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New Book Captures North Park's History in Pictures

North Park University history book

The latest installment of Arcadia Publishing’s Campus History Series will be released on May 11

CHICAGO, IL (April 17, 2009) – North Park University and Seminary alumnus John E. Peterson knows a little something about school spirit.  A former University trustee and self-described “amateur historian,” he has spent years amassing a collection of North Park memorabilia—from photographs, to yearbooks, to magazines. In fact, his affinity for his alma mater and love of its history inspired Peterson to help produce a book capturing North Park’s rich 118-year legacy in pictures.

“There hasn’t been a good history of North Park since 1941,” says Peterson, who first got the idea couple of years ago after viewing a presentation by Anne Jenner on North Park’s architectural history. Jenner, a 1989 alumna, is the director of the University’s F. M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections. When Peterson presented a draft of his idea to University officials, they suggested he work with Jenner to produce it.

The finished product, North Park University, was published by Arcadia and will be released on May 11. Pre-orders can be placed through the North Park bookstore, or by calling (773) 244-4570. The book will also be available for purchase at mainstream bookstores and will be broadly distributed. It is one of the latest installments in Arcadia’s Campus History series, which highlights dozens of campuses—from large universities like Princeton and Georgetown, to state schools, to mid-size liberal arts institutions like North Park.

For Peterson and Jenner, the greatest challenge of the project was sorting through the thousands of original photographs in North Park’s archives. “We have a fantastic photo collection,” says Jenner.

An additional challenge for Peterson was also condensing a tremendous volume of information and distilling it into descriptive captions for each image. “I wanted to write in a way that was interesting, but I also wanted the history of the college to be revealed through the photographs,” he explains. “If people really look at the images, they may see details that would really surprise them.”

Above all, he and Jenner hope readers will experience a newfound appreciation of North Park through the book. “I think people will receive a lot of new insights into the things that happened at North Park over the years,” Peterson says. “Pictures can tell a wonderful history quite vividly.”