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Monday, April 6, 2020

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Egyptian History--Celebrating 150 Years of the SIU University Museum

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The year was 1869. In New York City, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in as the nation’s 18th president. The transcontinental railroad was completed with a golden spike in Promontory, Utah. Overseas, Egypt’s new Suez Canal linked the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. And here in Illinois, Cyrus Thomas was charged by the first Board of Trustees of the fledgling Southern Illinois Normal University (SINU)—(now Southern Illinois University Carbondale) to organize a university museum.
 

The Best of Illinois History 2019 awards presented at ISHS Annual Meeting in Petersburg

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On Friday, April 26, the Illinois State Historical Society’s “Best of Illinois History” awards were presented to a packed house at Roots Banquet Hall in Petersburg, the county seat of Menard County. More than 30 individuals, museums, publishers and authors, and regional historical societies were honored for their efforts during the state’s bicentennial year to showcase Illinois history to their respective communities and to the world.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Spring 2019

Volume 112 Number 1

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We open 2019 with three articles addressing murder, politics, and ethnoreligious identity in Illinois. In "Untouchable: Joseph Smith's Use of the Law as a Catalyst for Assassination," Alex Smith offers a fine-grained analysis of the Mormon prophet's understanding- and misunderstanding- of key legal concepts leading up to his murder at a Carthage, Illinois jail in 1844. 

Like the histroy of Joseph Smith and anti-mormonism, antislavery politics has generated a rich and variegated historiography. In "Free Soil, Free Labor, and Free Men: The Origins of the Republican Party in DuPage County, Illinois," Stephen Buck synthesizes many of the widely accepted explanations for the Republican Party's emergence in the 1850s, including the powerful ideal of free-soil in the trans-Mississippi West; opposition to the political clout of the "Slave Power" nationally; and genuine moral committments to the abolition of Slavery. 

Always a city of immigrants, Chicago has rightfully served as a key focus for a wide-ranging body of scholarship on the immigrant experience in America. Oddly, however, the French, the first Europeans to see and settle the area, have largely faded from view in histories of immigrant Chicago. Daniel Snow sheds much needed light on the French-American experience in the Windy City in "Of Three Nations: Devotion and Community in French-American Chicago, 1850-1950."

Illinois Heritage, March–April 2019

Volume 22, Number 2

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This issue of Illinois Heritage is another gift from our sterling contributors. John Hallwas’s beautiful tribute to Virginia Eifert gave us an opportunity to put her portrait as a five-year-old writer on the cover. Mark Flotow revisits Illinois’ Civil War camps and shares how the soldiers who served there remembered their wartime experiences. Kathleen Spaltro takes us to Preston Sturges’ “City of My Dreams” in a fascinating profile of a renowned filmmaker’s coming of age in Chicago, and Mike Kienzler explores hidden art in plain sight in Menard County.

On April 26, the Illinois State Historical Society invites all friends of Prairie State history to join us in Petersburg for the ISHS’s 120th annual meeting, a celebration of the BEST OF ILLINOIS HISTORY and the 100th anniversary of the re-establishing of the village of New Salem and the creation of the state historic site. This event includes the Annual Awards Banquet, as well as a guided afternoon tour of the park. Look for details in this issue of Illinois Heritage and on our webpage, http://www.historyillinois.org.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2018

Volume 111, Number 4

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We close 2018 with three fascinating articles that illuminate the social and cultural history of Illinois in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In “Charles Dickens, Cairo, and the Panic of 1837,” Peter Pellizzari analyzes the mix of truth and myth that drove western land speculation in the lead up to the Panic of 1837. At the center of Pellizzari’s story is Darius Blake Holbrook, Cairo’s chief promoter and financier in the 1830s. The town of Cairo, and Americans like Holbrook, also served as source material for parts of Charles Dickens’ novel, The Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, first published serially in 1842–44. 

It is a commonplace that Irish labor built the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Yet few scholars have bothered to study the Irish immigrant experience in the antebellum period outside of urban contexts like Chicago or New York City, or the coal fields of Pennsylvania. In “Canal Diggers, Church Builders: Dispelling Stereotypes of the Irish on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Corridor,” Eileen McMahon examines Irish immigrant agency downstate, in towns that dot the prairie. 

Finally, we close with a study of the Depression-era collaboration between two Illinois-born artists. In “Doris and Russell Lee: A Marriage of Art,” Mary Jane Appel traces the mutually creative practices that shaped both Doris’s American Scene paintings and Russell’s work as a documentary photographer for the Farm Security Administration. 

