Tuesday, January 31, 2023


2018 ISHS Annual Awards Winners

2018 ISHS Annual Awards Winners
Elaine Evans
/ Categories: General News

2018 ISHS Annual Awards Winners

Congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients for the 2018 ISHS Annual Awards. Every one of these projects reflects great credit on the individuals, historical societies or museums, presses, and communities from which they spring. They also showcase the varied and impressive breadth of our Prairie State history. As we move through and beyond our state’s bicentennial year, we appreciate this opportunity to thank the scholars, curators, and public historians who choose to commemorate Illinois’s past through their creative efforts, thereby encouraging further research and understanding of our state’s history.

Olive Foster Teacher of the Year

Richard J. Hansen. Mt. Zion High School. 

For the past twenty-one years, Richard Hansen has had an exemplary career as a teacher of history and social studies at Mt. Zion High School. He and his students have created many outstanding exhibits that reflect the history of African Americans, and Mr. Hansen has been a catalyst for students becoming involved in, and aware of, their local, regional, state, and national heritage. Toward that end he has engaged his students in research relative to local lynchings. Under his supervision, his students investigated the death of Samuel J. Bush, the first African American to be lynched in Macon County when he was killed by a Mt. Zion mob in June 1893. He has taken his Advanced Placement students to Little Rock, Arkansas, and to Plains, Georgia to meet with Civil Rights leaders such as Thelma Mothershed-Wair, one of the “Little Rock Nine,” and with President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter. Mr. Hansen is an exceptional an innovative teacher, a resounding voice of diversity for now and the future. His love for and knowledge of history, coupled with a wide array of effective teaching strategies, are the forces that enable him to take his students on meaningful and productive journeys of their own through their country’s past. Mr. Hansen is also receiving the Society’s Award of Merit for his 2017 book, Education Has No Color: The Story of Thelma Mothershed Wair, One of the Little Rock Nine, published by Jefferson National Parks Association.

ISHS Volunteer of the Year

Elaine Shemoney Evans.

It is always an honor to recognize a member of the ISHS organization who contributes to the operation in ways that go above and beyond what is normally expected of a director or member. Elaine Shemoney Evans is such an individual. Since her retirement from the Illinois State Archives and assuming a position on the ISHS Board of Directors, Elaine has worked to rebuild the Society’s website, adding new pages, making it interactive, and ensuring that Society activities and events are well publicized on the web. She has also worked to reorganize the Society’s historical markers archive and files, adding photos of new markers. More recently she created the PowerPoint presentation for our Sesquicentennial House of Worship event. Elaine is a behind-the-scenes person who makes a great effort to make us all look good. Thank you, Elaine, for a job well done!

Publications, Other

  • The Oil Belt Railroad, A Little Railroad Saga. By John Hamilton, published by the Lawrence County Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “A fascinating account of a business venture that never quite got on the track to financial stability and success. Culled from primarily secondary sources, the Oil Belt Railroad tells a compelling story that will appeal to local readers and railroad buffs alike. Mr. Hamilton is to be commended for going back to his county’s newspaper archives and digging up this story, which might otherwise have been lost to public memory.”

  • Cotton, Violins & Shots in the Night: A Timeline Visit to Rochester, Illinois. Raymond and Pamela Bruzan. Certificate of Excellence.

    “A wonderfully generous gift to the citizens of Rochester, allowing readers to travel through the decades, exploring family roots and to learn about significant people and events in their town’s history, but also within the broader context of Illinois’s rich history.”

    "As a local history book, this title more than serves its purpose, and the authors have accomplished a lot. It is well organized, well-illustrated, and the research is first rate.”

  • Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains. By Greg Borzo, with photographs by Julia Thiel. Southern Illinois University Press. Certificate of Excellence. 

    “Borzo and Thiel have done a great service by showing how a book can serve as both a guidebook for exploration and a way to increase awareness of the importance of certain structures in local history. It is a book to savor on the couch or to use while biking or driving around the city. Reading Borzo is like having a knowledgeable and funny tour guide sitting next to you as you tour the city’s fountains.”

    “A very impressive, thorough, and well-researched book—part coffee table book and picture book—yet combining history, geography, architecture, and the idea of public space very well. Its quality and narration were a very pleasant surprise and I learned a lot from it. Definitely a keeper.”
Publications, Scholarly

  • Julius Rosenwald: Repairing the World. By Hasia R. Diner. Yale University Press. Superior Achievement.

