In 1996, after curating an exhibit for the Peoria Historical Society about its distilling and brewing history, I wrote my first book Peoria Spirits. A year later, I wrote Wish You Were Here: Peoria Edition; a short history of Peoria, Illinois, based on a collection of postcards.
History and research are in my blood. Learning the history of a place is a passion instilled in me by my family whose memories are deep. When I moved to Naperville 14 years ago, I figured I would eventually write a book about Naperville history. Now, with great pleasure and humility, I announce the publication of Naperville’s first concise history since Genevieve Towsley’s Skylines book in 1975.
Naperville: A Brief History is the story of Naperville from pre-settlement (before 1831) to present day. Though brief, it contains many stories and facts not previously published in a local history book.
The History Press will release the book on Nov. 12, and the official launch will be at Anderson’s Bookshop at 7PM Wed., Nov. 14.
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing this book and the process of writing the story of our great community with local organizations. Whether your family has lived in Naperville for a lifetime, or if your family recently moved here, I’m hoping this book will surprise and delight readers. With seven chapters, 190 pages, 174 endnotes, 70 illustrations (most from private collections), a full index, and bibliography, one is sure to learn something new about Naperville.
The late Mayor Pradel read portions of the manuscript and was kind enough to write the Foreword to Naperville: A Brief History last spring. Over the years, the mayor and I had many conversations about Naperville. I learned a great deal from his stories and encouragement. Among many kind words in his Foreword, Mayor Pradel said, “Bryan’s account of our city’s rich history is from the heart. I hope you enjoy it, too.”
Thank you, Mayor Pradel. And thank you, Naperville, for your interest, too!