Welcome Des Plaines Memory!

The IDHH welcomes the Des Plaines Public Library as a new stand-alone contributor. For years, the Des Plaines Public Library has contributed content through the Illinois Digital Archives. Now, Des Plaines provides over 1200 additional items through their own digital library, Des Plaines Memory, including hundreds of photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, and more that document the diverse history, people, and cultures of the city.

Des Plaines Memory includes a range of artifacts documenting life, history, and culture in the town of Des Plaines. This includes a big arts scene, local musicians, painters, writers, dancers, and many others. Many artists celebrate rich, multicultural heritage.

Des Plaines’ collection boast a rich record of the distant past as well, including diaries from the Civil War. This collection boasts several objects, including journals and images and is growing, and is a truly remarkable addition to the many Civil War artifacts available in IDHH collections.

Black and white photograph of Charles E. Bennett, bearded, wearing a dark overcoat.
Portrait of Chester E. Bennett. 1890. Des Plaines Public Library. Des Plaines Memory. Permission to display was given by Des Plaines Public Library.

In addition to the Civil War diaries, Des Plaines Memory holds a host of content related to wartime in the U.S. The collection includes images and documents from both World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, and more recent conflicts and commemorations. There are also numerous images and documents pertaining to the McDonnell Douglas factory once located in Des Plaines. The images below depict men and women who served in World War I and World War II.

Finally, Des Plaines memory includes selected works of local artist, Edward Dougal (1937-2016). Dougal was a versatile artist with expertise in several forms and a host of media. He was a painter, sculptor, wood worker, and a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His pieces incorporating mirrors are among the most interesting, some of which are featured below.

World Cat Day

Happy World Cat Day! Also called International Cat Day, the holiday was first established by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2002. However, national holidays celebrating our feline friends have observed in countries around the world for decades. To celebrate, the IDHH spotlights items from Illinois State University’s collections.

First, behold the artwork of talented youngsters who loved their cats enough to immortalize them in pencil and watercolors. The paintings below are from the International Collection of Child Art and were created by children ages 8 through 13 from Colombia, Wales, and the U.S. The children’s attention to detail show how dear their furry friends were.

Next, here are toys from Japan featured from the Ethnology Teaching Collection, including a papier-mâché cat in a basket and the famous good luck charm of the waving cat, or ‘Maneki-Neko’. These figurines were placed in shop windows, inviting customers in and waving good-bye on their way out.

See all items in the IDHH related to cats.