The 2017 Annual Illinois History Awards were presented on Saturday, April 22 in conjunction with the closing ceremonies of the Illinois State Historical Society’s annual Illinois History Symposium, “1917, Year of Turmoil: War and Suffrage.” The Symposium and annual Awards Luncheon were held in the Trutter Center on the beautiful campus of Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.
More than twenty-five scholars, exhibitors, researchers, and history educators were on hand to take home awards. Among the awards presented were four special awards, included the ISHS “Lifetime Achievement Award,” awarded this year to Elaine E. Egdorf of Homewood. Egdorf’s accomplishments in south suburban Illinois neighborhoods are legion. She is the founder and co-president of the South Suburban Heritage Corridor, the founder of the Homewood Historical Society (serving ten consecutive terms), and was been instrumental in crafting the Homewood Preservation Ordinance, which helped save the Dorband-Howe historic home in Homewood, now headquarters for the Homewood Historical Society. In addition, Egdorf has received duals and institutions who make our Prairie State history come alive for the millions dozens of awards for her work with the Girl Scouts and other youth-center groups, and she has served on the board or executive board of the ISHS for more than 15 years.
Anna Sielaff of Lincoln received the $1,000 Verna Ross Orndorff scholarship for her Civil War related essay “Influences of Transcendental Thought on Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Address: The Gettysburg Address”; and Mark McBride, a social studies teacher at the Tri Valley High School in Downs, Illinois, received the Society’s Olive Foster “Teacher of the Year” award ($1,000) for his work integrating local history into his social studies lesson plans. In addition, Chicago-based Joseph Gustaitis, author of Chicago Transformed: World War I and the Windy City, received the Society’s Russell P. Strange “Book of the Year” award and a check for $400.
“It is an honor and a privilege to recognize the work of these individuals and institutions, who selflessly share their passion for our Prairie State history, all to the benefit of people who hunger for knowledge of our collective past,” said ISHS president Leah Axelrod of Highland Park. “Congratulations and best wishes to all on your future projects.”
The 2017 Annual Award Winners are: Scholarly Publications
Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois, by Robert Hartley, Published 2016 by Southern Illinois University Press. “This book draws attention to the relationships among three prominent politicians from southern Illinois: Paul Powell, Clyde Choate, and John Stelle. The author—a newspaperman, not a historian-- used a wide variety of sources including manuscript collections, legislative records, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal interviews with those who knew and worked with the dealmakers. In addition, there is an excellent list of reference, pointing to additional research.”
Pembroke: A Rural Black Community of the Illinois Dunes, by Dave Baron, published 2016 by Southern Illinois University Press.“The blur on the back of this book notes that it is part social, cultural, legal, environmental, and political history and part memoir. Though not a history book in the scholarly sense, it is nevertheless unique, insightful, informative, and, at times very, moving. Mr. Baron interwines wide-reaching history, astute obse