Illinois History Minutes

May 24 Illinois History Minute


It’s May 24th, the day in 1879 when the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts was granted its charter, reviving an earlier art school and gallery that had perished in the Chicago Fire. A few years later, the academy changed its name to the Art Institute of Chicago, and eventually moved into an imposing Beaux-Arts style building with an entrance flanked by two bronze lions. Its collection includes some of the best-known works of art in the world, from Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”.

Jane Byrne, the first woman to be elected mayor of a major American city, was born in Chicago on this day in 1933. Bryne capitalized on incumbent Michael Bilandic’s difficulties clearing streets after a major snowstorm, to win election as Chicago mayor in 1979.