolished and rebuilt: 1895-98.


* The second hotel of this name after the original was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871). It was itself replaced by a hotel of the same name in 1895-98.


Related:

Chicagology

Wilde Hogs

The Inter Ocean, Chicago 1 March 1882, 8

Socializing


A group of marble-front row houses at 2301-2035 South Prairie Avenue (built 1869). Mrs H.O. Stone who lived at 2035 gave a reception for Wilde at which, among others, he met department store founder Marshall Field (see below).

Recommended reading:

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Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2020