Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Dominic A. Pacyga  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: May 1, 1949

-- Dominic A. Pacyga on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Pacyga was born and raised in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood and attended De La Salle Institute. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, receiving a Ph. D. in 1981.

Biographical and Professional Information

Pacyga has been a member of the Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences at Columbia College/Chicago since 1984. He has lectured and written widely on topics ranging from urban development, residential architecture, labor history, immigration, and racial and ethnic relations, and has appeared in both the local and national media. Pacyga has worked with various museums including the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Field Museum in Chicago on a variety of public history projects. He has also worked with numerous neighborhood organizations as well as ethnic, labor, and fraternal groups to preserve and exhibit their histories. In both 1999 and 2011 he received the Columbia College Award for Excellence in Teaching. Pacyga has been a Visiting Professor at both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2005 he was a Visiting Fellow at Campion Hall, Oxford University.Along with the books written below, Pacyga was also the co-editor of ''The Chicago Bungalow'' with Charles Shanabruch.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Chicago: A Historical Guide to the Neighborhoods
ISBN: 0226104133

Chicago Historical Society. 1979

Offers a history of Chicago from the explorations of Joliet and Marquette in 1673 to the urban pioneers of the present day, providing profiles of the city's great reformers, industrialists, politicians, and gangsters, as well as exploring the lives of Chicago's ordinary citizens and the neighborhoods they call home.

Chicago City of Neighborhoods: Histories and Tours
ISBN: 082940497X

Loyola University Press. 1986

Book by Dominic A. Pacyga, Ellen Skerrett

Chicago's Southeast Side (Images of America)
ISBN: 073853403X

Arcadia Publishing. 1998

Steel and the steel industry are the backbone of
Chicago’s southeast side, an often overlooked
neighborhood with a rich ethnic heritage. Bolstered by the prosperous steel industry, the community attracted numerous, strong-willed people with a
desire to work from distinct cultural backgrounds. In recent years, the vitality of the steel industry has diminished. Chicago’s Southeast Side displays many rare and interesting pictures that capture the spirit of the community when the steel industry was a vibrant force. Although annexed in 1889 by the city of Chicago, the community has maintained its own identity through the years. In an attempt to remain connected to their homelands, many immigrants established businesses, churches, and organizations to ease their transition to a new and unfamiliar land. The southeast side had its own schools, shopping districts, and factories. As a result, it became a prosperous, yet separate, enclave within the city of Chicago.

Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922
ISBN: 0226644243

University of Chicago Press. 2003

How did working-class immigrants from Poland create new communities in Chicago during the industrial age? This book explores the lives of immigrants in two iconic South Side Polish neighborhoods—the Back of the Yards and South Chicago—and the stockyards and steel mills in which they made their living. Pacyga shows how Poles forged communities on the South Side in an attempt to preserve the customs of their homeland how through the development of churches, the building of schools, the founding of street gangs, and the opening of saloons they tried to recreate the feel of an Eastern European village. Through such institutions, Poles also were able to preserve their folk beliefs and family customs. But in time, the economic hardships of industrialization forced Poles to reach out to their non-Polish neighbors. And this led, in large part, to the organization of labor unions in Chicago's steel and meatpacking industries.

Chicago: A Biography
ISBN: 0226644286

University of Chicago Press. 2011

Chicago has been called by many names. Nelson Algren declared it a “City on the Make.” Carl Sandburg dubbed it the “City of Big Shoulders.” Upton Sinclair christened it “The Jungle,” while New Yorkers, naturally, pronounced it “the Second City.”

At last there is a book for all of us, whatever we choose to call Chicago. In this magisterial biography, historian Dominic Pacygatraces the storied past of his hometown, from the explorations of Joliet and Marquette in 1673 to the new wave of urban pioneers today. The city’s great industrialists, reformers, and politicians—and, indeed, the many not-so-great and downright notorious—animate this book, from Al Capone and Jane Addams to Mayor Richard J. Daley and President Barack Obama. But what distinguishes this book from the many others on the subject is its author’s uncommon ability to illuminate the lives of Chicago’s ordinary people. Raised on the city’s South Side and employed for a time in the stockyards, Pacyga gives voice to the city’s steelyard workers and kill floor operators, and maps the neighborhoods distinguished not by Louis Sullivan masterworks, but by bungalows and corner taverns.

Filled with the city’s one-of-a-kind characters and all of its defining moments, Chicago: A Biography is as big and boisterous as its namesake—and as ambitious as the men and women who built it.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Contact information

Professor Dominic A. Pacyga Department of Humanities, History, and Social Science Columbia College 600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60643 Telephone 312-369-7531 Email