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A quiz on notable Chicago mothers

WBEZ history blogger John Schmidt traces the rise of Mother’s Day in the early 20th century and quizzes listeners on noteworthy Chicago moms.

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A quiz on notable Chicago mothers

Flickr/Mark Grapengater

WBEZ history blogger John Schmidt traces the rise of Mother’s Day in the early 20th century and quizzes listeners on noteworthy Chicago moms. To test your knowledge, call 312.923.9239. We’ll post the answers after the show.

CHICAGO MOTHER’S QUIZ

1. According to official records, who was the first woman to become a mother in what is now Chicago?

(A) Virginia Dare
(B) Therese Wabash
(C) Catherine DuSable
(D) Suzanne Pelletier

2. Why is Sophonisba Harrison a prominent Chicago mother?

(A) She bore the greatest number of children of any Chicago mother.
(B) She gave birth to triplets during the Great Fire of 1871.
(C) She was the only mother of a U.S. President born in Chicago.
(D) She was the first wife of a Chicago mayor to be the mother of a Chicago mayor.

3. Why is Theresa Needham called “The Godmother of Chicago Blues?”

(A) She was a pioneer Chicago blues singer.
(B) She operated a famous Chicago blues venue.
(C) She was the mother of blues legend Muddy Waters.
(D) In the movie The Blues Brothers, she played the nun from Jake and Elwood’s orphanage.

4. Approximately how many women in Chicago become mothers each year?

(A) 20,000
(B) 45,000
(C) 70,000
(D) 95,000

5. What is the “Mother Church” of Chicago’s Polish Catholics?

(A) Old St. Mary’s
(B) St. Stanislaus Kostka
(C) St. John Cantius
(D) St. Hyacinth

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Answers: b d d b b

(B) St. Stanislaus Kostka.
Founded in 1867, St. Stanislaus was the first Roman Catholic parish in Chicago serving the city’s Polish population. At the turn of the 20th century it had the largest Catholic congregation in the United States, with 35,000 parishioners. The current church building, at 1300 North Noble Street, dates back to 1881.

(D) Suzanne Pelletier.
The Potawatomi and other native peoples didn’t leave birth records. Catherine DuSable was the wife of Chicago’s first settler, but there’s no indication whether she delivered any children while living here. Suzanne Pelletier was Du Sable’s daughter. She gave birth to a daughter in the family compound in 1796.

(D) She was the first wife of a Chicago mayor to be the mother of a Chicago mayor.
Sophonisba Preston Harrison was the wife of Carter Harrison Sr., a five-term mayor of Chicago. She gave birth to Carter Jr. in 1860. Sophonisba Harrison died before her husband did, and never saw her son Carter Jr. become mayor.

(B) She operated a famous Chicago blues venue.
Theresa Needham opened Theresa’s Lounge in a basement at 4801 South Indiana Avenue in 1949. Over the next thirty years it became THE place to hear Blues music. The lounge moved during the 1980s, then closed permanently. Theresa Needham died in 1992.

(B) 45,000.
That stat is provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In 1990 there were about 60,000 births in the city. For various reasons, the number has declined steadily since.

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