Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Spring 2022

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Spring 2022
Elaine Evans

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Spring 2022

Volume 115, Number 1

Editor’s Comments

Long before it became a state, the places now covered by Illinois on a map were home to diverse human populations and have remained so to the present day. Our past is all around us and repeats familiar patterns as women, men, and children of different ethnicities, races, religions, and cultures interact, creating the wonderful mosaic of American life.

Change has always been with us and will continue to be. This issue marks a change in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, a publication until three years ago led by my predecessor, Mark Hubbard of Eastern Illinois University, who yielded the editor's chair on his retirement from teaching. Guest editors filled the gap until my selection as editor. It is both an honor and a challenge to lead such a formidable journal, one with a long, long history of telling Illinois's story in new ways, bringing the fresh eyes of new generations to past events and people.

This issue continues that tradition. James R. Barrett, professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, traces the key role Irish immigrants and their descendants played in reaching out to other ethnic and racial groups, as well as sometimes clashing with them. Richard Gross takes us back four centuries to another time of change when the French explorer LaSalle interacted with the Indigenous population of what is now our state.

Just as Chicagoans dealt with change and an increasingly diverse citizenry and LaSalle made his way in what to him was a new land, the Journal is responding in new ways to a changing environment. Timothy Draper, a professor of history at Waubonsee Community College, served from 2003 to 2021 as editor of the book review department. With this issue he takes on a new role as special projects editor. Tim will solicit and write historiographical essays and reviews of exhibitions and films. He and other contributors to this section will address diverse means of sharing our state's history.

Succeeding Tim as book review editor is Aaron Lisec, a researcher at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Special Collections Research Center. And, as mentioned above, there is a new editor. I have been active in Illinois history since the late 1980s, publishing articles in state history journals, researching, teaching, and reaching out to diverse audiences to share our past.

All of us—Tim, Aaron, and I—hope you will enjoy this and future issues of the journal. And if you have questions, concerns, or ideas, please contact me at

Best Regards,
Robert D. Sampson, PhD
Editor, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society


An Interethnic Paradox: Chicago's Irish and Everyone Else
James R. Barrett

Native Villages of La Salle's Illinois Country
Richard Gross

Review Essay

Finding a New Illinois History: Connecting with the Revival of Midwestern Regional History
Timothy Dean Draper

Book Reviews

Union Renegades: Miners, Capitalism, and Organizing in the Gilded Age
By Dana M. Caldemeyer
eviewed by: Emiliano Aguilar

Sweet Greeks: First-Generation Immigrant Confectioners in the Heartland
By Ann Flesor Beck
Reviewed by: Edward L. Bates

William Stimpson and the Golden Age of American Natural History
By Ronald Scott Vasile
Reviewed by: Todd Carr

he People's Money: Pensions, Debt, and Government Services
Edited by Michael A. Pagano
Reviewed by: Timothy Dean Draper

Commonwealth of Compromise: Civil War Commemoration in Missouri
By Amy Laurel Fluker
Reviewed by: Wayne Duerkes

Cowboy Presidents: The Frontier Myth and U.S. Politics
By David A. Smith
Reviewed by: Roland L. Guyotte

Grand Army of Labor: Workers, Veterans, and the Meaning of the Civil War
By Matthew E. Stanley
Reviewed by: Bucky Halker

A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers
By Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis
Reviewed by: Elizabeth I. Kershisnik

The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere
By Paulette F, C. Steeves
Reviewed by: Aaron J. Lawler

Punks in Peoria: Making a Scene in the American Heartland
By Jonathan Wright and Dawson Barrett
Reviewed by: Nicholas Miguel


William Z. Foster (third from the left) in Washington, D, to testify at the Senate hearings on the 1919 steel strike. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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