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Chicago Modernism:
The Importance of Chicago to Poetry and The Little Review

How is it that two of the most important little magazines of the modernist era—Poetry and The Little Review—started in Chicago, and just how important is Chicago to American and international modernism? Those are just two of the questions that I hope we can begin answering with the data I'm making available on this site. Drawing upon the catalogue records for the MJP's editions of Poetry and The Little Review, I've sought to identify where each contributor lived during the time of his or her contributions. This new information allows us to measure the “footprint” that Chicago-based authors had in these two journals from their inception in 1912 and 1914, respectively, through 1922; we can now determine what percentage of the contributors came from the Chicago area, what kinds of items these Chicagoans contributed, and how extensive their contributions were to either journal. And since I've amassed residence information for all of the contributors, we can also now measure how broad or concentrated the contributor network of each journal was, both in the United States and across the globe.

In Section 1 below, you'll find eight datasets for Poetry and The Little Review contributors available for download, along with a description of their contents. Section 2 offers some preliminary findings drawn from this information. Section 3 seeks to illustrate this information with a series of maps showing where contributors lived during the time of their contributions, and also data visualizations that represent the intersecting contributor networks of the two journals. Finally, Section 4 documents how I went about creating these new datasets, so my work will be as transparent as possible, and I've also outlined some ways we can develop this information moving forward.

I would like to thank the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Newberry Library in downtown Chicago, and especially Liesl Olson, Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry, for giving me the opportunity to work on this project during the summer of 2017, when I participated in the NEH-sponsored seminar "Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955," organized and directed by Dr. Olson. —Mark Gaipa