Back to School with the Way to Knox College

As students return to campus and the Fall academic semester begins, the IDHH is featuring The Way to Knox, a collection of images representing the history of Knox College, a four-year private liberal arts college that is home to over 1,200 students and 120 faculty of the Prairie Fire. Located in Galesburg, Illinois, the history of Knox College and its hometown is inextricably entwined. Presbyterian minister George Washington Gale moved from New York to Illinois to found a manual labor college, a college where students performed a few daily hours of manual labor in exchange for rescinding tuition and room/board. Gale’s 1836 “Circular and Plan” documented his intentions for a Prairie College in the west, and in 1836 Galesburg, Illinois was founded by the first settlers. Knox Manual Labor College was founded in 1837, and in 1857 was renamed Knox College. 

From its beginning, Knox College has been firm in supporting the marginalized. Galesburg was home to the first anti-slavery society in Illinois and a stop on the Underground Railroad, as many of the Galesburg residents and founders of Knox College supported the abolitionist movement. In fact, one of the first black men to receive a college degree in Illinois was Barnabas Root, Class of 1870. Furthermore, Gale’s “Circular and Plan” for the Prairie College included educating women, and in 1844 the college opened a Female Seminary. The Way to Knox reflects the growth of the Knox Manual Labor college into the four-year Knox College, with over 500 items that include student organizations and activities, campus buildings, protests and marches, and research and scholarship over the last 150 years. 

Here are a few of our favorite items from the collection: 

Library circulation desk. circa 1950s. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College. 
Move in day. 1970. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College. 
Anti-Columbus Day march. 1992. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College.
Women’s archery. 1957. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College.
Homecoming football catch. 2009. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College. 
Preparing for the Knox centennial. June 1937. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College. 
Commencement processional, 1919. 1919. Knox College. The Way to Knox. Courtesy of Knox College. 

Want to see more? 

Browse the full The Way to Knox collection, or browse all items from Knox College

View more items in the IDHH related to back to school

To learn more about Knox College, visit Knox College’s site

Salute to Glenview: the Glenview Area History Collection

This August, we are highlighting another one of our earliest contributors at the IDHH. The Glenview Area History Collection from Glenview Public Library depicts scenes from Glenview, Illinois, with a focus on images of the library and its patrons. Glenview has had a variety of names over the years, originally known as South Northfield, and then, for a time, North Branch. Glenview as we know it today received its name on May 7, 1895. The Post Office demanded that an official name be selected, and Glenview won the majority of votes. Glenview was incorporated in 1899 and was mostly made of farmland until after World War II. Today, Glenview has nearly 50,000 residents and is located approximately 15 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop. 

Nearly 200 images make up the Glenview Area History Collection, spanning approximately a century of Glenview history. Of the images I’ve selected to highlight here, the oldest dates to 1893, and the newest is from 2008. 

Here are a few of our favorite images from the Glenview Area History Collection

Glenview History Center portrait of Rachel Appleyard and Family. 1893. Glenview History Center. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library and the Glenview History Center. 
Glenview Public Library original building. October 1940. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Star Wars at the Glenview Public Library. 2005. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Bicentennial Celebration at Glenview Public Library. 1976. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Shelving books at Glenview Public Library. March 10, 2008. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Library referendum work. 1983. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Library bookshelves. 1967. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Circulation Desk at Glenview Public Library. 1968. Glenview Public Library. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library. 
Glenview History Center Patti Playpal Doll. Circa 1959-1961. Glenview History Center. Glenview Area History. Courtesy of Glenview Public Library and the Glenview History Center. 

View the full Glenview Area History Collection on the IDHH.  

International Cat Day: Celebrating Cats Since 2002

In 2002, the International Fund for Animal Welfare created International Cat Day, which is celebrated on August 8th. This day is dedicated to raising awareness for cats and educating the public on ways to help and protect them. Although different countries might have national celebrations for cats on other days, International Cat Day on August 8th is intended to be celebrated worldwide. 

