Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Louis "Studs" Terkel  

Pen Name: Studs Terkel

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: May 16, 1912 in New York City, New York

Died: October 31, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Wikipedia --

Illinois Connection

At the age of eight, Terkel moved with his parents to Chicago. He was raised and educated in Chicago and continued to live there the remainder of his life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Studs is an American author and historian. He has also been a Chicago radio and television broadcaster. He is known for his works in oral history. Terkel transcribes tape recorded interviews with ordinary people and edits them into powerful accounts of aspects of modern American life. He was always working on something new, all the way up until his death.



Finalist, National Book Award in Contemporary Affairs, 1975

The Good War

Pulitzer Prize, 1985

Other Awards and Honors

His name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990

National Humanities Medal, 1997

Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, The National Book Foundation, 1997

LGBT Hall of Fame, 2001

George Polk Career Award, 2003

National Book Critics Circle, 2003

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003

Illinois Literary Heritage Award, Illinois Center for the Book. 2006

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2010

Selected Titles At Your Library

American dreams, lost and found /
ISBN: 1565845455. OCLC Number: 6222488

Pantheon Books,. .

Presents 100 interviews with a cross section of American people, both famous and non-famous, who discuss their personal lives and ambitions.

And they all sang :
ISBN: 1595581189. OCLC Number: 58728725

New Press :. .

A selection of forty previously unpublished interviews with musicians from the past half-century includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian's discussions with such figures as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Louis Armstrong.

Chicago /
ISBN: 0394553373. OCLC Number: 13395874

. .

"Part history, part memoir, filled with anecdote, memory and personal reflection."--dust jacket.

Coming of age :
ISBN: 1595581723. OCLC Number: 190727224

New Press :. .

Giants of jazz /
ISBN: 156584999X. OCLC Number: 75396338

New Press,. .

Brief biographies of thirteen jazz musicians who have made major contributions to the development of this form of music.

Hard times :
ISBN: 1565846567. OCLC Number: 13358140

. .

"Persons of all ages, occupations, and classes scattered across the United States remember what they experienced or were told about the economic crisis of the 1930s. The result is a social document of immense interest."

My American century /
ISBN: 1565844696. OCLC Number: 36051350

New Press :. .

This anthology collects the most memorable interviews from eight of Terkel's earlier works: American Dreams, Hard Times, "The Good War," Division Street: America, Working, The Great Divide, Race, and Coming of Age. It also includes the introductions from each of those books, plus a foreword by Robert Coles which examines Terkel's writing.

P.S. :
ISBN: 1595584234. OCLC Number: 227016559

New Press :. .

"P.S. brings together these significant and deeply enjoyable writings for the first time and reflects Studs Terkel's wide-ranging interests and travels, as well as his abiding connection to his hometown, Chicago. Here we have a remarkable and moving conversation with James Baldwin, possibly Studs's finest interview with an author; vivid portraits of studs's heroes and cohorts; the transcript of Studs's famous broadcast on the Depression, the essence of what was to become Hard Times; and the transcript of his 1962 Prix Italls award-winning documentary Born to Live."--Jacket.

Race :
ISBN: 1565849892. OCLC Number: 966544954

. .

First published in 1992 at the height of the furor over the Rodney King incident, Studs Terkel's Race was an immediate bestseller. In a rare and revealing look at how people in America truly feel about race, Terkel brings out the full complexity of the thoughts and emotions of both blacks and whites, uncovering a fascinating narrative of changing opinions. Preachers and street punks, college students and Klansmen, interracial couples, the nephew of the founder of apartheid, and Emmett Till's mother are among those whose voices appear in Race. In all, nearly one hundred Americans talk openly about attitudes that few are willing to admit in public: Feelings about affirmative action, gentrification, secret prejudices, and dashed hopes.

Studs Terkel's Working :
ISBN: 1565846265. OCLC Number: 44313507

New Press,. .

Talking to myself :
ISBN: 0394411021. OCLC Number: 2597375

Pantheon Books,. .

"This memoir cuts across worlds, years and the vast spectrum of people that Terkel has known, from workers to famous stars, from Nobel Prize winners to ordinary folk ... Terkel uses some of the methods that have made his radio programs so famous. He cuts from a visit to Chief Luthuli in South Africa to a memoir of the McCarthy period, from growing up among the petty gangsters of Chicago in the thirties to confronting the bigger gangsters of our political life in the sixties, from acting in a radio soap opera to discussing film with Fellini ..."

The good war :
ISBN: 1565849450. OCLC Number: 56656327

New Press,. .

The Great Divide :
ISBN: 0394570537. OCLC Number: 17877496

Pantheon Books,. .

Studs Terkel interviews three college teachers, four farmers, a high school teacher, neighborhood organizer, stock broker, advertising executive, businesswomen, real estate broker, dentist, doctor, blue collar worker, professional strikebreaker, columnist, unemployed steelworker, lawyer, flight attendant, bartender, CPA, woman engineer, socialite, Congressman, nuclear physicist, author, waitress, KKK member, storyteller, gay activist, sanctuary worker, Christian fundamentalist, Tony Bouza, Erica Bouza, Maggie Kuhn, Victor Reuther, and peace activists Jean and Joe Gump.

The Studs Terkel interviews :
ISBN: 1595583599. OCLC Number: 181139940

New Press :. .

The Studs Terkel reader :
ISBN: 1595581774. OCLC Number: 85829996

New Press,. .

A collection of the best interviews from eight of Terkel's classic oral histories together with his introductions to each work.

Touch and go :
ISBN: 1595580433. OCLC Number: 124074902

New Press :. .

At nearly 95, Studs Terkel has written about everyone's life, it seems, but his own. Here he offers a memoir which--embodying the spirit of the man himself--is youthful and vivacious. Terkel begins by taking us back to his childhood, describing the hectic life of a family trying to earn a living in Chicago. He then goes on to his experiences--as a poll watcher charged with stealing votes for the Democratic machine, as a young theatergoer, and eventually as an actor himself in both radio and on the stage--giving us a portrait of the Chicago of the 1920s and 1930s. He tells of his beginnings as a disc jockey after World War II and as an interviewer and oral historian--a craft he would come to perfect. Finally, he discusses his involvement with progressive politics, leading to his travails during the McCarthy period when he was blacklisted.--From publisher description.

Will the circle be unbroken? :
ISBN: 0345451201. OCLC Number: 51897615

Ballantine Books,. .

"Presents interviews with a wide variety of people in which they discuss death and share their personal beliefs about the possibility of an afterlife; and includes conversations with people whose jobs bring them into contact with death on a regular basis."

ISBN: 0380002590. OCLC Number: 8661180

Avon,. .

Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happinesses on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives.