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7/4/1778

George Rogers Clark and about 175 men defeat the British at Kaskaskia and Illinois is organized as a county of Virginia.

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Since 1934, the Illinois State Historical Society has erected more than 500 historical markers statewide. Subjects of historical significance to Illinois are co-sponsored by local organizations and supporters. The Illinois State Historical Society coordinates the placement and management of historical markers throughout the state.

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Do you have an exciting local history news story or an event that you would like to share? Use this form to submit it and after a quick review it will be added to our news roll or events calendar. The goal is to add news and events from all over the state to celebrate Illinois’ rich history. Get involved and get the word out about news and events in your area.

 

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Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2019

Volume 112, Number 4

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2019

We close 2019 with three outstanding scholarly contributions to Illinois history. In “Getting to ‘Lake Michigan’: a 350-year Onomastic Odyssey,” Michael McCafferty, a linguist at Indiana University Bloomington, explores the origins of the placename, “Michigan.” While popular translations have long affixed the meaning “big water” to the placename “Michigan,” McCafferty finds that this myth is not supported in the linguistic evidence.

In “A Writer of More Than Usual Charm: The Dynamic Influence of Dr. Milo Milton Quaife and Harriet Martineau on Juliette Magill Kinzie’s Contributions to American Frontier Literature,” literary historian Franklin E. Court traces Quaife’s influence in both elevating Kinzie to, and preserving her place in, the canon of early nineteenth century American frontier literature.

In “Sorrow Comes to All: Bloomington, Illinois’s Demonstration of Community Participation in Civil War Grief,” Megan VanGorder explores the rituals and practices surrounding death and grief in the Civil War.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Fall 2019

Volume 112, Number 3

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Fall 2019

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. 

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. 

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 Wheaton College and the larger community of Wheaton, Illinois on matters of race. Before the Civil War both college and town were well-known for abolitionism and relatively enlightened racial views.

Volume 112 Number 2 Summer 2019

Volume 112 Number 2 Summer 2019

Our summer issue presents three essays on topics that have not received much scholarly attention. In "The African American Community in Brushy Fork, Illinois, 1818-1861," co-authors Charles Foy and Michael Bradley examine the origins and history of a small and isolated free black settlement in northern Coles County. There is a paucity of scholarship on rural free black communities before the Civil War. Digging deep into census data and the relatively sparse documentary record on Brushy Fork in the antebellum era, Foy and Bradley reconstruct life in this remote prairie settlement. Due to Illinois's discriminatory black codes, and the ever-present danger of being pursued, caught, and taken South into slavery, the people of this community lived precarious lives. However, family and kinship networks, along with Brushy Fork's remoteness, enabled its people to create and maintain a fragile autonomy, at least partially free from white control, on the east central Illinois prairie. 

Just as scholarship on antebellum African Americans is heavily biased toward urban areas, so too the study of institutions designed to address poverty in the nineteenth century. In "Life on the Morgan County, Illinois Poor Farm: Christian Benevolence in Early Social Services," Joe Squillace focuses on the history and treatment of the poor in a rural, west central Illinois setting. To be sure, normative ideas of Christian benevolence undergirded the efforts to build institutions that could serve the poor in Morgan County. Jacksonville, the county seat and location for the county poorhouse, was also home to several state institutions that served what many at the time considered the deserving poor. Sometimes this outlook led to efforts to control the lives and movements of the marginalized, so-called undeserving population, as some scholars of nineteenth century poor releif have argued. Squillace's fascinating research uncovers the many ways in which the poorhouse served as a safety net of last resort , where the poor and afflicted, of whatever background or circumstance, turned to for help and from which they received relatively enlightened care by standards of that day. For this reason, Squillace suggests, the Morgan County poorhouse "was a predecessor institution to later developments in institutional care" and later social welfare. 

Finally, in "Annabel Carey-Prescott: African American Educator and Chicago Leader," John S. Burger traces the history of this neglected pioneer in human relations education. Born to an affluent black family, Carey-Prescott excelled in a career that spanned four decades, as both a teacher and administrator in Chicago public schools. Burger documents how her idea to introduce human relations concepts into the classroom was first inspired by her travels to Europe, then later sharpened as she pursued Ph.D. work in education back in America. Of course, Carey-Prescott's innovative curriculum didn't solve Chicago's racial problems. But such a conclusion underestimates the value of Carey-Prescott's work and contribution to Chicago's black community, including its poorest members, from the 1920s to the 1950s.    

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