Nelson Algren was a writer, novelist, columnist, and educator. He was born Nelson Algren Abraham on March 28, 1909 in Detroit, Michigan. Algren graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism in 1931. After graduation, Algren worked as a door-to-door salesman and a migratory worker. He also worked for a venereal disease control unit of the Board of Health and with the WPA writers' project. Algren served as a medical corpsman in the U.S. Army during World War II. Later, he served as co-editor of the magazine The New Anvil. Algren taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and the University of Florida. He also wrote a regular column for the Chicago Free Press. Algren's first novel, Somebody in Boots, was published in 1935. His second novel, Never Come Morning, was published in 1942. The book was banned from the Chicago Public Library. Algren received a 1947 Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a grant from Chicago's Newberry Library. In 1949, Algren published The Man with the Golden Arm. The book won the National Book Award and was adapted as a film in 1956. Another book, A Walk on the Wild Side, was also adapted for film in 1962. Algren died in Sag Harbor, New York, on May 9, 1981.
Studs Terkel was an actor, writer, and radio host. He was born Louis Terkel on May 16, 1912 in New York City. He took his name from the James T. Farrell novel, Studs Lonigan. Terkel attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a law degree in 1934. Terkel acted in local stage productions and on radio dramas until he began one of the first television programs, an unscripted show called Studs Place in the early 1950s. In 1952, Terkel began Studs Terkel's Almanac on radio station WFMT in Chicago. Terkel compiled a series of books based on oral histories that defined America in the 20th Century. Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do received a National Book Award nomination in 1975. The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1985. Working was turned into a hit musical in 1978. Terkel was named the Communicator of the Year by the University of Chicago in 1969.