March 1, 2011

Historical Society honors Regenstein, Hyde Park Herald

Over 100 people turned out for the Hyde Park Historical Society’s annual award ceremony Saturday. Among those present were Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Grossman (A.B. ’59, Ph.D. ’65).

The recipients of the Paul Cornell Awards included the heads of the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center, as well as the Hyde Park Herald team that put 125 years of the publication’s digital archives online.

“The archive is getting used for what we hoped for,” said Hyde Park Herald publisher Bruce Sagan.

The awards, whose namesake is considered one of the founders of Hyde Park, are “intended to confer recognition upon persons who have preserved or extended our understanding and appreciation of Hyde Park’s history,” according to the Society’s website.

The Society presented its Marian and Leon Despres Preservation Award to Leon and Rian Walker for their historic rehabilitation of the Willard Gidwitz House at 4912 South Woodlawn Avenue. Ralph Rapson, the house’s architect, also designed the University’s Pick Hall.

The Jean Block Award went to Rebecca Janowitz for her recently published book Culture of Opportunity: Obama’s Chicago: The People, Politics and the Ideas of Hyde Park. In it, Janowitz discusses the history of Hyde Park, and argues that the neighborhood’s unique politics and culture helped shape President Barack Obama. The Jean Block Award is not annual and only goes to published works about Hyde Park.

Many of those present expressed a deep affection for the Hyde Park community. Maija Anderson, one of the Cornell Award recipients, said that she is “privileged to be…in the Hyde Park Community.”

Djanie Edwards, an eight-year member and lifelong Hyde Park resident, praised the Society’s work. “I’ve been fascinated with this area for whatever reason I cannot explain,” she said.