Right: Library speaker Jerry Leitner discusses the gospel of Mary Magdala, a Common Ground program, in October. Due to its size, the group gathered in James Parlor, on the second floor of 77 W. Washington St. for this program. 

Upcoming Events & Programs

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020 / 2-3:30 PM

In August, we'll use a different format for our book discussion: many of us have been stuck at home for months – if you've enjoyed a book during that time, join us and tell us what you enjoyed about it, and whether you'd recommend it. Or just join us to listen what others have to say. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 from 2–3:30 PM
In the Swedenborg Library (we are observing distance and masks)

Program moved to Spring 2021 due to Covid

Swedenborg's Influence on Chicago Landscape Architect Swain Nelson with Julia Bachrach
Julia Bachrach, former historian for the Chicago Park District, will discuss Swedenborg's philosophical impact on landscape architect Swain Nelson.

Born in Fjälkestad, in southern Sweden, Nelson apprenticed with the head gardener at Vanås, the estate of Count Wachtmeister, before immigrating to America in 1852 with his cousin Olof Benson. After working briefly in Defiance, Ohio, the two men moved to Chicago in 1855, where Nelson laid out the roads of Graceland Cemetery. In 1865 the City of Chicago hired him to implement his plans for Union and Lincoln Parks, and Nelson opened a nursery near the latter, importing trees from England and Scotland. The family belonged to the Swedenborgian Church, and in 1893 Swain Nelson & Sons planned a community for the church’s congregants in (what later became) Glenview, Illinois, relocating the nursery onto land adjacent to it.  

Julia S. Bachrach is an award-winning author, historian, preservationist, and urban planner. She served as historian and planning supervisor to the Chicago Park District for more than two decades. Her books include The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks and Inspired by Nature: The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side. She contributed essays to AIA Guide to Chicago Architecture, Oxford Companion to the Garden, Midwestern Landscape Architecture, and Encyclopedia of Chicago.