Make a Reservation for an Upcoming Event

Click on a program below to make a reservation:

Renée Rosen
, “What the Lady Wants:” A Portrait of Chicago and Marshall Fields in the Gilded Age, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 7 p.m.

Eve J. Alfillé, “Handmade in Evanston:” The Jewelry of Eve Alfillé. Thursday, October 26, 2017, 7 p.m.

“Evanston Rides the Rails:” A tour through Evanston’s rail-transit history. Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9 a.m.

Leslie Goddard, “Jacqueline:” A Portrayal of Jackie Kennedy, Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7 p.m.

Have a suggestion for an event topic or speaker? Please email Jenny Thompson:

Under the Buffalo Lecture Series: Variations on Style
Fall 2017

This season is presented in conjunction with 
“The Finishing Touch: Evanston Accessorized!”
 an exhibit of fashion accessories 
on view at the Evanston History Center through December 2017.

Front Image Credits: model image, istock by Getty Images; Matthew J. Arden, photography and design; All jewelry designs © Eve J. Alfillé, 2017.

“What the Lady Wants:” A Portrait of Chicago and Marshall Fields in the Gilded Age with Renée Rosen 

Thursday, September 28, 2017, 7 p.m.
Reception starts at 6:30 p.m.
Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street, Evanston
Admission $10. Payable at the door (Visa, MC, Cash). EHC Members Free

Take a visual and historic journey to Chicago’s Gilded age with this presentation by bestselling author, Renée Rosen. Rosen will discuss the history behind her novel, What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age. Rosen’s portrait of Chicago traces the dramatic lives of Marshall Field and socialite Delia Spencer as the city transforms itself out of the Great Fire into the stunning setting that hosted the 1893 Worlds Fair. Rosen is also the author of Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, Dollface, and Every Crooked Pot.

A book signing follows the presentation.

Click here to make a reservation.

“Handmade in Evanston:” The Jewelry of Eve Alfillé with Eve J. Alfillé

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 7 p.m.
Reception starts at 6:30 p.m.
Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street, Evanston
Admission $10. Payable at the door (Visa, MC, Cash). EHC Members Free

Diamonds to beach rocks: the many visitors to Eve Alfillé’s gallery and studio in downtown Evanston often come in bearing special requests. A one-time sculptor, Alfillé is inspired by ideas and form, and for the last 30 years her jewels have taken on new shapes every spring and fall. Come behind the scenes as she takes you on a virtual tour of the studio then and now.

Click here to make a reservation.

“Jacqueline:” A Portrayal of Jackie Kennedy with Leslie Goddard

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7 p.m.
Reception starts at 6:30 p.m.
Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street, Evanston
Admission $10. Payable at the door (Visa, MC, Cash). EHC Members Free

Meet former First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in this fascinating first-person performance by actress and historian Leslie Goddard. It is 1964 and the former first lady, besieged by paparazzi, is struggling to cope. Attempting to determine her next step, she reviews her life, sharing stories about her marriage, her fight for privacy amidst intense media scrutiny, her work to restore the White House, and her attempts to showcase the arts. As she gradually opens up, you will meet the private woman behind the public myth.

Click here to make a reservation.

A reception catered by Whole Foods Market kicks off each event at 6:30 P.M.
Admission to each event: $10. Payable at the door. EHC Members: Free.
Doors Open at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations recommended: email: or go online:
Questions? Email:

Many thanks to Whole Foods Market for their generous support of the Under the Buffalo Series

Many thanks to Bookends and Beginnings for helping make EHC book signings possible!


Open House Chicago

Saturday, October 14 & Sunday, October 15, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Free

October 14 & 15, 2017 the Chicago Architecture Foundation(CAF) hosts the seventh-annual Open House Chicago (OHC), a free event that takes the public behind the scenes at more than 200 of the greatest spaces and places in the city and near suburbs.

The Evanston History Center is one of 200+ OHC sites in more than 20 diverse neighborhoods, including downtown Chicago and the suburbs Evanston and Oak Park.

OHC is free! No registration required. Sites will be open on a first-come, first-served basis. Itineraries are self-guided and informed by a printed event directory (available in the Chicago Tribune on October 12) or online at

Evanston Rides the Rails!

Saturday,  November 4, 2017, 9:00 a.m.
Tour starts and ends at the Linden CTA station
349 Linden Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091
Admission: $75 for EHC members, $85 for non-members.

The Evanston History Center invites you to take a narrated tour through the history of the railroads, street railways, electric lines, and electric interurban that have served Evanston over the years.
The tour will be conducted on a chartered CTA train comprised of vintage 1970s equipment. We’ll ride the Purple Line to and from the Loop with a side trip on the Yellow Line.
While we are riding, Graham Garfield and Bruce Moffat, experts from the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, will narrate Evanston’s rail-transit history and relate it to sites on the trip. Shore Line is the authoritative source for Chicagoland rail-transit history, publishing the journal First and Fastest and other special studies.

Exhibit Open!

“The Finishing Touch” Evanston Accessorized!

