Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Cahan  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Richard Cahan on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Cahan lives in Skokie.

Biographical and Professional Information

Richard Cahan is a former picture editor for the ''Chicago Sun-Times'' and was the director of CITY 2000. He has written several books about photography and is one of the founders of CityFiles Press in Chicago.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

They All Fall Down: Richard Nickel's Struggle to Save America's Architecture
ISBN: 0471144266

Wiley. 1994

"Richard Nickel, whom I had the delight of knowing during his all too brief life, is one of the unsung heroes of Chicago architecture. He was not an architect himself, nor a designer. He simply took pictures, but what pictures! He was, for want of a better description, one of the most sensitive of architectural photographers. More than that, his life—and ironically, tragically and poetically, his death—were fused to Chicago architecture. How he died tells us how he lived: for the beauty in the works of Sullivan, Wright and the others. His story is one that must be told."
Studs Terkel, author

"He was completely understanding of architecture and genius and of the quality of the work he was dealing with. He was single-minded in his pursuit and dedication to quality in history, art and architecture. That is an increasingly rare quality."
Ada Louise Huxtable, former New York Times architecture critic

"Richard was an excellent photographer—sensitive and intelligent, and a very good craftsman".
John Szarkowski, former Director, Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York

"Richard Nickel was one of those who saw architecture, and who passionately and skillfully pursued its portrayal. He was one of a very small number, and to make his work known would be a fundamental service to architects, students, and teachers as well as to the art of architecture."
Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., architectural historian

The Game That Was: The George Brace Baseball Photo Collection
ISBN: 0809230739

Contemporary Books. 1997

A unique collection of photographs offers an intimate, behind-the-scenes visual chronicle of baseball players from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s

Chicago : Rising from the Prairie
ISBN: 1886483469

Heritage Pub Co. 2000

Chicago. It's a city of giants. From the Auditorium Building to the Sears Tower. Louis Sullivan, Richard Wright and Clarence Darrow - they have all left their mark. But Chicago rises from the prairie because millions of people call it home and have worked hard to make it great. People such as Gurdon S. Hubbard, the pioneer who loved a Native American princess, and Robert S. Abbott who called Chicago the Promised Land. People such as Margaret Anderson, the siren of Chicago's literary past, and John Peter Altgeld who signed his own political death sentence. From the Great Chicago Fire to the Great Migration, author Richard Cahan explores Chicago, its events and its people. He has found an epic story and used unforgettable photos to illustrate what makes the city so special. To turn these pages is to travel through the enchanted world of Chicago from 1830 through 1945. With an introductory message from Chciago Mayor Richard M. Daley, this is a people's history of a dynamic city. Cahan uses mementos - postcards, sheet music, newspapers, woodcuts, matchbook covers, posters, stereographs, police records, souvenirs and ticket stubs - to bring home the sweet story of Chicago.

A Court That Shaped America : Chicago's Federal District Court from Abe Lincoln to Abbie Hoffman
ISBN: 0810119811

Northwestern University Press. 2002

Big and small dramas play out every day in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Headquartered in Chicago, the court has played a pivotal role in U.S. history. This is where Abraham Lincoln, as a young lawyer, changed the direction of westward expansion when he argued that trains-not steamships-were America's future. This is where Al Capone met his fall, at a trial that finished him as Public Enemy Number One. And this is where Abbie Hoffman, the nation's first Yippie, butted heads with Judge Julius J. Hoffman and the Establishment at the trial known as the Conspiracy Eight.

A Court That Shaped America traces the flesh-and-blood courtroom scenes from the district's first cases in the early nineteenth century through the turn of the millennium. Historical figures--including Mormon leader Joseph Smith, inventor Thomas Edison, and author Mark Twain--as well as contemporary superstars like Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey have all had their day in the Northern Illinois court. Some were victorious some came out scathed. This book examines these great trials and the people behind them to offer a unique look at Chicago and U.S. history.

Real Chicago
ISBN: 0972545638

Chicago's Neighborhoods, Inc.. 2004

"Real Chicago: Photographs from the Files of the Chicago Sun-Times" is an artistic and historical look at Chicago since 1940 based on photographs from the files of the Chicago Sun-Times. The book includes 250 duotone, black and white photographs, and an introduction by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert

Real Chicago Sports
ISBN: 0972545662

Chicago's Neighborhoods, Inc.. 2005

A seventy-five year look, from 1930 through the 2005 World Championship Chicago White Sox,at Chicago sports through 288 pages of 375 duotone, black and white photographs from the files of the Chicago Sun-Times. The book also includes an introduction by Rick Telander, sports columnist of the Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago under Glass: Early Photographs from the Chicago Daily News
ISBN: 0226089304

University of Chicago Press. 2007

When the Chicago Daily News closed its doors in March 1978 after over a century of publication, the city mourned the loss of an American original. The Daily News boasted the inventive, aggressive writing of such luminaries as Carl Sandburg and Ben Hecht. It was also one of the first newspapers in the country to feature black-and-white photography. In 1900, staffers from the paper’s art department began lugging bulky cameras, heavy glass plates, and explosive flash powder throughout the city. A labor strike, a boxing match, or a crime scene—it was all in a day’s work for the Daily News photographer.

These cameramen helped sell papers, but, as Mark Jacob and Richard Cahan reveal, they also made art. Chicago under Glass: Early Photographs from the Chicago Daily News is the first collection of images from the photo staff’s early years, 1901 to 1930. Jacob and Cahan, seasoned journalists themselves, have selected more than 250 images—many of which have never before been published—from the nearly 57,000 glass negatives housed at the Chicago History Museum. They include rare photographs of a young Buster Keaton with his wife and child, waiting to board a train and the notorious Al Capone outside a courtroom, smoking a cigar and consulting with his lawyer. Each thematic section begins with a fascinating introduction by the authors, and each image is accompanied by insightful historical commentary.

These fragile glass records are a remarkable piece of American history. Together, they capture a time of massive change and stark contrasts, the defining years in a place Nelson Algren called “Hustlertown.” From candid shots of the Eastland steamer disaster to the glittering electric lights of the White City amusement park and the grim aftermath of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, the history these images reveal is not simply the story of Chicago, but the history of the modern American city.

Richard Nickel's Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City
ISBN: 0978545028

CityFiles Press. 2008

Richard Nickel is an urban legend of sorts. He is remembered for his brave and lonely stand to protect Chicago's great architecture, and for his dramatic death in the rubble of the Stock Exchange Building. He is remembered, too, for the photographs he left behind. This is a book about one man's relationship with his city, a remarkably personal story told through compelling photographs. Richard Nickel's Chicago is for people who love the city, and for people all over the world who value city life.

Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America
ISBN: 097854501X

CityFiles Press. 2006

Since the first snapshots were taken in 1888, Americans have used simple, inexpensive cameras to record their life stories. In the process, they have left behind millions of pictures that document the story of America. Now, for the first time, these personal photographs have been gathered together to tell the nation's history.

Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home: Chicago's Forgotten Renaissance Man
ISBN: 0978545052

CityFiles Press. 2009

Embracing old-world skills in a technological age, Edgar Miller was Chicago’s last Renaissance artist. He was a fine painter, a master wood carver, and one of the nation’s foremost stained glass designers. He could sculpt, draw hunting portraits, and was considered a pioneer in the use of graphic art in modern advertising. His artistic genius came together in four artistic studios he built on Chicago’s north side in the 1920s and 1930s. He touched almost every inch of the studios with daring and surprise. He took rustic brick, crude stone, salvaged tile, found glass, steel, and wood, then “Edgarized” the homes with stained glass windows, frescos, murals, tile work, and wood carving. This collection contains over 400 images of the homes, which remarkably remain intact today.

The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond
ISBN: 0978545079

CityFiles Press. 2011

IPPY Award Gold Medalist for Great Lakes: Best Regional Non-Fiction

With more than 150 never-before-published duotone images, taken between 1892 and 1930, this collection explores the history of the Chicago River and the impact its reversal had on the watershed all the way to the Mississippi River. Offering the most complete description available of the river reversal, the stories told here provide a better understanding as to how it was done and why it was necessary, as well as how the water from the Chicago River is treated. The photographs were pulled from a glass plate photo collection taken by the Sanitary District of Chicago.

Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows
ISBN: 0978545095

CityFiles Press. 2012

Presenting her breathtaking photographs alongside revealing interviews with those who knew her best, this volume is the first attempt to put Vivian Maier's work in context and create a moving portrait of her as an artist. Though she created more than 120,000 negatives during her lifetime, only a few were ever seen by others. Shortly after her death in 2009, the first group of her unseen photographs--gritty with humanity and filled with empathy and beauty--were shown online. What followed was a firestorm of attention, catapulting Maier from previous obscurity to being labeled as one of the masters of street photography. Her work has appeared in numerous museum exhibits and a feature-length documentary on her life and art has already been planned. Features more than 300 duotone photos printed on 105# paper with flood varnish.

Eye to Eye: Photographs by Vivian Maier
ISBN: 0991541804

CityFiles Press. 2014

Since her death in 2009, Vivian Maier has become a photographic phenomenon. Her story—thousands of photo negatives and prints found in a storage locker and sold for pennies at auction—has stirred millions around the world. Maier was a painfully private woman who now speaks powerfully through the photographs she took only for herself. This new collection offers readers a chance to follow Maier as she travels the world, including images of France, Italy, Malaysia, Yemen, Puerto Rico, and America. These eye-to-eye portraits, published for the first time, are the single constant in her lifetime of photographic work. Maier is often cast as a quirky, antisocial character, moving on the outskirts of real connection. But these photographs show something more. Printed with the latest technology, the book utilizes a modified four-color process that produces images akin to traditional silver gelatin prints. Combined with 15u stochastic screening, Maier's 96 photographs in this volume are spectacularly sharp, full-range black-and-white reproductions.

Richard Nickel Dangerous Years: What He Saw and What He Wrote
ISBN: 0991541839

CityFiles Press. 2015

Devoting his life to save America's architecture, Richard Nickel was inflamed by the destruction of what he perceived to be art and disturbed by what this destruction said about the society in which we lived. Today he is remembered through the photographs he left behind as well as the thousands of notes and letters--funny, angry, and always eloquent--that detail a life of passion and determination. He took risks, spoke his mind, and championed an oversized cause. His rebellion against the shortsighted disregard of an American genius, the architect Louis Sullivan, appeals to a new generation interested in conservation--whether of old buildings or natural resources. This book is a collection of more than 200 letters and photographs that will inspire and intrigue readers. Images of Chicago buildings include the Garrick Building, the Chicago Stock Exchange, and the Auditorium Theater. Images of American buildings include Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower in Oklahoma and Louis Sullivan's banks in Iowa and Ohio.

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