Nineteenth Precinct, First Ward, Chicago


A bold representation of vice and immorality in late 19th century Chicago.

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William Stead was a Victorian-era newspaper editor and social reformer who made his name with sensational articles decrying poor working conditions, inequality, and child welfare. Like many, he attended the 1893 World’s Fair held in Chicago, known as the Columbian Exposition.

While in the city, he became disgusted by the overtly corrupt political machine and apparently loose morals of the inhabitants. Stead chose to stay in the city for six months in order to write “If Christ Came to Chicago.” This book used a combination of religious exhortation, sensational interviews, lurid descriptions, and outright browbeating to compel its audience to push for significant reforms.

This map, which shows the 19th precinct in the first ward, was published as a foldout to accompany the text and uses bold color to highlight just one example of the city’s rampant vices. Stead identifies 46 saloons, 37 brothels, and 11 pawnbrokers in an area less than three square blocks in Chicago’s South Loop. He elected to use this precinct for illustrative purposes “not because it is an average precinct, but because it presents in an aggravated form most of the evils which are palpably not in accord with the mind of Christ. If Christ came to Chicago it is one of the last precincts into which we should care to take him.” Today, the area presented on the map is a popular district in the city known as Printer’s Row.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1894

Author: William Stead

Sheet Width (in): 10.25

Sheet Height (in): 7.25

Condition: B

Condition Description: Disbound from the 1894 paperback copy. Several small binding holes along centerfold have been reinforced on the verso with archival tape. Two within the image show old paper repairs and ink fill.


1 in stock