    “Julius Rosenwald is a giant of 20th century business. At the helm of Sears Roebuck Company, he revolutionized the department store and catalog shopping. But it is as a behind-the-scenes philanthropist that he made his greatest mark on American culture and Society. Hasia R. Diner gives us a sterling portrait of this modest man, who shared his wealth in support of Jewish and African-American causes, and transformed the practice of philanthropy. ‘The book shines a light on his belief in the importance of giving in the present to make an impact on the future.’”

  • Chicago on the Make: Power and Inequality in a Modern City. By Andrew J. Diamond. University of California Press. Superior Achievement.

    “The author shows how all of Chicago’s widely differing groups were involved in making the ‘city that works’ a city where power rules and inequality prevails. This is an outstanding book on how Chicago came to be the way it is.”

    “Diamond presents the historical issues facing minorities, immigrants, and the poor in Chicago and explains how powerful white leaders reacted and used patronage and privatization to control even grass-roots resistance and build stronger walls of segregation and inequality. This is a powerful and disturbing book.”

  • Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship, 1833-1843. By Reg Ankrom. McFarland Press. Superior Achievement.

    “This book gives a clear and detailed account of how Stephen A. Douglas got to Jacksonville, Illinois, and how his ambition drove him to use his personality and intelligence to stair-step his way quickly from poverty to the U.S. Congress.”

  • Northeastern Illinois University: The First 150 Years. By Richard C. Lindberg. The Donning Company, Publishers. Superior Achievement.

    "Well-written, thoroughly documented, and fascinating, Northeastern Illinois University follows the history of the university over the last century and a half, from its beginnings in Blue Island to its present campuses in African American and Latino neighborhoods. The NEIU’s history as a teaching college (Cook County Normal School) and its evolution are explored as only Lindberg, an historian and alumnus, could do.”

  • Liquid Capital: Making the Chicago Waterfront. By Joshua A. T. Salzmann. University of Pennsylvania Press. Superior Achievement.

    “I very much enjoyed the beginning chapters of this book, which filled in some gaps of my specific knowledge about the Chicago River as a harbor and commercial center. This portion was clearly written, concise, and good at explaining the big picture of the river, lake, and growing town.”

    “A model for those interested in economic studies and the use of economic date, using much original research, and with a useful index.”

  • Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Guide to Lincoln’s Eighth Judicial Circuit. By Guy C. Fraker. Certificate of Excellence.

    “This work serves as an excellent companion to the author’s earlier work, Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit, published in 2012. This is a very good travel companion for visitors, with good basic information on the communities of the old circuit, and tips on finding off-the-beaten-path places that Lincoln made great.”

    “I will recommend this publication to others and will keep a copy of it in my glove compartment, for when I’m travelling in one of the counties on the circuit.”

  • Farmers Helping Farmers: The Rise of the Farm and Home Bureaus, 1914-1935. By Nancy K. Berlage. Louisiana State University Press. Superior Achievement.

    “This book will be cited as a source for future historians writing about agriculture and farm bureaus. The author knows her facts and the book is well researched with good analysis and a lot of anecdotes. The bibliography alone makes it an excellent resource for future writers about this subject.”

  • Lincoln’s Sense of Humor. By Richard Carwardine. Southern Illinois University Press. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Well executed, well researched, and well-reasoned, Lincoln’s Sense of Humor, part of SIU Press’s Concise Lincoln Library series, makes a good argument on the importance of Lincoln’s humor throughout his life and offers many examples of it.”

    “This book’s thesis—that Lincoln carefully used, honed, and modified his use of humor to fit particular situations or gain a political (or legal) advantage—is concisely demonstrated, showing how Lincoln used his sense of humor as a personal and political tool to rise in the world.”

  • Prairie Defender: The Murder Trials of Abraham Lincoln. By George R. Dekle, Sr. Southern Illinois University Press. Superior Achievement.

    “Mr. Dekle does an excellent job presenting the cases, dispelling myth from fact, and he offers compelling analysis of the arguments Lincoln brought to some fascinating and little-known murder trials. Lincoln’s evolution as a capable—and even brilliant—prosecutor and defense lawyer offers great insight into what it meant to be a prairie lawyer in 19th century Illinois.”

    “The author isn’t afraid to stake out opinions and debunk myths, misperceptions or previous analyses. His case-by-case review of Lincoln’s murder trials, taken from the perspective of an attorney, is very good, and I believe, very original. It certainly helps his analysis greatly.”

  • Lincoln in Indiana. By Brian Dirck. Southern Illinois University Press. Certificate of Excellence.

    “An outstanding contribution to the field of Lincoln scholarship offering an insightful overview in the most understudied period in Lincoln’s life: his adolescence and early adult years—1816-1830—when he lived with family on a farm in Indiana. Using archival, published primary and secondary sources, Dirck explores the environment from which Lincoln emerged, arguing that it developed his world view and helped him succeed in the context of rough-and-tumble early Indiana.”