Ever since cats first began domesticating themselves in around 7500 BCE, humans have loved and celebrated them. In Ancient Egypt, they were praised for killing venomous snakes and protecting the Pharaoh, they were used as a representation for the sun god Ra in the Book of the Dead, and the goddess Bastet was often characterized as a cat. In Norse mythology, two grey cats fought alongside the goddess Freyja and pulled her chariot. For centuries, cats have been considered good luck in Russia, and many cats have continuously guarded the Winter Palace since the reign of Empress Elizabeth. 

Anyone who has ever owned a cat – or, rather, has been owned by one – knows that cats are well aware of their venerated status in mythology and folklore, and expect that same level of worship today.  

Finding images for this post was particularly fun for me, as I am a cat lover myself, and happily jump at any chance to celebrate them. Just like humans, there are images of cats sprinkled throughout history, both with and without the families they’ve chosen. Please enjoy these images of cats from the Oak Park Public Library, the Chicago History Museum, Lewis University, the Illinois State Museum, and the Newberry Library.  

Marcelline, Madelaine, Ursula and Carol Hemingway with Wuzzy the cat, December 1919. December 29, 1919. Oak Park Public Library. The Early Years – Ernest and Marcelline Hemingway in Oak Park Collection. Courtesy of Oak Park Public Library and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. 
Cat and shadows on porch. Circa 1962. Photograph by Declan Haun. Chicago History Museum. Prints and Photographs Collection. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum. 
Anna Cheadle on a hammock with her cat. 1915. Lewis University. Bruce Cheadle Papers. Courtesy of Lewis University. 
Work from home companions. March 19, 2020. Photograph by M. Mahoney. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories – COVID-19. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum. 
Cat in cage, Railway Express Depot, Union Station, Chicago, May 1948. May 1948. Newberry Library. Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Courtesy of Newberry Library. 

View the full The Early Years – Ernest and Marcelline Hemingway in Oak ParkPrints and PhotographsBruce Cheadle PapersIllinois Stories – COVID-19, and the Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Collections on the IDHH.  

View more items related to Cats and Kittens on the IDHH. 

Feel the Togetherness with World Kiss Day

After so long spent in uncertainty and, for many of us, isolation, what better way to celebrate the summer than with kisses? July 6th marked International Kissing Day, also known as World Kiss Day. This is an occasion that originated in the United Kingdom, and was adopted around the world in the early 2000s. Although in general kisses tend to be associated with romance, we hope to highlight these intimate moments between a variety of people (and creatures) to show how love and closeness is available to anyone. 

The people you see in these photos are not public figures. They are not famous. I was drawn to them for this reason – I liked that these images felt relatable, and that they all shared moments of genuine joy, love, and excitement captured in time. My hope is that when others see them, they too will feel those moments and remember that they’re not alone. 

Here are a few images of kisses to make you feel that sense of togetherness this summer: 

Kissing a Clown – ca. 1980-1989. Circa 1980-1989. University of St. Francis. Sharing Our Past, A Visual History. Courtesy of the University of St. Francis. 
Miner and daughter. Circa 1966-1976. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Doc Horrell Photo Collection. Courtesy of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 
School of Nursing Students. May 1, 2008. Illinois Wesleyan University. IWU Historical Collections. Courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan University. 

View the full Sharing Our Past, A Visual History Collection, C. William Horrell Photograph Collection, and the IWU Historical Collection on the IDHH.  

View more items related to kissing on the IDHH. 

Arthur, Once Upon a Time

For the month of July, we at the IDHH are highlighting one of our first collections ingested back in July of 2016. The Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection from the Arthur Public Library depicts daily life in Arthur, Illinois from the early to mid 1900s. First settled in 1850, Arthur now has a population of around 2,500, and is home to the largest Amish settlement in Illinois, with around 4,000 Amish people living in the area. 

With nearly 500 images to explore, the Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection offers a glimpse into Arthur of the past. Though it was originally started by Mr. Noel C. Dicks, a local pharmacist and owner of Dick’s Pharmacy, who started gathering photographs of pharmacists and physicians who practiced in the town, contributions from local people have expanded the collection to encompass an entire spectrum of Arthur experiences from the paving of Vine Street to images of local businesses. 

