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Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, established in 1908, is the scholarly publication of the Illinois State Historical Society. The peer-reviewed Journal welcomes articles, essays, and documents about history, literature, art technology, law, and other subjects related to Illinois and the Midwest. Submission guidelines can be found here.

The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society is published quarterly and is available to everyone for purchase, discounts are included for members of the Illinois State Historical Society. Visit our Membership section for membership options and information.

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Illinois State Historical Society   |   Strawbridge-Shepherd House   |   PO Box 1800   |   Springfield, IL 62705-1800

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2020

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2020

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2020

Volume 113, No. 2


“Dying with Their Boots On: Illinois Minters and the Pursuit of a Good Death, 1862-1909”
Michael K. Rosenow
As economic changes fueled greater demand for coal in the nineteenth century, more Americans and immigrant’s labored in coal mines. Death stalked the mines, claiming victims in an array of macabre ways. Miners worked under persistent threat of a roof fall, fire, flood, or explosion ending their lives. Men lucky enough to escape death in the mine ran the risk of succumbing to an occupational disease. The omnipresence of death motivated the miners to take political action in lobbying for safety laws and organizing unions. The specter of death also compelled them to define the line between a good death and a bad death.

“The Trial of Cy DeVry: Manly Negotiations for Control Over Animals, People, and Public Space at Chicago’s First Zoo”
Margaret Hanson
On July 11, 1919, an article titled “Battle in Zoo Aired at Trial of Cy De Vry,” appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.” The article detailed a park board hearing regarding Lincoln Park Zoo head zookeeper Cyrus “Cy” DeVry’s employment at the zoo. During the hearing, the park board considered whether DeVry should be fired over his recent assault of a zoo visitor. As the Lincoln Park Zoo’s first director, DeVry participated in the process of establishing and defining zoos as a new kind of urban space, In Chicago, as elsewhere, the process involved a great deal of negotiation over a variety of issues as zoo managers, employees, and visitors grappled over the treatment of animals, the costs of animal care and acquisition, proper visitor behavior, animal names, and the value of maintaining a collection of animals in captivity for public display. The Tribune’s coverage of DeVry’s trial reflects the widespread public interest in the zoo’s first head keeper.

“Colbert, LaSalle, and the Search for Empire”
Richard Gross and Craig P. Howard
France’s King Louis XIV became the epitome of absolutist monarchy as a result of the indefatigable efforts of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, his chief minister over the first twenty-two years of his reign. It was Colbert who brought the Sun King out of the darkness of unending debt, built a navy virtually from scratch, and extended royal control over Frances’ colonial empire. The overlooked apotheoses of Colbert’s imperial strategy lay in his long0range plan to create a naval base on the Gulf of Mexico and provide the means to protect and supply his ships and sailors there. For this purpose, Colbert required an obscure territorial governor, Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur De La Salle, to modify his own plan to protect the Canadian fur trade to include the exploration of the Mississippi River to its mouth and to build a settlement there to sustain a seaport for the navy.

Book Reviews

Adjudicating Illinois Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court. By John A. Lupton
Reviewed by Eric Mogren

The Missouri River Journals of John James Audubon. Edited by Daniel Patterson
Reviewed by Timothy Dean Draper

Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy. By Jon D. Schaff
Reviewed by Tim Roberts

In Their Letters, In Their Words: Illinois Civil War Soldiers Write Home. By Mark Flotow
Reviewed by David Joens

The Selected Papers of Jane Addams: Volume 3–Creating Hull-House and an International Presence, 1889–1900. Edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, Maree de Augury, and Ellen Skerrett
Reviewed by Wendy Adele-Marie

Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women’s Activism in Modern America. By Anya Jabour
Reviewed by Michelle Bezark

The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters. By Joe Kraus
Reviewed by Aaron Welt

Building the Black Arts Movement: Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s. By Jonathan Fenderson
Reviewed by Jack Whalen

Operation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966–1971. By Martin L. Deppe
Reviewed by Nicholas Kryczka

Radicals in the Heartland: The 1960s Student Protest Movement at the University of Illinois. By Michael V. Metz
Reviewed by Kathleen Westman


Circa 1903. Cy DeVry posed with a baby monkey. Photo by Chicago Daily News, courtesy of the Chicago History Museum. DN-0001810.

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