Chicago’s First Progressive Movement

at The Newberry - Near North Side

Course Details
$205 4 seats left
Start Date:

Thu, Feb 16, 2:00pm - Mar 16, 3:30pm Central Time ( 5 sessions )

Near North Side, Downtown/Loop
60 W Walton St
Btwn N Clark & N Dearborn Streets
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Purchase Options
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Mark D. McGarvie

What you'll learn in this history lesson:

With a focus on Avant Garde writer Mary Field Parton, this class will put today's progressive movement in historical context and draw parallels between it and its predecessor from a century ago.

The life of Avant Garde writer and progressive crusader, Mary Field Parton (1878-1969) serves as a means of understanding the intellectual and political bases of progressivism and the social discontent it fomented in the early 20th century.

Parton embraced pragmatic principles in her life as a settlement house worker in Chicago, mistress of Clarence Darrow, advocate of free love, and supporter of organized labor. Her life can be seen as embodying the intellectual and behavioral inconsistencies that plagued the progressive movement and caused its failure after World War I.

This class will put today's progressive movement in historical context and draw parallels between it and its predecessor from a century ago.

Historian Mark McGarvie, JD PhD, has published four books and numerous essays. He has taught in American colleges and law schools, as a Fulbright Scholar in Croatia, and as a visiting professor at Cambridge University in England. He completed a post-doctoral Golieb Fellowship in legal history at NYU.



  • Mark Douglas McGarvie, The Pragmatic Ideal: Mary Field Parton and the Pursuit of a Progressive Society. NIU through Cornell University Press, 2022. ISBN: 9781501762666

First Reading:

  • No first reading assignment

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Refund Policy
Requests for refunds must be received in writing. To request a refund, email us at [email protected] The Seminars Office retains a 10% processing fee. For single- and two-session seminars, tuition (less the 10% processing fee) is refundable until one day before the seminar begins. For seminars meeting more than twice, tuition (less the 10% processing fee) is refundable until one day prior to the second class meeting; we cannot give a refund once the seminar has met a second time. Requests for refunds may be placed over the phone, but must be received in writing or via email before the class meets a second time.

After this the class has met (for the second time in a longer course) we pay our instructors and do not give any refunds. We do not offer letters of credit.

If the seminar fails to reach a minimum of seven registrations before the early registration deadline (one week before the first day of the term), the seminar will be canceled and all participants will be fully refunded. The instructor is required to teach the seminar if it reaches seven registrations prior to the early registration deadline. In some cases, a seminar may be offered with fewer than seven registrations at the option of the instructor.


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Start Dates (1)
Start Date Time Teacher # Sessions Price
2:00pm - 3:30pm Central Time Mark D. McGarvie 5 $205
This course consists of multiple sessions, view schedule for sessions.

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The Newberry is home to a world-class collection of books, manuscripts, maps, music, and other handmade and printed materials related to the history and culture of Western Europe and the Americas. The collections span many centuries and feature items such as illuminated medieval manuscripts, rare early...

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