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Illinois Heritage, May–June 2021

Volume 24, Number 3

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To our readers:

In this issue of Illinois Heritage we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Illinois State Archives, the venerable institution that houses the state’s most important government records. We also announce the winners of the 2021 “Best of Illinois History” awards.

Contributor Clark “Bucky” Halker, labor historian and former director of Illinois Humanities, explores Illinois’ rich history of songwriting and labor activism for the earliest days of coal mining through the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), focusing on the strong religious roots of the movement. In his “Forgotten Voices of Illinois History” essay, John Hallwas reintroduces us to John Hay, the poet, biographer, diplomat, and statesman who had the ear of presidents from Lincoln to Roosevelt. Candace Summers writes about the relatively unknown Bloomington artist Emily Howard, and Todd Carr of Elizabethtown takes us on a spring waterfall hike in the Shawnee National Forest.

Thanks to all of you for renewing your membership in the Illinois State Historical Society. You sustain the great work that began in 1899, to “foster awareness, understanding, research, preservation, and recognition of history in Illinois.” With your continued support, Illinois history will always have a great future.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2018

Volume 111, Number 4

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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. 

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. 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. 

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. 

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