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Herman Kogan papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Kogan

Scope and Content of the Collection

Primarily materials pertaining to Herman Kogan's many book-length corporate histories.

Corporate histories include:The First Century: the Chicago Bar Association, 1874-1974, Traditions and Challenges: the Story of Sidley and Austin, Lending is Our Business: the Story of Household Finance Corporation, and Proud of the Past -- Committed to the Future (history of the Goss Printing Company).Also included are materials from two of Kogan's pictorial histories of Chicago, The Great Fire: Chicago 1871 and A Continuing Marvel: the Story of the Museum of Science and Industry, and also Lords of the Levee: the Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink, the story of notoriously corrupt Chicago aldermen at the turn of the century. Kogan had also begun a book project on A. N. Pritzker which was unfinished at the time of his death. An incomplete draft of this work and many folders of research and interviews with the Pritzkers is included in the Works series.

In addition, the collection also contains radio scripts and notes from Kogan's WFMT radio programs "Critics Choice" and "Writing and Writers," a few clippings of his newspaper writing, speeches, and a small amount of correspondence and personal materials.

Kogan had a highly organized filing system. Most of the archival folders were labeled directly after his own folder titles, and any notes taken on these folders were photocopied onto acid free paper and incorporated into the archival folders.


  • Creation: approximately 1869-1985
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1985



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Herman Kogan papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Herman Kogan papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Herman Kogan

Chicago journalist and corporate historian.

Herman Kogan was born in Chicago on November 6, 1914 to parents Isaac and Ida Periman Kogan. He attended college at the University of Chicago and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1936 where he was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He served in the Marine Corps in Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and China.

Kogan had a long and wide ranging career that was immersed in the news and history of the city of Chicago. He began in 1930 as a high school reporter and copyboy with the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Evening Post. After graduating from University of Chicago he was hired full time by what would eventually become Field Enterprises. He spent the next several decades working under the Field umbrella as a reporter, feature and editorial writer, book and drama critic. While at the Chicago Daily News he created and edited its popular news magazine Panorama. In 1965 he was hired as assistant general manager of news at the Field owned television station WFLD and won several awards, including three Emmy's, for his programming. Following his stint in television, he returned to newspaper writing at the Chicago Sun-Times as editor of Book Week, the paper's literary supplement. Kogan retired in 1976, but retained the title of corporate historian for Field Enterprises.

Kogan kept busy after his official retirement, writing several book-length corporate histories for Chicago area companies such as the Goss Printing Press Company and the Sidley and Austin law firm. He also wrote several books on Chicago history, including Lords of the Levee: the Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink, and The Great Fire, Chicago, 1871. In addition to his historical writing, he hosted two WFMT radio programs on books, "Critics Choice" and "Writing and Writers."

Kogan's first wife was Alice Marie Schutt who he later divorced. He remarried in 1950 to Marilew C. Lowry and had two sons, Rick and Mark. Herman Kogan died of a heart attack while taking his daily walk near his home in New Buffalo, Michigan on March 9, 1989.


13 Linear Feet (31 boxes)


Works, professional correspondence, and photographs of Chicago journalist and corporate historian Herman Kogan.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Works, approximately 1869-1985
Boxes 1-29
Series 2: Personal, 1966-1981
Box 30
Series 3: Photographs, 1871-approximately 1970s
Box 31

Collection Stack Location

1 23 6-7


Gift of Marilew Kogan, ca. 1991.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen and Shannon Yule, 2007.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Herman Kogan papers, approximately 1869-1985, bulk 1970-1985
Lisa Janssen
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States