The College Inn was one of Chicago’s premier nightspots in the 20s and 30s when, with the help of band leader Isham Jones, it became a noted jazz venue. Until Jones arrived, hotels like the Sherman Hotel had genteel string orchestras playing waltzes for guests. He shook up this tradition by playing jazz-oriented music that originated in African-American communities and developed from roots in blues and ragtime.
However, we believe at the time that this menu was in use, the College Inn was not integrated and had an all-white jazz orchestra, because of restrictive work practices that barred black musicians from playing there.
The Hotel Sherman’s origins date back to 1837. In the 1920s, it had 1600 guest rooms, extensive banqueting facilities and was the biggest hotel outside of New York City.
The hotel closed in 1973 and was demolished in 1980.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.