Publisher: Charles H Kerr
Released: January 1, 2003
A unique combination of tavern, university, and nonstop wild party, the College in its heyday (1951–1961) was for many years Chicago's outstanding outsider outpost. The writings collected here by the College's founder and janitor, Slim Brundage (1903–1990), chronicle the colorful history of what may well be the oldest continuous dissident working class intellectual community in the US. Hobo, wobbly, soapboxer, veteran of Bughouse Square and the Dil Pickle, "little theater" playwright/actor, president emeritus of the Hobo College in the 1930s, housepainter, humorist, and chief architect of the scandalous Beatnik Party during the 1960 elections, Brundage was very much a maker of the history he writes about. Here are exciting first-person accounts of tramping, open forums, the fabulous Pickle, the hobo colleges, the Radical Bookshop, and the hilarious story of the College of Complexes as it evolved from the last of the old-time free-speech forums into Chicago's Number One "beatnik bistro." Franklin Rosemont's introduction discusses the IWW/hobohemian roots of the College, outlines the Janitor's radical (and Dadaist) critique of education, and relates Brundage's life, the College, and Chicago's hobo/beat scenes to the broader struggles for a better, freer, truly egalitarian, and non-exploitative society.