Title: Graceland Cemetery: Chicago Stories, Symbols, and Secrets
Author: Adam Selzer
Date: September 11, 2022
Time: 2:00-4:00 PM
One of Chicago’s landmark attractions, Graceland Cemetery chronicles the city’s sprawling history through the stories of its people. Local historian and Graceland tour guide Adam Selzer presents ten walking tours covering almost the entirety of the cemetery grounds. While nodding to famous Graceland figures from Marshall Field to Ernie Banks to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Selzer also leads readers past the vaults, obelisks, and other markers that call attention to less recognized Chicagoans like:
- Jessie Williams de Priest, the Black wife of a congressman whose 1929 invitation to a White House tea party set off a storm of controversy;
- Engineer and architect Fazlur Khan, the Bangladeshi American who revived the city's skyscraper culture;
- The still-mysterious Kate Warn (listed as Warn on her tombstone), the United States’ first female private detective.
Filled with photographs and including detailed maps of each tour route, Graceland Cemetery is an insider's guide to one of Chicago's great outdoor destinations for city lore and history.
About the Author
Author and historian Adam Selzer has spent over a decade running hundreds of tours per year for companies such as Chicago Hauntings, Shoreline Sightseeing, and Weird Chicago. Early in his career, he began fact-checking the stories commonly told on such tours and found that they were a mess! With painstaking research, he rebuilt the stories he was telling from the ground up, spending hours poring through reels of microfilm, piles of paper from thearchives, and drawers full of long-forgotten photos and documents. This gave him material to make his tour different from any others, and he now runs tours privately for a variety of companies, including his own Mysterious Chicago.
With years of practice, his tours are the most entertaining in town, often showcasing the humor that he used in his acclaimed novels for Random House and Simon and Schuster, including Just Kill Me, Play Me Backwards, and the cult favorite I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It.
He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including as Ghosts of Chicago (Llewelyn 2013), Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the US Film Industry (University of Columbia Press 2015), The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History (Random House 2015), Ghosts of Lincoln (Llewelyn 2015), and, of course the Mysterious Chicago book, released in 2016 by Sky Horse, who also published his mammoth HH Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil. Watch for his upcoming book, Graceland Cemetery: Stories, Symbols and Secrets (Univ of Illinois Press, 2021).
He regularly appears on TV shows, including American Ripper (four episodes), Mysteries at the Museum (five episodes), Haunted History, Monumental Mysteries, Hotel Secrets and Legends, Dark Places, and more. Most recently he appeared in the Scary Stories documentary.