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Monday, November 29, 2021

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Poets

The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo: Early Illinois poet brought to life in new video production

Illinois State Historical Society

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John Hancock, a well-traveled, heart-broken poet, arrived in Springfield in the summer of 1831. His journey began in Cornwall, England, in the late 18th century, with stops in Italy, France, London (where he studied law), and Canada before his arrival in the Sangamo Country, where he secured a job selling whisky and sundries in Jacob Capps’ Grocery. According to ISHS director John Hallwas, professor emeritus of history and English at Western Illinois University and a Medievalist who has written more than 20 books about Illinois history and culture, Hancock was the finest poet in the Midwest in the 1830s, a writer of exceptional depth who wanted to capture the Prairie experience in verse. He succeeded admirably. Hallwas’ book, The Poetry of H: Lost Poet of Lincoln’s Springfield (Ellis Press, 1982), is the basis for his new play, The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo, which was recorded this past summer.

Illinois Heritage, July–August 2021

Volume 24, Number 4

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Summer in Illinois. Cicadas, hummingbirds, mosquitos, daylilies, day trips, watermelon, sweetcorn, and the Illinois State Fair. Whatever makes your Prairie State summer special, I hope the season is full of wonders and surprises.

This issue is packed with articles guaranteed to expand your Illinois horizon. I am forever delighted with what our contributors deliver in variety and diversity, and how generous they are with their research. My hope is that you share your Illinois Heritage with family and friends, and with anyone interested in our state’s marvelous history. Our contributors deserve the broadest possible audience we can deliver. It’s small compensation for such tremendous effort.

If you are looking for an opportunity to support and sustain our publications, this is a good time to make a contribution to the Illinois Heritage Fund, or to the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. Please send your donations to:

Illinois Heritage Fund
Illinois State Historical Society
P.O. Box 1800
Springfield, IL 62705-1800

As always, thanks for sharing your history and heritage. The Illinois prairie blossoms in the summer, and more so when we tell our stories.

William Furry
Executive Director

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