Emily Cabot is a graduate of Wellesley College when the University of Chicago opens in 1892 and she is invited to come from Boston to Chicago to do graduate research. Marion Talbot and Alice Freeman Palmer are guiding the women of the new university where they will finally be able to pursue their studies beyond the bachelors degree and into new areas like sociology. Excited to be able to go further in her studies, Emily is surprised to find a willing mentor in Detective Henry Whitbread who is enthusiastic about the academic proposal to collect and organize the identity cards being compiled by the police around the city.
Chicago is the fertile, thriving, struggling, often violent place where people from all over the country and world come to build a new kind of city for a new world. In Death at the Fair, Emily meets Ida B. Wells who is pursuing her anti-lynching campaign in the heart of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. In Death at Hull House she meets Jane Addams and Florence Kelley who organize and help immigrants at the famous west side settlement Hull House. In Death at Pullman, Emily becomes embroiled in the dramatic strike that started in the factory town and spread to railways across the country. In Death at Woods Hole she visits the famous Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod where scientists from the University of Chicago and elsewhere have founded the famous summer convocation of academics that continues into the next century.
When she returns to Chicago to start a family, Emily is drawn into the ethnic conflicts of the fierce anti-Chinese immigration laws in Death at Chinatown where she meets Mary Stone and Ida Kahn, young Chinese doctors who become famous for their work and Wong Chin Foo the earliest Asian American activist whose outrageous suggestions, like seeking to convert Americans to Buddhism, are not nearly as well known as they should be.
In 1900 Emily is able to travel to Paris due to the patronage of Bertha Palmer. In Death at the Paris Exposition Emily meets American artist Mary Cassatt and visits the famous House of Worth where wealthy American women make their annual trips to renew their wardrobes. She gets to visit the wonderful city that has such ancient roots in contrast to the brash new Chicago she has come from.
The intention is for Emily and her family to continue their adventures into the future, perhaps all the way to the Century of Progress Chicago world’s fair by which time Emily might be a grandmother. We will see. Please click on the links to find out more about the individual books in the series, or read the below story to meet Emily when she is young.
Meet Emily Cabot and her mentor, Detective Henry Whitbread, in a short story