One of Chicago's most famous storytellers would have turned 100 Wednesday, and the city is showing its respects with a host of tributes to one of our favorite locals.
During his life as a broadcaster, author, activist and oral historian, Terkel helped shape the identity of this city, this country, and entire generations.
On Saturday, the Studs Terkel Bridge that stretches over the Chicago River at Division Street was rededicated, and on his birthday, The Newberry Library will host a party in his honor, with stories from his colleagues and devotees, including Alex Kotlowitz, Alison Cuddy and Jon Langford.
Interested in learning more about the man of the hour? Take a guided tour of his archival footprint at the Chicago History Museum's “100 Years of Studs Terkel” lecture, led by WFMT’s critic-at-large Andrew Patner.
Film screenings, readings, and other events will mark Terkel's 100th birthday across the city. Check out the full list of events at the Studs Terkel Centenary website, and peruse some of our favorite memories and quotes of his below:
"People are hungry for stories. It's part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another."
"Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt."
"Curiosity never killed this cat' -- that's what I'd like as my epitaph."
Terkel (far right) with Princeton historian Arno Mayer (center) and author Kurt Vonnegut (left), at a protest against the closure of Pantheon Books.
"More and more we are into communications; and less and less into communication."
"I'm not an optimist. I'm hopeful."
"'Ordinary' is a word I loathe. It has a patronizing air. I have come across ordinary people who have done extraordinary things."
"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying."
Terkel recalls the Maxwell Street Schleppers.
Terkel was a regular guest on Democracy Now!