A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 07, 2019
City of Big Shoulders or City of Broad Shoulders (Chicago nickname)

American poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) called Chicago, Illinois, the “City of the Big Shoulders” in his poem “Chicago” that was published in Poetry magazine in March 1914. The “Big Shoulders” nickname has endured, often written as “City of Big Shoulders” (without “the").

“City of (the) Broad Shoulders” is a popular misreading of the poem. “He (Carl Sandburg—ed.) has celebrated the vitality of Chicago, his city of the broad shoulders, hog-butcher for the world” was printed in Red Book Magazine (New York, NY) in March 1936.


Wikipedia: Chicago
Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/, locally also /-ˈkɔː-/), officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America (after Mexico City, New York City and Los Angeles).

Wikipedia: Chicago (poem)
“Chicago” is a poem by Carl Sandburg, about the U.S. city of Chicago. It first appeared in Poetry, March 1914, the first of nine poems collectively titled “Chicago Poems”. It was republished in 1916 in Sandburg’s first mainstream collection of poems, also titled Chicago Poems.

Sandburg moved to Chicago in 1912 after living in Milwaukee, where he had served as secretary to Emil Seidel, Milwaukee’s Socialist mayor. Harriet Monroe, a fellow resident of Chicago, had founded the magazine Poetry in 1912. Monroe liked and encouraged Sandburg’s plain-speaking free verse style, strongly reminiscent of Walt Whitman. Chicago Poems established Sandburg as a major figure in contemporary literature.
(...)
One of Chicago’s many nicknames, “City of the Big Shoulders,” is taken from the poem’s fifth line.

Poetry Foundation (from Poetry, March 1914)
Chicago
BY CARL SANDBURG
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

16 March 1914, The Dial, “New Lamps for Old,” pg. 231, col. 2:
What we are about to say is concerned mainly about the art of poetry, which accounts for the Wordsworthian text, and also for the following collocation of words descriptive of Chicago:

“Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,
Stormy. husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders.”


Here a word of explanation is needed. The typographical arrangement of this jargon creates a suspicion that it is intended to be taken as some form of poetry, and the suspicion is confirmed by the fact that it stands in the forefront of the latest issue of a futile little periodical described as “a magazine of verse.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Chicago. U.S.A. Designed by Charles Turzak and Henry T. Chapman. Copyright, 1931, by Houghton Mifflin Company. Litho. in U.S.A. The Tudor Press, Boston. (on borders) An illustrated map of Chicago : youthful city of the big shoulders, restless, ingenious, wilful, violent, proud to be alive.
Author: Charles Turzak; Henry T Chapman; Tudor Press.
Publisher: Boston, Mass. : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1931.
Edition/Format: Map : English

March 1936, Red Book Magazine (New York, NY), “Living the Life of Lincoln Anew” by Harry Hansen, pg. 20, col. 2:
CARL SANDBURG, poet, biographer and singer of folk-songs, has the tall, lean figure of Lincoln; he has his calm way of looking thoughtfully at an object before speaking, and using the plain, homely words that grow in the prairie towns of the Middle West. he has sung of the prairie—the milk of its wheat, the red of its clover, the eyes of its women—as he has talked in verse about hodcarriers, teamsters and bricklayers of the towns, and as he has celebrated the vitality of Chicago, his city of the broad shoulders, hog-butcher for the world.

4 March 1937, State-Times (Baton Rouge, LA), pg. 4, col. 2:
THE SMELL OF WILD ONIONS
Because of national interest in Chicago, the city, this editorial from the Chicago Daily News is of particular interest:
(...)
“This was Chicago. City of the Broad Shoulders and big enterprise, city of millionaires, of the opera, the Art Institute; ...

6 October 1937, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Europe Applauds Roosevelt: President in Chicago Says Peace Loving Lands Must Act” by Parke Brown, pg. 2, col. 1:
Another Job Done, Says Mayor.
They particularly seemed to like this (Mayor—ed.) Kelly expression:

“Chicago—the city of the broad shoulders and big heart—has finished another job.”

17 July 1940, Lexington (KY) Herald, pg. 4, col. 1:
Here Comes An American!”
By Tom R.Underwood,
Editor, The Herald
CHICAGO, July 16—Chicago, the “city of broad shoulders that came up the hard way,” is getting a sample of democracy that has taken over this city in “the American way.”

20 June 1953, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Americans Have Nicknamed 1,500 Cities” by Warren Bennett, pg. 19, col. 6:
Chicago, for instance, has 27. It is ‘The Windy City,” “Railroad Capital of the World,” “The City of Broad Shoulders,” “Hog Killer for the World” but it is also the “Crime Capital,” “Porkopolis” and “The City with Two Faces.”

OCLC WorldCat record
City of the big shoulders : the market ... : the media ...
Author: Chicago Tribune (Firm). Advertising Department.
Publisher: [Chicago] : Chicago Tribune Advertising Dept., ©1967.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
City of big shoulders.
Author: David Gill; Iain Cuthbertson; Richard J Daley; Thames Television, ltd.
Publisher: London : Thames, 1976.
Series: Destination America.
Edition/Format: VHS video : VHS tape : NTSC color broadcast system Visual material : English
Summary:
Polish immigrants were the driving force behind Chicago’s remarkable industrial growth. But they never achieved political cohesiveness, and while a million Poles now live in Chicago, their political power is not commensurate with the number of votes they cast.

OCLC WorldCat record
The city of big shoulders is sweet on modern sculpture
Author: James L Riedy
Publisher: Chicago : Inland Steel Co., ©1982.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
City of big shoulders : a history of Chicago
Author: Robert Guy Spinney
Publisher: DeKalb, Ill : Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 2000.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Summary:
A history connecting Chicago’s swampy beginnings in the 1600s, its growth as the world’s “hog butcher”, and its late-20th-century balance of politics, race and ethnicity. Synthesizing a vast body of literature, Robert Spinney presents Chicago in terms of the people whose lives made the city

OCLC WorldCat record
City of the big shoulders : an anthology of Chicago poetry
Author: Ryan G Van Cleave
Publisher: Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 2012.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Summary:
The poetic conversations inspired by Chicago have long been a vital part of America’s literary landscape, from Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks to experimental writers and today’s slam poets. The one hundred contributors to this vibrant collection take their materials and their inspirations from the city itself in a way that continues this energetic dialogue

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesWindy City, Second City, Chi-Town (Chicago nicknames) • Tuesday, May 07, 2019 • Permalink