Illinois Heritage, January–February 2019

Volume 22, Number 1

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The Illinois bicentennial commemoration wrapped up for the Illinois State Historical society with our 2018 History Symposium on December 3 at the University of Illinois Springfield. Many thanks to our excellent speakers––Michael Wiant, Bill Kemp, Devin Hunter, and Bob Sampson––for donating their time and  talents to the program. 

This year brings us another anniversay to celebrate: the 120th anniversary of the ISHS, which was organized on May 19, 1899. The Society continues to be the leading advocate for the promotion of historical research and understanding of our Prairie State history. With our dedicated Board of Directors, Advisors, and staff we seek to expand the reach of our organization into every home in the state of Illinois and beyond, but that kind of mission requires the participation of every member of the Society too. Please do your part by renewing your membership (if you have not already done so), and by sharing our publications and programs with Illinois history advocates in your community. Consider sponsoring a public library membership, nominating a community museum exhibit or local history author for an award, or sharing news of a historical event in your hometown. We all learn when we share our history. 
 

Illinois Heritage, November–December 2018

Volume 21, Number 6

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100 years ago the bells tolled across the nation announcing the end of World War I. But if history has told us anything, the wounds from that cataclysm persist to the present day and the reverberations echo on and on. It is fitting that we commemorate the anniversary of the end of “The War to End All Wars” by revisiting what Illinoisans who survived it remembered. Great appreciation is offered to guest editor Bill Kemp, who put the bones and flesh on this issue of Illinois Heritage, and to the guest authors who gave it life.

In this issue we also congratulate the 2018 Centennial Award recipients, businesses and not-for-profit organizations that have served Illinoisans for 100 or more years. At a time when we hear so much about companies leaving the state, it is a delight to recognize those corporations whose roots remain deep in the Prairie soil.

Thanks to all of you who have taken time to renew your 2019 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.” 

Wishing you the very best of holiday seasons, and a happy and brilliant New Year. 

Volume 111 Number 3 Fall 2018

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For the Fall 2018 issue of the Journal we return to our usual quarterly format. In "Setting the Northern Border of Illinois," longtime Illinois chronicler David W. Scott offers a refurbished account of the boundary disputes that led to the creation of the State of Illinois. Scott surveys the history of the 1787 Northwest Ordinance and the subsequent efforts by territorial leaders to set the current boundaries of the Old Northwest. From the Vantage point of 200 years, it is clear that Nathaniel W. Pope, Illinois Territory's delegate to Congress in 1817, was the leading force behind the statehood bill that pushed the northern boundary of Illinois a full sixty miles north of what the Northwest Ordinance originally called for. Had Pope failed to gain any Lake Michigan shoreline for Illinois, today Chicago and the collar counties would all be in Wisconsin, and Illinois' economic and demographic profile more like modern day Iowa or Kansas. 

The next two articles examine aspects of twentieth century liberalism and its shortcomings. In "Shelter Men': Life in Chicago's Public Shelters during the Great Depression," Chris Wright offers a spirited assessment of New Deal era public relief in Chicago. Wright's fine-grained case study reveals the limitations of municipal relief policy during the Great Depression and how the men responded to the many exigencies and indignities of shelter life. In telling this story, Wright emphasizes the class-conscious agency and essential humanity of the shelter men, as they negotiated and resisted the worst facets of being homeless---or "bums," as the conservative Chicago Tribune labeled them. 

Finally, in "All the Way with Adlai: John Bartlow Martin and the 1952 Adlai Stevenson Campaign," Ray E. Boomhower offers a detailed, behind-the-scenes account of the freelance journalist's role as speechwriter for the 1952 Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign. Boomhower tells the story of Martin's political coming of age as a New Frontier or Great Society liberal Democrat; before 1952, Martin's award-winning journalism was free of partisan calculations or commitments. Yet as it turned out, the subjects of Martin's earlier freelance career---America's underprivileged and forgotten classes---became increasingly central to the policy agenda of postwar liberalism. Boomhower's engaging narrative thus takes us back to a formative moment in the history of the Democratic Party. 


 




A Bicentennial Commemorative of the Prairie State

Readings from the "Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society"

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A Bicentennial Commemorative of the Prairie State: Readings from the "Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society"
Edited by David W. Scott, with a foreword by Leah Joy Axelrod

Culled from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society’s 110-year archive of scholarship, this volume of more than thirty articles illuminates the colorful episodes, meaningful events, and significant characters in the rich history of Illinois. Selected by committee and edited by David W. Scott, A Bicentennial Commemorative of the Prairie State celebrates the state’s two-hundred-year history with a broad scope of voices and perspective.

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