Sunday, May 28, 2023


Best of Illinois History Awards: And the winners are. . .

Elaine Evans
/ Categories: General News

Best of Illinois History Awards: And the winners are. . .

Illinois State Historical Society

The Illinois State Historical Society introduced the 2023 recipients of its Best of Illinois History awards on Saturday, April 29, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield. In keeping with the mission of the ISHS “to foster awareness, understanding, research, preservation, and recognition of history in Illinois,” the Society honored this year’s 30-plus award recipients and their invited guests, many of whom had traveled from several states and one from Switzerland to accept their awards.

Best of Illinois History award recipients received a certificate from the Society and a free ticket to the luncheon and, in some cases, a cash prize or scholarship. The Olive Foster Teacher of the Year award and the Verna Ross Orndorff Student Scholarship come with $1,000 prizes. The Russell P. Strange Book of Year winner also receives a cash gift, as does the recipient of the Russell Lewis Young Museum Professional Award Society. To learn more about these awards and their sponsors, visit the ISHS website at

The 2023 Best of Illinois History Award recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Glennette Tilley Turner, Wheaton
Gregory J. Koos, Bloomington l

Russell P. Strange Memorial Book of the Year Award

Avenues of Transformation: Illinois’s Path from Territory to State
James A. Edstrom

Olive Foster Teacher of the Year Award

Amanda Becker. Rockford Auburn High School, Rockford

Russell L. Lewis Jr. Young Museum Professional Award

      Jojo Galva Mora

Verna Ross Orndorff Scholarship Award

Ryan Allen, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Bloomington, for his essay, “The Light of Lincoln.”

Harry E. Pratt Award

Cate LiaBraaten, for her article, “Slide Rules: Adults and Children on Chicago Playgrounds,

ISHS Volunteer of the Year Award

Miranda Bailey-Peetz, Springfield




Books: Scholarly

Latinos in Chicago: Quest for Political Voice
Wilfredo Cruz
Certificate of Excellence

A Worthy Piece of Work: The Untold Story of Madeline Morgan and the Fight for Black History in Chicago
Michael Hines
Certificate of Excellence

Dawn’s Light Woman & Nicolas Franchomme: Marriage and Law in the Illinois Country
Carl J. Ekberg and Sharon K. Person
Superior Achievement

Mary Lincoln Demystified: Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham’s Wife
Donna D. McCreary
Superior Achievement

Forgetting and the Forgotten: A Thousand Years of Contested Histories in the Heartland
Michael C. Batinski
Superior Achievement

A House for the Struggle: The Black Press & the Built Environment in Chicago
E. James West
Superior Achievement

A Brick and a Bible: Black Women’s Radical Activism in the Midwest during the Great Depression
Melissa Ford
Certificate of Excellence

Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification
Mike Amezcua
Certificate of Excellence

Books: Other

The Hidden Story of Annie Turnbo Malone: The First Black Female Millionaire
James (Agbara) Bryson
Certificate of Merit

Every Goddamn Day: A Highly Selective, Definitely Opinionated, and Alternatingly Humorous and Heartbreaking Historical Tour of Chicago
Neil Steinberg
Superior Achievement

Bears vs. Cardinals: The NFL’s Oldest Rivalry
Joe Ziemba
Certificate of Excellence

A Gold Medal Man: Biography of Kenneth “Tug” Wilson
Vanessa E. Curry
Certificate of Excellence

Illinois Trails and Traces: Portraits and Stories along the State’s Historic Routes
Gary Marx and Daniel Overturf
Superior Achievement

Geigerbuch: Connecting Germany and Switzerland to Illinois, and Back
Morgan Sue Gray
Certificate of Excellence

Special Projects

“Making Our History: Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacies” (Arts Residency Program)
Graham Peck and Brytton Bjorngaard
Superior Achievement

David Adler: Great House Architect (4-part Docuseries)
Kristin N. Smith
Superior Achievement

“Recognizing Tazewell County’s Underground Railroad Conductors” (Series of Public Relations Events)
John Ackerman, Susan Ryerson, and Reverend Marvin Hightowe
Superior Achievement

Non-Book Materials

On-going Periodicals

Three Columns from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
“Lyman Trumbull—A principled Illinois lawyer who was true to his convictions”
 “Workers’ Rights Amendment: How it could play out now, later”
“The 10 days of filibuster--a modern approach to an old Senate practice.”

Ann M. Lousin
Certificate of Merit


Refraction: Finding Identity
The Batavia Depot Museum
Superior Achievement

Collection Preservation

“Complete Digitization and New Public Website for Tazewell County Military Discharge Records
Tazewell County Clerk & Recorder of Deeds Office in partnership with ArcaSearch of Cold Spring, Minnesota
Certificate of Excellence


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