From a store, Elmer purchased work pants like the ones shown in this advertisement in April. The following month officials reprimanded him for wearing those pants to work. He angrily wrote in his diary that his employer wanted a “stake” in uniform sales. He meant that the company wanted to make money from its employees buying its pants.
Listen to a former Chicago Transit Authority train operator describe a 1977 accident and her own experiences.
Accidents commonly occurred on Chicago’s busy and dangerous streets during the late 1890s. In November, an Italian American boy, "Toney," collided with Elmer's streetcar. Luckily, Toney was only knocked down.
Listen while a former Chicago Transit Authority train operator recalls the 2011 blizzard on the Purple Line in Chicago's northern suburb of Evanston, Illinois.
While these sleigh riders enjoyed their winter wonderland, Elmer wrote about the “worst snowstorm in years.” In February, 84 mile per hour winds forced transportation workers to harness “4 horses [rather than the usual 2] … on each car all day.”
Hear a retired Chicago Transit Authority train operator describe workplace friendships.
Streetcar conductors dressed with a sense of formality and neatness as employers required them to appear presentable. However, horses hooves often splattered mud onto horsecar conductors like Elmer. He couldn't avoid getting dirty.
In 1889, former Chicago police detective Dan Coughlin murdered Dr. P. H. Cronin of the Irish-American organization Clan-na-Gael. Despite Elmer's membership in the American Protective Association, an anti-Catholic society, he disgustedly declared Coughlin’s 1894 prison release “a shame to Cook County."
Curatorial Team – Madison Higgs, Sarah Howard, Kira S. Light, Joseph Magnelli, Derek Potts, and Peter T. Alter
Curatorial Assistant – Pieter de Tombe
Editors - Emily H. Nordstrom and Jill M. Walker
Rights and Reproductions – Angela Hoover and Sarah Yarrito
Photographers – Joseph Aaron Campbell and Stephen J. Jensen