Wednesday, August 5, 2020


William Daniel Wilson of Albers, Illinois, receives the Illinois State Historica...

2015 ISHS Annual Awards Best in Illinois history awards to be presented at Old S...

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2015 ISHS Annual Awards
Best in Illinois history awards to be presented at Old State Capitol

On Saturday, April 25, the Illinois State Historical Society hosts its 116th annual meeting and presents its “best of the best” Illinois history awards to individuals, organizations, publishers, and exhibitors around the state.

The event will be held at the historic Old State Capitol in Springfield, with a luncheon served in Foundation Hall and the awards presented afterward in the House of Representative Chambers.

“What an incredible assortment of nominations,” said ISHS Executive Director William Furry, noting that this year’s entries represented the depth and breadth of Prairie State history. “The anniversaries of the Eastland disaster, World War I, and numerous other commemorations have inspired the historical community to retell our state’s stories, and these reflections have rewarded us all with outstanding projects.”

Among the presentations are four “Lifetime Achievement” awards honoring the work of citizen/historians who have made significant contributions to their communities and to the state. Receiving Lifetime Achievement” awards were R. Eden Martin of Chicago, Illinois; Kathryn Harris of Springfield; William Daniel Wilson of Albers; and Mark Sorensen of Decatur.

The Society will also recognize Debra Liu as this year’s Olive Foster Teacher of Year. Ms. Liu, a social studies teacher for 18 years at Solomon School in Chicago, has been a participant in the Chicago and Illinois history fairs for 14 years, and continues to engage her students in historical enquiry and to enrich social studies programs at all levels. ($1,000 cash prize.)

The 2015 winner of the Verna Ross Orndorff Illinois history scholarship is Jessica Winter of Mowequa, a student at Pana High School, for her essay “Abraham Lincoln: A Congressman of the Prairie State” ($1000 scholarship).

The 2015 Harry E. Pratt Award for outstanding article printed in the 2014 Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society will be presented to Suellen Hoy for her article “Chicago Working Women’s Struggle for a Shorter Day, 1908-1911” ($400 prize.)

The 2015 Malkovich Award for Young Museum Professional is destined for Anne Moseley, Assistant Director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum in Lincoln, Illinois. (This prize comes with a stipend to attend a professional museum conference in the Midwest).

2015 Annual Awards

Nominee: Clint Cargile, Five-Mile Spur Line: A Railroad History of Sycamore, Illinois
Category: Publications Scholarly
Nominator: Sue Breeze
Award: Certificate of Excellence
“125+ years ago, DeKalb and Sycamore were locked in a heated race over which town would bring the first rail service to the county. When DeKalb secured the first railroad, Sycamore’s town leaders built their own five-mile spur line to connect their town to the main line at Corland, linking Sycamore to Chicago. Clint Cargile’s history of the Five-Mile Spur Line puts the Sycamore spur into its historical context, and shares the stories of how the railroad touched everyday life in and around Sycamore. This is good, solid local history.”

Nominee: Earl Halbe, A Question of Loyalty.
Nominated by Steve Thompson.
Category: Special project/Play.
Award: Certificate of Excellence
“Creating, compelling approach to a complex local history topic, with great juxtaposition of loyalty to country vs. loyalty to a lover. Such productions are immensely important, offering local history enthusiasts an opportunity to revisit significant events in regional history and bringing new and insightful interpretations into the public discussion. Overall, this is an excellent community effort to tell a little known- story in Illinois history, and it deserves recognition for awakening interest in the Charleston Riot.”

Small Museum Conference in Dixon on May 2 Here is a great opportunity to meet w...

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Small Museum Conference in Dixon on May 2

Here is a great opportunity to meet with colleagues and learn something at the same time. The Lee County Small Museum Conference will be May 2 in Dixon. Sessions will address taking care of collections, including ethnographic collections, books, paper, and photographs. There will be information on organizing images and getting a handle on the five core
documents all museums should have: mission statement, ethics code, collections policy, strategic plan, and disaster plan.
The meeting will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, with lunch included, all for $25.00. For more information,

Lee County Historical & Genealogical Society
Welcome Lee County Small Museum Conference Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Loveland Community House & Museum 513 West 2nd St., Dixon, Illinois, 61021 Presented By The Lee County Historical & Genealogical SocietySpeakers: Nicolette Meister – Care and Management of Ethnographic Collection Nicolette is th…

ISHS President Russell Lewis and ISHS Director Robyn Williams met serendipitousl...

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ISHS President Russell Lewis and ISHS Director Robyn Williams met serendipitously on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., during the candlelight vigil outside of Ford's Theatre, on the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. According to Director Williams, the ceremonies, eulogies, and official commemorations around the anniversary were "amazing," ending the following morning, April 15, with bell-ringing, bagpipes, and silence.

My Private Tour of the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois on the 150th Ann...

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My Private Tour of the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois on the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln's Assassination. (April 15, 2015)
Living History of Illinois and Chicago
My Private Tour of the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois on the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln's Assassination. (April 15, 2015)

Photo Album:

I was invited by, Pete, the Student Historian Program Coordinator to visit the Lincoln Library and Museum for a private tour last month when I judged research papers for the Illinois History Exposition. We were joined by Sam, the Research Historian for the Library.

Our first stop was the Library’s research room. Here is where the public may request materials to study.

Artifacts not displayed in the Museum are stored at the Library. I was taken to the sub-level where there are 6 miles of movable, electronic filing shelves.

The Preservation Department is a very important function of the Library. I was introduced to the staff and allowed to take a few photos. They were working on a few projects. One being the removal of tape residue from a Lincoln document from the mid-1850s. Another person was working on the preservation of the “Members of the House of Representatives of the thirteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois” photo- montage.

I was escorted into a private conference room where Sam left for a few minutes and came back pushing a cart with boxes and items on it. The painting and bronze statute were in the room along with other historical artifacts.

I was privileged to be allowed to photograph a couple of the items, but not all of them.

The first item is Lincoln’s personal house key to the now “Lincoln Home National Historic Site” at 426 South 7th Street. Just imagine Lincoln using this key every day!

The second item is Lincoln’s personal travel shaving kit which he took with him on trips. Lincoln was clean-shaven when he began running for president. He grew a beard after receiving a letter from Grace Bedell, an 11-year-old girl from New York, in October 1860, a few weeks before the election. Grace said that with a beard he “would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.” Furthermore, she wrote, “All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”

Lincoln responded to Bedell a few days later in a letter. “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?” he wrote.

Little Known Fact: By growing a beard, Lincoln nearly bankrupted a young entrepreneur named Milton Bradley, who had a booming business selling daguerreotypes of the clean-shaven candidate. Bradley destroyed his supply of daguerreotypes and turned to board games to make money.

I was shown (no photo allowed) a beautiful Tiffany (from New York) heart pendant owned by Mary Todd Lincoln. On one side were perfect diamonds covering the entire heart – on the reverse side was a single heart cut diamond allowing you to view the spectrum of colors from the reverse side making it see-through.

I saw a hand written letter from Mary Todd Lincoln after the assassination, written on mourning stationary (paper with a black border) where Mrs. Lincoln is giving instructions (last will and testament) about what she desired after her death. One sentence asked that she be in state without the top of the casket on for 48 hours. She was afraid of waking up after being pronounced dead and not being able to summon help.

Last but not least, I saw 1 of 3, Lincoln stove-top hats. This was an early one, before becoming President
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