    “A well-written, brief, easy-to-read account of Lincoln’s formative years in Indiana.”

  • Lincoln and Congress. By William C. Harris. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Lincoln’s presidency and his relationship with the wartime Congress are the culmination of his long career as a lawyer and political speaker on the Illinois circuit. It would be impossible for his ascendancy to the highest office in the land without his prairie years, and his Washington years from 1861-1865 are always looking back to Illinois. This book puts Lincoln in the hornet’s nest of history, and reveals how he and Congress worked together to build consensus, and to release their ‘better angels’ for the benefit of the nation.”

  • Corn Kings and One-Horse Thieves: A Plain-Spoken History of Mid-Illinois. By James Krohe Jr. Southern Illinois University Press. Superior Achievement.

    “I expected a book of anecdotes, but it displays, and more importantly imparts, an incredible amount of knowledge and information. The author weaves a great story and certainly knows his topic, while making the case for Illinois’s uniqueness. It is a great history of central Illinois, successfully relating Illinois history to the larger world. It is one of the ten best books on Illinois history I have read in a decade.”

    “If you want to know about the history of mid-Illinois, James Krohe Jr. has it covered. This is an outstanding book, well-written and well-researched.”

  • A History of the Poorhouse and Farm in Morgan County, Illinois. By Joe Squillace. Published by the Morgan County Historical Society and MacMurray College. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Studies such as this one the reader and researcher a look at the role such facilities played in a society that was ill-equipped to care for its disadvanged. Squillace and his students deserve credit for opening our eyes into a world seldom seen clearly, showing us the intentions and consequences of trying to care for troubled members of society.”

    “The individual profiles supplement a rich statistical overview of the farm and give greater context to a fabled and much misunderstood social service network in early Morgan County.”

  • Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Battle Over Freedom. By Graham A. Peck. University of Illinois Press. Book of the Year.

    “Graham Peck offers a sophisticated analysis of the forces that led to the Civil War, emphasizing how Abraham Lincoln disguised the wolf of radical antislavery nationalism with conservative sheep’s clothing, and how Stephen A. Douglas was gradually crushed between the upper millstone of Southern intransigence and the nether millstone of Northern disaffection for his tolerance of slavery.”

    “An excellent summary of Illinois politics prior to the Civil War.”

  • Force of Nature: George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement. By Arthur Melville Pearson. University of Wisconsin Press. Superior Achievement.

    “The theme that comes through Pearson’s insightful and informed text is the force of George Fell’s personality and his determination to establish and preserve the natural areas of the Midwest. The trajectory of his efforts led him to change courses often and the reader arrives at a better understanding of what drove Fell—despite his flaws—to continue in his efforts to get passage of the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act.”

    Force of Nature reveals how a failed civil servant, with few assets apart from his tenacity and vision, initiated the natural areas movement.”
Ongoing Periodicals

  • Lawrence Lore, III. Lawrence County Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Another fine production of the Lawrence County Historical Society, reprinted from the Society’s blog. Using vintage photographs and nuggets of local history, this project builds a fan base for history that leads to an awareness for preservation of buildings, documents, photographs and local history in general.”

    “A fascinating portrait of Lawrence County emerges from these pages. I finished this book with a surprisingly full image of local residents and community events of the last 100 years. Shows excellent use of primary historical evidence and is a model for how historical information can be presented in a fun, easy-to-enjoy way.”

  • Law and Politics. Ann Lousin. Three articles published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Professor Ann Lousin’s columns are informed, well-written, and insightful. Her writing would be welcome in any publication, and her style and point of view are refreshing, worthy of our respect and admiration. I especially enjoyed her column on the Balbo monument and the need for new historical markers in Chicago. Her tease about bicentennial columns to come suggests next year’s crop will delight all who care about Prairie State history.”

  • A Century Ago—Next Month. By Charles Stanley. Articles published in the Ottawa Times. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Charles Stanley’s engaging and very readable column about LaSalle County reach an audience that might otherwise be unaware of their own local history. His use of historical newspaper articles to update old stories—and tell new ones—offers great insight and perspective; it’s a nifty blend of past and present.”

Special Projects

  • Lincoln Learning Center. Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “The name ‘Learning Center’ says it all. Local community support raised $400,000 for this project and achieved multiple purposes, including a new home for the historical society. This new center is ideal for monthly meetings, and will serve as a venue for historical education program, and host traveling exhibits. Well done!”

