Bessie Louise Pierce

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Bessie Louise Pierce
Born 20 April 1888
Caro, Michigan
Died 3 October 1974
Iowa City, Iowa
Occupation Historian

Bessie Louise Pierce (20 April 1888 – 3 October 1974) was an American historian[1] known for her three-volume work, A History of Chicago.[2]

Pierce was born in Caro, Michigan[2] and grew up in Waverly, Iowa.[3] She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Iowa and obtained a master's degree at the University of Chicago in 1918.[3] She joined the faculty of the University of Iowa history department under Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., who urged her to get a doctorate.[4]

In 1929, she returned to the University of Chicago at the request of Charles Edward Merriam to oversee the History of Chicago project.[3] For the Century of Progress in 1933, she wrote As Others See Chicago: Impressions of Visitors, 1673–1933.[4] She then began her most notable work, A History of Chicago. The first two volumes were published in 1937 and 1940. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1955.[5] She completed the third volume in 1957, three years after she retired[2] and became a professor emeritus.[6] Pierce began work on a fourth volume, which was to cover the years 1894 to 1915,[6] but it was never completed. She returned to Iowa in 1973 and died the following year.[2]

Notable works

  • As Others See Chicago: Impressions of Visitors, 1673–1933. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933.
  • A History of Chicago, volume 1: The Beginning of a City, 1673-1848. New York : A.A. Knopf, 1937. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-226-66839-0
  • A History of Chicago, volume 2: From Town to City, 1848-1871. New York : A.A. Knopf, 1940. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-226-66840-6
  • A History of Chicago, volume 3: The Rise of a Modern City, 1871-1893. New York : A.A. Knopf, 1957. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-226-66842-0


  1. "Pierce, Bessie Louise". American National Biography. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Kogan, Rick (February 7, 2014). "Bessie Louise Pierce: Gatekeeper to Chicago history". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 26, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Moss, Ruth (June 15, 1958). "Chicago's Boswell: Bessie Pierce Chronicles Vivid Life of the City She Loves." Chicago Daily Tribune, p. G45.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hutchinson, Louise (Aug. 29, 1965). "Distinguished Chicagoans: She Labors 36 Years to Write Chicago's History." Chicago Tribune, p. B3.
  5. "Fellows". Guggenheim Foundation. Retrieved 31 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Powers, Irene (March 3, 1967). "Chicago Chronicler, Miss Pierce, Honored." Chicago Tribune, p. B18.