Here are a few of our favorite images from the Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection: 

Railroad, hand car. Circa 1900. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Street scene, Vine street. Circa 1900. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Factory, Broom Factory. Circa 1900. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Drug Store, Barrum Soda Fountain. Circa 1900. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Farming, Plowing corn. Circa 1905. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Business, Clothing stores, Whitlock’s Mens Store. Circa 1905. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
U.S. Post Office, Rural Route mail carrier. Circa 1910. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  
Fire Department, 1930 truck with men. 1930. Arthur Public Library. Arthur, Once Upon a Time – Local History Images of Arthur. Arthur Public Library.  

For more images of Arthur, Illinois, view the full Arthur, Once Upon a Time collection on the IDHH.  

Chicago Public Library Adds Two New Collections: George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives and Illinois Writers Project!

Chicago Public Library has added two new collections to the IDHH: the George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection, and the Illinois Writers Project collection. The collection we have chosen to highlight, the George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection, contains annual reports, programs, branch bulletins, fliers, and memos from the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public library, dating from 1932 to the 1970s.  

Named for prominent Black physician, activist, and leader George Cleveland Hall, the Hall Branch was opened in 1932. It became a magnet for Black writers, scholars, and activists throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and launched a semimonthly event, the Book Review and Lecture Forum, which was designed to bring library patrons together with speakers on topics such as African American literature, history, and current events.  

Here are a few of our favorite items from the George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection: 

Book Review and Lecture Forum, Wednesday October 19 1938. circa 1938. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Program of the annual meeting and the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. circa 1935. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Library use card. circa 1949. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Invitation to Hall Branch first anniversary celebration. circa 1933. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Negro History Week. circa 1942. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Flyer for Hall Branch 20th anniversary. circa 1952. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 
Negro and his achievements in America: a list of books compiled for the American Negro Exposition. circa 1940. Chicago Public Library. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection. Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library. 

View the full George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives collection on the IDHH.  

View more items from the Chicago Public Library on the IDHH. 

Modeling the Settlement House: 132 Years of Chicago’s Hull House

In 1889, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr co-founded Hull House on the West Side of Chicago. Based on the model of Toynbee Hall in the East End of London, Hull House was a secular settlement house, where middle-class women would volunteer their time to provide social and educational opportunities for working-class people, many of whom were newly-arrived European immigrants.  

Aside from offering educational and artistic programs to the community, Hull House also offered medical care and social services. In fact, Hull House continued providing social services in multiple locations throughout Chicago up until 2012, even when the organization moved from its original location in the 1960s. Hull House became the model upon which other settlement houses were based, and influenced legislation on child labor laws, occupational health and safety provisions, education, immigration rights, and pension laws. Though most of the original complex was demolished in the mid-1960s for the construction of University of Illinois-Chicago, the Hull mansion still stands, and was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark on June 23, 1965. 

To celebrate the accomplishments and legacy of Hull House, the IDHH would like to share a few of our favorite related items from Eastern Illinois University and University of Illinois at Chicago: 

Hull House, Chicago. June 1, 1915. Eastern Illinois University. Booth Library Postcard Collection. Courtesy of Eastern Illinois University. 
Two girls on the Hull-House playground. circa 1895. University of Illinois at Chicago. Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos. Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago. 
Girl sketching on pad near Hull-House. circa 1920s. University of Illinois at Chicago. Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos. Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago. 
Mothers and children in a Hull-House entranceway. circa 1920s-1930s. University of Illinois at Chicago. Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos. Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago. 
Adult folk dancing class at Hull-House. circa 1950s. University of Illinois at Chicago. Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos. Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago. 
Boys and girls waiting at the Hull-House. circa 1960. University of Illinois at Chicago. Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos. Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago. 

View the full Booth Library Postcard Collection and the Seven Settlement Houses-Database of Photos Collection on the IDHH.  

