Mysterious matchbook

Mysterious matchbook

Mysterious matchbook

You know thinking about this show the idea of what belongs in a museum takes me back to the idea of doing research and trying to find out about objects. Any artifact that belongs in a museum should express some fundamental truth through its existence, the very fact that it exists should matter and tell us something important. […]

For those of you who don’t know: Mayor from 1915 – 1923 and 1927 – 1931 William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson. He’s mostly remembered for two things: being the last Republican mayor in Chicago (no sign of that changing any time soon) and also being completely in the bag for organized crime. […]

So when I saw this matchbook for sale on that ultimate resource for all scholarship, Ebay, I jumped on it. Other aspects about it were even more interesting, getting beyond mere Chicago politics into the entertainment culture. On the other side of it here, I don’t know if you can see that, Jim Colosimo’s Café, The Cats Pajamas, Starring Al Jolson, Texas Guinan, M.C., Isham Jones Ragtime Bang, A. Capone, Manager. […]

So I took this as a research assignment, to dig into the provenance of this artifact and tease out the connections between people and events that make the past, and that make things worth putting in museums.

Note: We don’t want to give away everything Bill Savage discovered about this matchbook.

Click here to read the transcript of the entire talk. 

Exhibited by Bill Savage

Transcript edited by S. Crawford

 

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