Program Notes

Program Notes Protest and even “terrorism” are not new to American life. On February 12, 1916, a large banquet was held at the University Club of Chicago to celebrate the installation of George Mundelein as the third Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois. The chef for the event, the anarchist Jean Crones, slipped arsenic into the soup in an attempt to poison Mundelein and over 100 other guests, including Illinois Governor Edward F. Dunne. Due to the late arrival of about fifty extra guests, however, it was decided that the soup should be watered down so that the unplanned-for arrivals could also be fed. Virtually all suffered considerable agony and were near death when a doctor, J.B. Murphy, though stricken himself, managed to hastily prepare a potion to help the victims. Due soley to the soup's dilution and antidote, no one died. Newspapers referred to the mass-murder attempt as "the poison soup plot." The story is important historically, but even more important as a morality tale. If the decision had not been made to share the soup with the unplanned-for arrivals, the dignitaries’ selfishness would undoubtedly have led to their deaths. By sharing what was designated for them, they were saved.