Sunday, October 22, 2017


General News

Thanks for your support of the Illinois State Historical Society

Looking for an opportunity to make a difference for the bicentennial?

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5255 Shepherd Road, Springfield, Illinois 62703
217-525-2781 *

September 22, 2017
Dear Friends of Illinois History,
Thanks for your interest in the Illinois State Historical State and in becoming a new or sustaining member of our 118-year-old organization. I think you will find the work we do of great interest, as we involve ourselves as much as possible in every county in the state. We receive no money from state government, which, as you know, makes us more responsible and efficient at what we do.
As a basic member in the Society you would receive our publications, the quarterly Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, which has been in continuous publication since 1908; and Illinois Heritage, now in its 20th year as the Society’s popular history magazine.
If you are interested in making a larger contribution to the Society, I invite you to sponsor an issue of Illinois Heritage. Why Illinois Heritage? A single issue of the magazine costs around $5,000, which covers all editorial, design, printing, and mailing of the 40-page magazine to our 4,000+ readers (an average of 3 readers per household). Should you choose to be a sponsor, your tax-deductible donation to the Society will also put a copy of the magazine into the hands of 500 new readers, as our distribution now includes free copies to social studies teachers we meet a regional conferences around the state. When I'm traveling around the state, I often stop at small-town libraries and give copies of the Heritage and Journal to librarians, who, due to budget cuts, can no longer afford to pay the $75 institutional membership. Perhaps you could purchase a membership for them.
Your sponsorship would be acknowledged throughout the year, and would include a full-page memorial/celebratory ad in the magazine. In addition, your sponsorship would be of great help to the Society, especially during the bicentennial preparations, as we are more taxed than usual with commemorative events, program requests, and new initiatives tied to the anniversary.
In Illinois Heritage we continue our series on “Forgotten Voices in Illinois History,” “Illinois Women Artists,” and new features will focus on local historical societies and museums. We are planning two special bicentennial issues of the Heritage for next year. The scholarly Journal is likewise focused on the bicentennial in 2018, and has scheduled at least two issues on the history our state. Our state historical markers program (established in 1934) continues to tell new stories about the people, events, and places of our past. The marker “Scott Bibb and the Alton School Case,” a landmark legal battle to fight segregation in Madison County, tells an Illinois story we didn’t read about in our history books.
The ISHS is all about Prairie State history, but it is also about engaging in our communities and having fun too. Our trip to Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs play the Baltimore Orioles during its 100th anniversary celebration was a great opportunity to enjoy our “national pastime.” Likewise, our 2016 tour of Chicago and its diverse ethnic communities turned out to be a movable feast! And our “Lunch and Learn” partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield has also engaged new audiences and brought greater awareness about the ISHS and its programs.
Recently I traveled to Havana, Illinois, to unveil and dedicate one of our 30” x 40” framed canvas Lincoln portraits in the Mason County Courthouse, a presentation tied to our efforts to place a Lincoln portrait in every courthouse in the state for the bicentennial. Another one of my personal bicentennial outreach efforts is plan

Last Call for Bicentennial Trees!

Has your county placed an order for a Johnny Appleseed tree?

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The bicentennial of Illinois statehood is December 3, 2018. To commemorate the occasion, the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS) is offering Johnny Appleseed Trees, saplings grafted from the last known surviving tree planted by John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed. Only a limited number of these commemorative are available for sale (one for each of Illinois's 102 counties (plus a few extras). The trees are $50 each, are three-feet tall, and come in a 3-gallon bucket. They will be available for pickup in early October. Call now to purchase a tree for your county! 217-525-2781. DON'T LET YOUR COUNTY'S TREE SLIP AWAY!

Society seeks donors to place iconic Lincoln portrait in state's county courthouses

Photo was taken in Springfield, June 3, 1860, after Lincoln won the Republican nomination for president

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The Illinois State Historical Society is trying to place a large canvas photograph of Abraham Lincoln in every courthouse in Illinois. These 30" x 40" inch framed canvases (shown below) are the best photographic reproduction images of Lincoln as he looked in Illinois (without a beard) shortly after he received the national Republican Party nomination for president. The photo was taken by famed photographer Alexander Hesler in Springfield at the Old State Capitol on June 3, 1860, and was deemed by Lincoln to be his favorite likeness.

The framed canvas portraits are available ONLY from the Illinois State Historical Society, and it is our intention to place one in every Illinois courthouse in time for the bicentennial next December. Can you help us? The cost of a portrait of A. Lincoln is $500, plus tax (no tax is you're a member of the ISHS). For $25 we will deliver the canvas to the county courthouse of your choice.

Please allow two weeks for delivery, but order your Lincoln Hesler canvas today. Let's put Honest Abe in every Illinois courthouse for Illinois's 200th anniversary. For details or more information, call 217-525-2781 and ask for Gwen.
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