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Monday, January 27, 2020

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Illinois History Symposium

Co-sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and the UIS Alumni SAGE Society

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On Tuesday, December 3, the Illinois State Historical Society hosts its annual Illinois History Symposium, in conjunction with a UIS "Lunch and Learn" program.

2019 ISHS Illinois Ozark Fall Tour

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Pack your bags and backpacks!

Southern Illinois is nature’s wonderland and in the fall it is magical! Join us as we explore the southeasternmost corner of the state for our fall tour, October 1-3, led by a team of historians and archaeologists. You won’t want to miss this adventure in “Egypt,” where we’ll explore the Shawnee National Forest, historic and prehistoric landmarks, the Garden of Gods, and sites associated with early industry, the Civil War, and the Underground Railroad. We’ll also be lodging at the San Damiano Retreat Center, a beautiful hideaway on the cliffs above the Ohio River. This ISHS Fall Tour is the one you’ve been waiting for!

Donation of Iconic 113 year Mansion to Boone County Historical Society

Boone County Historical Society, Belvidere

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The Boone County Historical Society (BCHS) and Boone County Museum of History (BCMH) announce K-B Farms, Inc.’s donation of the 113 year old “Funderburg House” mansion, along with a $1 million gift for long-term maintenance of the property. Over the coming months, The Funderburg House will undergo renovations and updates to eventually become a multipurpose historic house museum, rental facility, and community gathering space. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our museum, as well as our community,” says BCMH Executive Director Anna Pivoras. “We are so thankful for this generous gift from K-B Farms and the Funderburg family, and are looking forward to a bright future for the historic residence.” 

Illinois Heritage

January-February 2020, Volume 23, Number 1

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Happy New Year from the Illinois State Historical Society!

The January-February issue of Illinois Heritage—“The music issue”—ably assembled by ISHS director Bill Steinbacher-Kemp with the help of a sterling group of writers who know their Illinois music history, is a great start for the new year. Our “2020” vision for the ISHS is to make our programs and publications the best in the Midwest.

Thanks to all of you who have taken time to join or renew your 2020 membership in the Illinois State Historical Society. Our organization thrives because of your commitment to our mission of “fostering awareness, understanding, research, preservation, and recognition of history in Illinois.” As you know, membership is the glue that holds the Illinois State Historical Society together. Your personal commitment to this organization makes all the difference in what we accomplish from year to year. Thank you for all you do to make Illinois history unforgettable. 

Share your Heritage.

SAVE THE DATE: Best of Illinois History Awards Gala

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Theme: A Night at the Speakeasy

Come dolled up and dapper in your vintage 1920s finery or evening cocktail party attire for a seriously fun time!

The event will include cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, live entertainment, wine pull, and the Annual Awards presentation recognizing indivuals, groups, and oranizations that have furthered the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Illinois history.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Fall 2019, Vol. 112, No. 3

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Our Fall 2019 issue brings together culture and commerce, in three distinctive contexts. In “Florenz Ziegfield and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Chicago,” Susan E. Hirsch explores the rise of high culture–classical music, opera, theater, the fine arts–and its corresponding ethic of cosmopolitanism through the work of the German immigrant, Florenz Ziegfield. The talented classical pianist was one of Chicago’s busiest cultural entrepreneurs during the Gilded Age. Moreover, the city’s well-to-do took genuine pride in the cosmopolitanism that defined Ziegfield’s approach to music and culture. Ziegfield’s outlook, embracing diverse European artistic forms and traditions, fell short of the multiracial pluralism that can be said to define cosmopolitanism today. Nevertheless, Ziegfield’s story is one that blends commercial success with the emerging ethic of ethnic tolerance and cultural diversity that elite Chicagoans came to associate with their city. His legacy includes the Chicago Musical College, the first accredited conservatory in the West, and now part of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and of course, his son, Flo Ziegfield, the famous creator of the Ziegfield Follies. Indeed, the father-son duo show how entrepreneurs of both high culture and popular culture–or what today is known as show business–used commercial mechanisms to cultivate appreciation for the arts, be they lowbrow or highbrow, and in so doing make profound changes to America’s cultural landscape. Even in the face of reaction–such as the campaign for 100% Americanism during World War I and after–and despite ongoing ethnic and racial tensions, Chicago’s cosmopolitan institutions and traditions, forged by men like Ziegfield, remained a permanent fixture in the life and culture of the city.

The commercial opportunities presented by the variety of forms of popular entertainment in Chicago attracted figures less noble than the Ziegfields. In “When Chicago Went to the Dogs: Al Capone and Greyhound Racing in the Windy City, 1927-1933,” Steven A. Riess traces the fascinating history of Chicagoland dog racing and its deep connections to the city’s crime syndicates. Everyone knows Al Capone and other Chicago gangsters made a fortune in the Prohibition era through illegal bootlegging. Gangland Chicago’s connections to popular spectator sports of the era, such as boxing and horseracing, are also well documented. Far less known is Capone’s involvement in greyhound racing. Attracted to the large sums of money generated by this working-class betting sport, Capone and others in Chicago’s underworld immediately saw the financial benefit of operating greyhound race tracks. They could launder ill-gotten money through this semi-legal enterprise; they could reap betting windfalls through “the fix;” and they could enjoy the prestige and popularity associated with delivering entertainment to the city’s working class, essential to their influence over Chicagoland politicians and law enforcement officials. In the end, as Riess tells it, the race track operators lost their own bet–they failed to get approval for on-track gambling, and their political connections were of little help in keeping their tracks open permanently. The biggest loser, Riess says, was none other than Al Capone, whose indictment and conviction for tax evasion was based in part on the money he made in greyhound racing.

Our final article traces the trajectory of racial attitudes and policies in an affluent Chicago suburb. In “Race, Town, and Gown: A White Christian College and a White Suburb Address Race,” Brian J. Miller and David B. Malone summarize the evolution of Wh

Dangers of Rising Lake Level Explored in New “High Water and Hell” Exhibit at Edgewater History Museum

Edgewater Historical Society

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A new exhibit at the Edgewater History Museum – “High Water and Hell: Rise in Lake Level Puts Chicago on Edge” – examines how the previous record high lake levels in the late 1980s severely battered the City and caused extensive damage to Chicago’s lakefront communities. 

Illinois Heritage

November–December 2019, Volume 22, Number 6

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The November-December issue of Illinois Heritage highlights just a few of the things your Society has been up to in recent weeks. The Centennial Business Awards luncheon was held in Jacksonville on September 14, and we had a great time visiting with the new inductees, as well as previous year’s award winners from Morgan County. Last month we took our Fall Tour to the Shawnee National Forest, where our stellar guides revealed some of the hidden treasures of southern Illinois. And on December 3 at the University of Illinois Springfield we’ll celebrate the 201st anniver-sary of statehood with our annual Illinois History Symposium commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s  suffrage. Please come spend the day with us!

As you know, membership is the glue that holds the Illinois State Historical Society together. Your personal commitment to this organization makes all the  difference in what we accomplish from year to year. Thank you for all you do to make Illinois history unforgettable. And please take time this month to renew your ISHS membership. Our future depends on what you do today.

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