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Hyde Park's Greatest Adventurer Getting Exhibit At U. of C.

By Sam Cholke | June 21, 2016 6:02am
 Cyrus Leroy Baldridge's collection of illustrations of World War I battlefields in "I Was There" was his first major work to be widely recognized.
I Was There
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HYDE PARK — Hyde Park’s nearly forgotten globe-trotting adventurer from the early 20th century is getting his own exhibition at the University of Chicago library.

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge fought in World War I and then slipped into parts of Africa, India and other regions that had been rarely seen by Westerners at the time.

His photos and illustrations are now part of the “Cyrus Leroy Baldridge — Illustrator, Explorer, Activist” exhibit opening Friday at U. of C.’s Special Collections Research Center Gallery, 1100 E. 57th St.

Sam Cholke on the adventures of Cyrus Baldridge.

Baldridge a 1911 graduate of U. of C. and a Hyde Parker, wrote many books with his wife, Caroline Singer, and his illustrations detailing his trips through Africa from 1926-27. They are still considered to be some of the best depictions of places like Sierra Leone and captured the complexity and beauty of the cultures he witnessed.

Hyde Park's Jay Mulberry was lucky enough to have known Baldridge and will recount some of the stories he heard from the adventurer during an opening reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Friday at the gallery.

And Baldridge’s adventures were numerous and sometime hair-raising.

In Korea, he smuggled gold to anti-Japanese nationalists and in India he held meetings with Ghandian plotters in the dark of night. He traveled to Iraq and Iran and brought back his sketches, often done while risking his own life.

Mulberry curated the exhibit with Alice Kain and with help on the layout from Joseph Scott, who will also attend the opening.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 9.

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