View more items related to Hull House on the IDHH. 

Celebrating the Month of May with May Day

While perhaps now best known as an international distress signal, May Day’s origins as a festival to celebrate the coming of spring date back to as early as the 2nd century AD. From the Roman festival Floralia to the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night to the Celtic festival of Beltane, elements of modern-day May Day can be seen in the feasts, celebrations, and use of flowers as decorations and gifts that originated in those festivals. May Day is currently recognized as an official holiday in 66 countries, and has also been known as International Workers Day since the 19th century as a way of recognizing the 19th century labor movement for workers’ rights. 

The most well-known May Day traditions, as observed in Europe and North America and featured in the third book of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Tacy series, are the crowning of the May Queen, the giving of May baskets, and the dance around the maypole. May Day traditions have fallen out of fashions in the recent decades, but here at the IDHH, we’ve chosen to highlight some of these past May Day celebrations from Western Illinois University, Knox College, the North Suburban Library District, the Towanda District Library, and the University of St. Francis to show how May Day traditions used to be celebrated. 

May Day Celebration WIU May 1907. circa 1910-1912. WIU Libraries Archives & Special Collections. Digital Image Collection. Courtesy of Western Illinois University. 
May Day celebration. 1920. Knox College Special Collections and Archives. Harold Way Photograph Collection. Courtesy of Knox College. 
Harlem Consolidated School May Festival dance, 1922. 1922. North Suburban Library District. North Suburban Library District Local History Collection. Courtesy of North Suburban Library District. 
Photograph of May Day Festival at Towanda School around 1939. circa 1939. Towanda District Library & Towanda Area Historical Society. Towanda District Library – Towanda Area Historical Collection. Courtesy of Towanda District Library & Towanda Area Historical Society. 
May Day at St. Francis – 1952. 1952. University of St. Francis. Sharing Our Past, A Visual History. Courtesy of University of St. Francis. 

View the full Digital Image CollectionHarold Way Photograph CollectionNorth Suburban Library District Local History CollectionTowanda Area Historical Collection, and the Sharing Our Past, A Visual History Collection on the IDHH. 

View more items related to May Day celebrations on the IDHH. 

The IDHH Welcomes Back the Des Plaines Public Library!

We are so excited to welcome the Des Plaines Public Library back to the IDHH! The Des Plaines Public Library has added five new collections to Des Plaines Memory: Life During COVID-19; On the Streets of Des Plaines, 1915; Life During Wartime; We Mean Business; and Sports & Recreation. Des Plaines Memory is an online archive of locally sourced photographs, documents, and memorabilia related to the City of Des Plaines, with contributions from the Des Plaines History Center, the Des Plaines Park District, and individuals in the community. 

Although all of these collections are amazing, my favorite is On the Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Contributed by the Des Plaines History Center, this is a stunning collection of candid photographs made from glass plate negatives that were taken in downtown Des Plaines, circa 1915, by an unidentified photographer. My favorite part about this collection is the lack of formally posed photographs. I feel like it gives us a valuable insight into what daily life actually looked like, rather than what a select few people wanted the world to believe it looked like.  

Here are a few of our favorite images from the full On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915 collection: 

Des Plaines Post Office, circa 1915. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Two women in Des Plaines. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Woman hanging laundry. Circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Child on wheeled contraption. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Men walking on Ellinwood Street. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Barber shop on Miner Street. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 
Shops on Ellinwood Street. circa 1915. Des Plaines Public Library. On The Streets of Des Plaines, 1915. Courtesy of Des Plaines Public Library. 

View the full On the Streets of Des Plaines, 1915 collection on the IDHH. 

View more items from the Des Plaines Public Library on the IDHH. 

Second-Quarter Growth: IDHH Passes 400,000 Items!

With our harvest earlier this month, the IDHH now has 417,946 items from 483 collections. Thanks to our 150 Illinois partners and contributing institutions for making this possible!

Keep checking back here at Illinois Highlights as we promote new collections, highlight older ones, and feature materials relevant to Illinois and national history.

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