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2021 Best of Illinois History Awards

Elaine Evans
/ Categories: General News

2021 Best of Illinois History Awards

Congratulations to this year’s achievers. You have given all of us much to discover. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to Prairie State history!

The COVID-19 pandemic was, despite the nationwide lockdown, a banner year for Prairie State history, as this year’s “Best of Illinois History Awards” attest. Nominations came in from all over the state and quite a few from beyond our perimeters, suggesting that Illinois “Wondrous Story” has wings.

This year’s Best of Illinois History harvest includes teachers and students, scholars and researchers, volunteers and professionals, writers and editors, and young and old—people from all walks of life who have broadened our knowledge of what it means to be an Illinoisan and to call this landscape home.

SPECIAL AWARDS

ISHS “Lifetime Achievement” Award
Charlotte E. Johnson, Alton
Charlotte has cast her shadow across southwest central Illinois for nearly 50 years as a researcher, genealogist, historian, teacher, and “encyclopedia of African-American history.” Nominated by the Madison County Historical Society, Johnson is recognized for her knowledge and expertise but also for her reputation as a historical resource and her generosity as researcher—hallmarks of her nomination letters of support. Ms. Johnson taught choral music in Chicago and Minneapolis before moving to Alton and becoming involved with the Black Pioneers of the Alton Museum, and later with the 20th Century African American Leaders of Alton exhibit. These contributions led to her work with the Springfield Bicentennial Commission’s exhibit “If the Truth Be Told,” and with the National Park Services and its Underground Railroad Freedom Project. According to SIU-School of Medicine’s W.G. Robinson-McNeese, Director of Diversity Initiatives, “Charlotte’s body of work is extensive. Her reputation in research is impeccable, and she is well respected by her peers. Personally, I line up to support this award without hesitation.”

Verna Ross Orndorff Student Essay Award
Annabelle Bishop
Alleman Catholic High School (Rock Island)
Annabelle’s winning 1,500 word-essay, “Civil War Prison Camps in Illinois,” examines the internment camps for Confederate soldiers at Alton, Springfield, Chicago, and Rock Island, that housed thousands of prisoners captured between 1862 and April 1865. Annabelle’s essay comes with a $1,000 scholarship and is printed in this issue of Illinois Heritage.

Olive W. Foster Teacher of the Year Award
Kelbey McMath
Clinton Junior High School
Kelbey’s historical activities in and around DeWitt County have earned kudos from Veterans organizations and community leaders. His most recent classroom project inspired his students to utilize primary and secondary sources to research their own family histories. These types of activities sow seeds for a lifetime interest in history and genealogy. As president of the DeWitt County Museum, Kelbey is in the perfect position to lead and support his community, and this award reflects our confidence that his good works will endure.

PUBLIC EXHIBITIONS AND MULTI MEDIA PROJECTS

“Morgan County Poorhouse and Farm”
Todd Spann. Produced by Todd Spann and Joe Squillace
Certificate of Excellence

*Grayslake Bars and Prohibition”
Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum
Certificate of Excellence

ONGOING PUBLICATIONS

“Once Upon a Time”
Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County
Certificate of Excellence

“The Governor’s Post”
Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County
Certificate of Merit

SPECIAL PROJECTS

Waukegan Historical Society
Waukegan History Museum Companion App
Superior Achievement

The Grove Interpretive Center Renovation
The Grove National Historic Landmark
Superior Achievement

“The Story of this Land”
Grayslake Historical Society
Certificate of Merit

PUBLICATIONS SCHOLARLY

Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America
Theodore J. Karamanski
University of Wisconsin Press
Superior Achievement

As the Twig is Bent: A Memoir by Wallace Byron Grange
Edited by Joseph L. Breitenstein and Richard P. Thiel
University of Wisconsin Press
Certificate of Excellence

The Untold History of the First Illinois State Hospital for the Insane
Joe Squillace
Self-Published
Certificate of Merit

Masters of the Middle Waters: Indian Nations and Colonial Ambitions along the Mississippi
Jacob F. Lee
Harvard University Press
Superior Achievement

Arguing Until Doomsday: Stephen Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and the Struggle for American Democracy
Michael E. Woods
University of North Carolina Press
Superior Achievement

Plague Years: A Doctor’s Journey through the AIDS Crisis
Ross A. Slotten, M.D
University of Chicago Press
Superior Achievement

After Redlining: The Urban Reinvestment in the Era of Financial Deregulation
Rebecca K. Marchiel
University of Chicago Press
Superior Achievement

Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City
William Sites
University of Chicago Press
Certificate of Excellence

Tales of Forgotten Chicago
Richard C. Lindberg
Southern Illinois University Press
Certificate of Excellence

Chicago Católico: Making Catholic Parishes Mexican
Deborah E. Kanter
University of Illinois Pres
Superior Achievement

Organizing Freedom: Black Emancipation Activism in the Civil War Midwest
Jennifer R. Harbour
Southern Illinois University Press
Certificate of Excellence

Fortune and Faith in Old Chicago: A Dual Biography of Mayor Augustus Garrett and Seminary Founder Eliza Clark Garrett
Charles H. Cosgrove
Southern Illinois University Press
Superior Achievement

Edith: The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick
Andrea Friederici Ross
Southern Illinois University Press
Certificate of Excellence

The Loop: The “L” Tracks that Shaped and Saved Chicago
Patrick T. Reardon
Southern Illinois University Press
Superior Achievement

Poles in Illinois
John Radzilowski and Ann Hetzel Gunkel
Southern Illinois University Press
Superior Achievement

Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance: New Negro Writers, Artists and Intellectuals, 1893-1930
Edited by Richard A. Courage and Christopher Robert Reed
University of Illinois Press
Certificate of Excellence”

The Princess and the Prophet: The Secret History of Magic, Race, and Moorish Muslims in America
Jacob S. Dorman
Beacon Press
Certificate of Excellence

Power, Purpose, and Prison: Stories About Former Illinois Governors
Robert E. Hartley
Self-Published
Certificate of Merit

Lincoln in Alton
Tom Emery
History in Print (Self-Published)
Certificate of Excellence

ONGOING PERIODICALS

“Friends of Leclaire Newsletter”
Certificate of Merit

“Illinois Constitutional Columns for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Ann Lousin
Certificate of Merit

PUBLICATIONS OTHER

At Grandma’s House: The World War II Homefront in Havana, Illinois
H. Byron Earhart
Saluki Press
Certificate of Excellence

The Society of the Living Dead: The Illustrated History of Ottawa’s Radium Dial Scandal
Jim Ridings
America Thru Time Press
Certificate of Excellence

Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909
Jim Ridings
America Thru Time Press
Certificate of Merit

Addison: The Village Continues
Village of Addison
Donning Company Publishing
Certificate of Excellence.

“Stories of Grayslake”
Grayslake Historical Society
Certificate of Excellence

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