“The Finishing Touch: Evanston Accessorized!”
an exhibit of clothing accessories for men, women, and children, 1860-2000

On view May 1 – December 2017

Have you given much thought to what accessories you consider essential to your look today? What would you have chosen in 1960, 1900, 1860?

While many think of clothing in terms of garments to cover the body, accessories are a considerable part of our wardrobes and help to define the way we present ourselves to the world. On Monday, May 1, 2017, the Evanston History Center (EHC) will open a new exhibit featuring fashion accessories, some practical and others highly decorative and whimsical, and exploring their uses over time. The items are drawn from EHC’s extensive costume collection which is rich in accessories used by Evanstonians throughout the history of the city. The exhibit is curated by EHC’s costume curator, Janet C. Messmer.

The exhibit explores how accessory items have evolved through time, both in style and use. Some, considered essential in the past, have either changed their forms or fallen into disuse, while others which were unknown to our ancestors are considered vital today. Few women currently carry a vinaigrette filled with smelling salts in their purses (in case they feel faint) or wear a silver chatelaine with an ivory notepad and silver mechanical pencil suspended from it, but their ancestors in the late 19th century well might have. And most people would have difficulty explaining to their ancestors why they must wear a Fitbit today.

Walking sticks, parasols, fans, chatelaines, gloves, hats, shoes, stockings, spurs, riding crops, garters, jewelry, posy holders, shoe trees, cigarette holders, match boxes, and many other items from the mid-19th through the 20th century will be on display. Additionally, the exhibit explores where Evanstonians have acquired their accessories by looking into businesses which created or sold them.

The exhibit runs through December 2017.

Admission: $10. EHC Members Free.
Hours: Thursdays-Sundays, 1PM-4PM



2017 Walking Tours

The Evanston History Center offers lively docent-led walking tours of Evanston neighborhoods, downtown, and the lakefront. The tours provide fun and fascinating insights into the history of Evanston, its architecture, and the cultural landscape.


All tours, unless otherwise stated, meet at the Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston.


Tours vary but are occasionally repeated, and are generally offered on the first and third Saturday of the month.

Tours begin at 11:00 AM and last for 90 minutes.


The cost is $20 per person/$15 for members unless otherwise stated. Admission is payable at the door.

Reservations are strongly recommended. RSVP to Kris Hartzell, or 847-475-3410.


Free street parking is available on Greenwood Street.

Types of Tours

NEW THIS YEAR: Prairie School Camelot Bus Tour
1:00 pm on September 16, 2017
Admission: $25/person/$20 members. Reservations Required.

Did you know that Evanston is a treasure trove of Prairie School architecture? Some of the most notable examples are in Evanston, along with some of the best-kept secrets. Come along with us and discover Evanston’s Prairie gems. The bus will leave at 1:00 pm from the Evanston History Center.

NEW THIS YEAR: Forest Foray
June 3 & August 19, 2017

Stroll down the avenue that Daniel Burnham called “the choicest street” in Evanston. From Greenwood to Lee Street we will pass remarkable houses designed by notable architects for such prominent clients as Charles Ringling and Oscar Mayer.

Architectural Evanston
August 5, 2017

A walk through the original town of Evanston, with a view to the architectural styles of different eras and how they reflect the growth and change of the city.

Burnham in Evanston
June 17 & October 21, 2017

Explore the neighborhood where architect Daniel Burnham chose to live, work, and build. We will see his property, houses, and schools he designed, and hear about the man and his love of “bucolic Evanston.”

Evanston’s Lakefront
July 1 & September 2, 2017

Take in the rich, varied history of Evanston’s lakefront. From lifesaving stations to shipwrecks, from boathouses to warehouses, from parks and private residences to piers, beaches, and landscaping:  the stories are as varied as the lakefront itself.

Evanston Women’s History
July 15 & October 7, 2017

Discover the revolutionary history of Evanston’s women by viewing the houses and buildings where they worked to transform our cultural landscape. This tour meets at WILLARD HOUSE, 1730 CHICAGO AVENUE.

Group walking tours can be scheduled by appointment. To get more information on group walking tour options, please contact us at (847) 475-3410 or e-mail Kris Hartzell.

Annual Holiday Open House
12th Annual Food Drive

Sunday, December 3, 2017, 1-4 p.m.
At the Evanston History Center in the Dawes House

Join us for an afternoon of holiday cheer at the Dawes House. Explore the majestic lakeside mansion decked out for the holidays, view EHC’s exhibits, and enjoy holiday treats, crafts for kids and live music in the Great Hall.

1:00-2:30 p.m.: Piano Music by Chris Mahieu
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Singing for everyone with Marian McNair

This event is free and open to everyone!

EHC also kicks off its 12th Annual Holiday Food Drive, in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. All food collected will go directly to an Evanston food pantry to benefit area residents. Donations of nutritious, non-perishable food (no glass, please) will be accepted at the Dawes House, 225 Greenwood Street from Thursday, November 30 through Sunday, December 3 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. each day. Please consider donating to this important cause.