Sydney J. Harris


As an impressionable teenager in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I eagerly awaited my father coming home from work with his early edition of the Chicago Daily News, so that I could read my favorite columnist, Sydney J. Harris. Harris wrote a daily column entitled “Strictly Personal” where he covered all matters of topics, especially those that were political, educational, philosophical and cultural.
Harris began writing “Strictly Personal” in 1944, and continued writing it for the News until 1978, when Chicago greatest afternoon paper closed down the presses. He continued the column for another six years at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Harris wrote with sagacity and wit, and had a reputation of penning aphorisms that remain with us today as memorable quotes. Sort of Chicago’s answer to Oscar Wilde. Two of my favorites are “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” and “Happiness is a direction, not a place.”


Ben Hecht’s Chicago Journalistic Legacy

Ben Hecht’s impact on the Chicago journalistic scene was monumental. His memorable  A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago columns, written in the Roaring Twenties for The Chicago Daily News, and eventually published as a book, describe ordinary Chicagoans in ordinary situations in the most extraordinary picturesque language. They were highly influential on the future style and content of Mike Royko.