In honor of the Illinois bicentennial, Illinois State Archives staff has compiled a list of the 100 most valuable documents housed in its collection. The Illinois State Archives is the repository of all official Illinois government documents of permanent value. More than 75,000 cubic feet of paper, microfilm, photographs and audio and film recordings are housed in the Margaret Cross Norton Building on the capitol complex in Springfield. Paper records date back before 1818 statehood and include governors' correspondence, public acts, departmental histories, census records, military records, election results and more.
Illinois Humanities announced today the second round of grants as part of the “Forgotten Illinois” initiative, which is meant to help celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial in 2018 and to spark curiosity about Illinois history and its implications for our state’s present and future. The program is carried out in partnership with the Illinois State Historical Society.
VOLUME 111 NO. 1-2 is our second consecutive double-issue commemorates Illinois’ 200th anniversary of statehood. For those of us laboring in the historical profession and cognate fields—academically affiliated scholars and their students, unaffiliated scholars and researchers, public historians, museum professionals, archivists and librarians, and the like—anniversaries are moments to reflect upon disciplinary practice. They are, in other words, splendid occasions to reckon with the past, take stock of the present, and imagine the future. The last two major anniversaries of Illinois statehood—the centennial and sesquicentennial—produced landmark works of state history that collectively established the main contours of scholarship on the Prairie State well into the twentieth century. (These works, and our intellectual debts to them, are identified in the articles that follow.) The current issue of the Journal, “Illinois History: A Bicentennial Appraisal,” is offered in the same spirit. We seek to highlight the connections between the past—the history of this land called Illinois; the present—the current state of professional history about this land; and the future—how we might fruitfully reframe and re-present this land’s history moving forward. The first six essays offer insightful surveys of recent trends in historical scholarship on Illinois from the colonial era to the very recent past. The historiographical essays mark the most important developments in historical scholarship on Illinois over the last thirty years or so, a necessary first-step in generating new research agendas and ultimately new narratives. The final two essays examine the practice of public history in Illinois, as it stands today. The cautionary lessons learned from museum professionals and other practitioners of public history—declining public investments, conflicting political agendas, the growing role of local initiative, and most crucially, greater reliance on private resources—should alert us all to the need for an historical practice that informs, connects, and enriches diverse audiences and stakeholders.
A team of six retired teachers have completed one week of a Junior Historians Camp through the Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society and in partnership with the Sterling and Rock Falls Optimists Clubs. Our theme for the entire week was “Illinois’ Bicentennial.” Twenty-two students participated in the week’s activities in our new Lincoln Learning Center next door to our historical Lincoln-Manahan Home.
David Joens serves as guest editor of this issue of Illinois Heritage
. His gifts of enthusiasm, professionalism, and passion for the history of our Prairie State––and most especially his love of the architectural wonders of our Illinois statehouse––make him a splendid guide. To accomplish his task he has enlisted the help of John Lupton, director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historical Society; Mark Sorensen, past ISHS president and ex officio historian of the capitol; and illustrator William Crook Jr., who has shared one of his exquisite watercolor/pen and ink portraits of the statehouse for our cover. David also tells the story of a twelve-year collaboration between the ISHS and the Illinois House of Representatives to restore an amazing 19th-century montage that now hangs in the state capitol. The montage features individual photos of the entire 1879 House of Representatives.
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