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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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Illinois Heritage

November–December 2019, Volume 22, Number 6

Elaine Evans 0 25 Article rating: No rating

The November-December issue of Illinois Heritage highlights just a few of the things your Society has been up to in recent weeks. The Centennial Business Awards luncheon was held in Jacksonville on September 14, and we had a great time visiting with the new inductees, as well as previous year’s award winners from Morgan County. Last month we took our Fall Tour to the Shawnee National Forest, where our stellar guides revealed some of the hidden treasures of southern Illinois. And on December 3 at the University of Illinois Springfield we’ll celebrate the 201st anniver-sary of statehood with our annual Illinois History Symposium commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s  suffrage. Please come spend the day with us!

As you know, membership is the glue that holds the Illinois State Historical Society together. Your personal commitment to this organization makes all the  difference in what we accomplish from year to year. Thank you for all you do to make Illinois history unforgettable. And please take time this month to renew your ISHS membership. Our future depends on what you do today.

Illinois History Symposium

Co-sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and the UIS Alumni SAGE Society

Elaine Evans 0 75 Article rating: No rating

On Tuesday, December 3, the Illinois State Historical Society hosts its annual Illinois History Symposium, in conjunction with a UIS "Lunch and Learn" program. Join us for one or all of the Symposium sessions. Morning and afternoon presentations are free to attend with complimentary snack refreshments. The Lunch and Learn program is $23/person and requires a reservation.  

Illinois History Symposium

Co-sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and the UIS Alumni SAGE Society

Elaine Evans 0 400 Article rating: No rating

On Tuesday, December 3, the Illinois State Historical Society hosts its annual Illinois History Symposium, in conjunction with a UIS "Lunch and Learn" program.

March - April 2019

Elaine Evans 0 1111 Article rating: No rating

This issue of Illinois Heritage is another gift from our sterling contributors. John Hallwas’s beautiful tribute to Virginia Eifert gave us an opportunity to put her portrait as a five-year-old writer on the cover. Mark Flotow revisits Illinois’ Civil War camps and shares how the soldiers who served there remembered their wartime experiences. Kathleen Spaltro takes us to Preston Sturges’ “City of My Dreams” in a fascinating profile of a renowned filmmaker’s coming of age in Chicago, and Mike Kienzler explores hidden art in plain sight in Menard County.

On April 26, the Illinois State Historical Society invites all friends of Prairie State history to join us in Petersburg for the ISHS’s 120th annual meeting, a celebration of the BEST OF ILLINOIS HISTORY and the 100th anniversary of the re-establishing of the village of New Salem and the creation of the state historic site. This event includes the Annual Awards Banquet, as well as a guided afternoon tour of the park. Look for details in this issue of Illinois Heritage and on our webpage, http://www.historyillinois.org.

Volume 111 Number 4 Winter 2018

Volume 111 Number 4 Winter 2018

Mark Hubbard 0 1087 Article rating: No rating

We close 2018 with three fascinating articles that illuminate the social and cultural history of Illinois in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In “Charles Dickens, Cairo, and the Panic of 1837,” Peter Pellizzari analyzes the mix of truth and myth that drove western land speculation in the lead up to the Panic of 1837. At the center of Pellizzari’s story is Darius Blake Holbrook, Cairo’s chief promoter and financier in the 1830s. The town of Cairo, and Americans like Holbrook, also served as source material for parts of Charles Dickens’ novel, The Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, first published serially in 1842–44. Pellizzari unpacks Holbrook’s career as Cairo’s preeminent booster—artfully blending truth and fiction, Holbrook induced investors to drop huge sums into Cairo land and other ventures. Holbrook’s financial schemes, of course, like castles made of sand, disintegrated in the wake of the Panic of 1837. In this way Holbrook was a real life version of Zephaniah Scudder, Dickens’ fictional land agent who dazzles Chuzzlewit with alluring images of Eden, a fictional American river town unmistakably inspired by real life Cairo, which Dickens had seen during his travels to America in 1842. Dickens’ critical relationship to antebellum American society emerges here as one important source of the British novelist’s ouvre. Also striking is Pellizzari’s convincing account of how fiction and fact—myth and reality—were deployed by boosters like Holbrook in the service of western land speculation. While the macroeconomic forces that fueled the Panic of 1837 have received much scholarly attention (and rightfully so), Pellizzari’s tale of greed, hope, allure, and illusion points to an equally important aspect of antebellum economic history: The cultural mores that sustained market transactions (and a market bubble in western land) in the years running up to the panic.

It is a commonplace that Irish labor built the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Yet few scholars have bothered to study the Irish immigrant experience in the antebellum period outside of urban contexts like Chicago or New York City, or the coal fields of Pennsylvania. What sustained Irish communities in the many small, rural towns that grew along the I&M Canal Corridor in the decades before the Civil War? In “Canal Diggers, Church Builders: Dispelling Stereotypes of the Irish on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Corridor,” Eileen McMahon examines Irish immigrant agency downstate, in towns that dot the prairie. Central to Irish immigrant life was the Catholic Church. The parish served as the focal point of a rich immigrant experience in a foreign land; as a force for communitybuilding, ethnic pride and identity, and eventual assimilation. McMahon’s study of small-town Irish community formation and the efforts to establish parishes across the Canal Corridor enlarges our understanding of the antebellum Irish experience.

Finally, we close with a study of the Depression-era collaboration between two Illinois-born artists. In “Doris and Russell Lee: A Marriage of Art,” Mary Jane Appel traces the mutually creative practices that shaped both Doris’s American Scene paintings and Russell’s work as a documentary photographer for the Farm Security Administration. As Appel demonstrates, the married couple shared a “reciprocal relationship with a fluid exchange of ideas and artistic visions.” The rural imagery that suffused the Lees’ work, of course, trace back to their Midwest and specifically Illinois roots. But Appel’s larger contribution is to establish the artists’ collaborative working methods, their creat

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