    “Fifteen students from 3rd to 6th grades participated in the third Junior Historians Program last summer at the Lincoln-Manahan Home and Lincoln Learning Center. We can’t wait for them to be Senior historians."

  • South Suburban College: 90-Year Anniversary Historic Wall Display. South Suburban College. Certificate of Excellence.

    “The project provides its audience with both an immediate and long-lasting recognition for the significance of this milestone anniversary. The timeline book and community activities were well-planned, thus ensuring the college’s anniversary was celebrated by past and future graduates.”

    “The college has a tradition of creating individual walls to display the history of the various towns they serve. How appropriate that the college dedicates a wall for their own story.”

  • Pieces of the Past. Waukegan Historical Society. Superior Achievement.

    “This creative and original inter-active project, initiated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Waukegan Park District, was simple in design, inexpensive to build, and far-reaching in its impact on the community. Fifty large puzzle pieces scattered throughout the district, each telling a unique story about the parks and holding a secret code that leads to special prizes—What fun! Ty Rohrer and the Waukegan Historical Society have demonstrated that imagination and creativity are still our best tools for engaging audiences.”

    “I loved this project and plan to appropriate it for our park district.

Multi-Media Productions

  • Friday the 13th Fire: The Day Bridgeport Burned (DVD). Lawrence County Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Overall, this is outstanding model for other historical societies. It shows how a compelling story can be told using modern technology that will engage modern viewers, especially younger ones accustomed to video technology.”

    “A well-researched and finely executed documentary, as well as an excellent teaching tool for students. It provides a glimpse of one horrific day in the town of Bridgeport, where residents must have feared their entire town would be lost.”

  • Home Town Teams. Lawrence County Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Congratulations to the Lawrence County Historical Society for its well-thought-out exhibit Home Town Teams. The project was inventive and frugal, and the long-range planning was brilliant. They sought out sports artifacts and were rewarded with donations. They targeted alumni, and planned the exhibit around the county’s Homecoming celebrations. Brilliant.”

    “A spirit-building exhibit engaging a small county with a proud history. Excellent documentation.”

  • Dresses. Virginia Bath and the Beecher Historical Society. Certificate of Excellence.

    “Pairing early photographs with recent paintings of them was the initiative of this 95-year-old curator. She put great effort into creating this display, which attracted visitors “Driving the Dixie” highway. We salute her creativity.”

    “A delightfully creative approach to the challenge of how a local historical society can use photographs to tell the history of clothing and its role in community life. Overall this a fresh, original approach to the exhibition of historic clothing, and an original demonstration of how art can illuminate a historical topic.”
Lifetime Achievement

  • John H. Hallwas, Macomb.

    During his long career as an English professor and archivist at Western Illinois University, John Hallwas has written or edited twenty-eight books related to Illinois history and literature. Two of them, The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America (1999) and Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers (2008), were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In addition, Dr. Hallwas has written nearly 100 scholarly articles and hundreds of others for magazines and newspapers (including Illinois Heritage). He is a recipient of the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award (2004), and his own life is a fascinating story of struggle and hard work and the kindness of strangers. He has been and remains a great mentor to students, modeling the successful scholar who is also a public historian, committed to telling the fascinating stories of Macomb, McDonough County, and Illinois to the world. Dr. Hallwas is now serving his second year on the ISHS Advisory Board.

  • William (Bill) Iseminger, Collinsville. 

    William Iseminger has enjoyed a long career in both anthropology and archaeology. He began his career at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in 1971, where his present title is Assistant Site Manager. His publications number over 100, and his 2010 study, Cahokia Mounds: America’s First City, remains the best study of the prehistoric civilization for general readers. His most recent recognition comes from the Illinois Archaeology Society, which awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He serves on the Collinsville Historic Preservation Commission, and recently guided the restoration and relocation of the historic D.D. Collins. Likewise, he has been instrumental in identifying other historic properties in the city and advocating for their preservation.

  • David W. Scott, Springfield. 

    David Scott is an independent history scholar who has worked to promote local, regional, and statewide history for more than three decades. In addition to serving as the president of the Illinois State Historical Society from 2004 to 2005, he served as president of the Sangamon County Historical Society, and two terms as president of the Springfield Preservation Association of Springfield. As ISHS president, David shepherded the Society through a strategic planning initiative in 2005, led the effort to revise the Society’s constitution and bylaws, organized the 2005 annual tour, and has chaired the ISHS Publications Committee for the last 12 years. He has written numerous articles for the Society’s Journal and Illinois Heritage, and most recently finished editing a collection of Journal articles from the last century that will be published later this year by SIU Press in time for the state’s bicentennial celebration.
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