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Monday, November 29, 2021

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Illinois History

Illinois Heritage, September–October 2021

Volume 24, Number 5

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To our readers:

Traveling around Illinois is my job and my joy. Last month I visited Oregon, Princeton, Carbondale, Ottawa, Downers Grove, East Peoria, Pullman, Decatur, Centralia, and a zillion towns in between.  I chatted with librarians, church organists, receptionists, a couple of cops, and folks on the street and, guess what—the topic wasn’t the pandemic, it was Illinois history. I passed out copies of Illinois Heritage to dozens of potential new ISHS members, handed out business cards, showed off our new flashy holiday ornament, presented the Society’s new Lincoln-Douglass statuette (designed by sculptor John McClarey) to worthy donors, and even delivered poles to communities planning historical marker dedications.

But the thing that gives me more pleasure than traveling the state is sharing the latest issue of Illinois Heritage with you. This modest little magazine, now nearly 25 years old, is written by some of our most dedicated historians who continue to seek out and share new stories from our Prairie State past. Our family of history tellers grows with each issue too. These are extraordinary folks; I hope you’ve come to value them as I do. 

Thank you for being members of the Illinois State Historical Society. Thanks for being part of our history, and for letting us be part of yours.

Share your Heritage, be “Lincoln-hearted,” and have a safe and joyous equinox. 

William Furry
ISHS Executive Director

Illinois Heritage, March–April 2021

Vol. 24, No. 2

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This issue of Illinois Heritage is delighted to share Prairie State history by some of our favorite contributors—John Hallwas, James Cornelius, Kristan McKinsey, Mark Sorensen, Beth Young and Bill Kemp—as well as a few new ones, including Dean Karau, whose original piece on Richard Carroll is a fascinating portrait of an African American man’s journey up from slavery to post-Civil War Illinois.

We also meet Christina M. Shutt, the new executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM), explore several central Illinois cemeteries, and contemplate the possibilities of the nation’s 250th birthday, which John Dichtl, CEO and President of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), shares with us in his “Guestwork” piece. Also included in this issue is the Illinois Humanities (IH) Executive Summary, “On Wisdom and Vision: humanities organizations in Illinois during COVID-19,” which reflects on this past pandemic year and how more than 177 Illinois humanities-focused organizations weathered the storm.

Enjoy Illinois. Read Illinois history. Share your Heritage. Better yet, buy a membership for a friend. Some gifts never stop giving.

Call for Illinois History Day Judges!

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Illinois History Day is a state-wide program that encourages students in grades 6-12 to create a variety of exciting research projects related to the annual theme. This year’s theme, selected by National History Day, is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. Students from across the state spend months conducting extensive research and sharing their findings through exhibits, dramatic performances, documentaries, websites, and research papers. The students prepare their findings and present them at regional and state competitions in hopes of advancing to the national competition.

Illinois Heritage, May-June 2020

Volume 23, Number 1

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This issue of Illinois Heritage looks to the history of previous pandemics and offers some thoughtful instruction on how our ancestors coped with contagion without antibiotics, the CDC, or the Internet. Thanks to Allen Croessmann and John Hallwas for their research and fascination with public health history. 

We also meet some very interesting individuals who added art and perspective to our vision of the Prairie State through our ongoing series “Voices from Illinois History” and “Illinois Women Artists.”

Our other feature articles in the May-June issue deserve your attention too. Beth Young’s article about Civil War-era nurse Louise Maertz is a tribute to our current care providers on the frontlines of the war against COVID-19; the summaries of civil rights pioneer Frederick Douglass’s lectures from his 1866 visits to Springfield are revealing of Reconstruction-era politics; and Guy Fraker’s analysis of a forgotten Lincoln legal case should illuminate lawyers and arm-chair scholars alike.

Be safe, practice self-distancing, be kind to others, and share your Heritage.

22nd Annual Conference on Illinois History—Call for Papers and Workshops

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

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The Conference on Illinois History is accepting paper or panel proposals on any aspect of Illinois’s history, culture, politics, geography, or archaeology. We encourage submissions from professional and avocational historians, students, and those engaged in the study of Illinois history at libraries, historic sites, museums, and historical societies.

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