Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Welcome to the Illinois State Historical Sociey's online store. Over the years the Society has accumulated many books and since it is neither a research center nor a lending library, we have created this Store to make these books available for purchase. Most are single title items in like new condition. In addition to books, we are also offering for sale back issues of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society and Illinois Heritage, art work, and stationery. All proceeds from these sales will be used to support the Illinois State Historical Society.

*Most of the books for sale are new or very gently used and in extremely good condition.  If you have any specific questions, please feel free to call the office at 217-525-2781, Ext. 1.

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

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The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo (DVD)
The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo (DVD)

The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo is a celebration of early 19th century Springfield and Sangamon county, as chronicled by English poet John Hancock. Hancock was a well-traveled, Heart-broken poet from Cornwall, England, who arrived in Springfield in the summer of 1831, where he secured a job as a clerk in Jabez Capps’ Grocery. The play, produced and directed by ISHS executive director William Furry, is a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Sangamon County, established in the fall of 1821. Through the bard’s lively storytelling, the audience learns of the arrival of the steamboat Talisman, the Black Hawk War of 1832, the winter of the deep snow, and the fledging city’s ongoing battle with the local temperance society. Viewers also get insight into Hancock’s own unique life and experiences.



John Hallwas, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history and English at Western Illinois University, has written more than 20 books about Illinois history and culture and asserts Hancock was the finest poet in the Midwest in the 1830s. Hallwas’ book The Poetry of H: The Lost Poet of Lincoln’s Springfield (1982), is the basis for The Mysterious Bard of Sangamon. Victor Holstein is a Chicago actor (originally from Springfield), with television and film credits including Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Other People’s Children, and Good Genes. More recently he has worked at the prestigious Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.



The recording of the play was filmed in Springfield at the Elijah Iles House. The video was produced by Crowdson Creative Video Production, with additional outdoor footage of Sangamon County shot by William Furry. The program was funded with support for the Elijah Iles House Foundation, The Springfield Area Arts Council, by generous donors, and with a grant from the Sangamon County Historical Society.



Total run time: 1 hour and 7 minutes.



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