My family tells this story about a wedding at a trapeze artist’s house. The bride, the artist herself, had a trapeze installed in her house- an old farmhouse that they connected to the barn after moving it across their property. It was so hot at the wedding that eyeglasses were slipping off of people’s faces- the groom– somebody in investment banking sweat through his clothes and spent the rest of the wedding visibly damp. The pond near their house was alive with snakes trying to both sun themselves and get cool.
It took time for me to actually understand what “wedding season” was- especially as it coincided with tourist season. The political economy of event planning was so foreign. Who doesn’t love weddings? Or even just photos of weddings, including the notalgia and trends in them, group pictures, flowers, wedding cakes. What makes a good wedding? What makes a good wedding photo beyond the traditional framing or poses that seemingly every married couple gets arranged in on their wedding day? Below are some of my picks of wedding photos from our contributors at Sterling Public Library, Cherry Valley Public Library District, Mclean County Museum of History, Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County, and Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park in cooperation with the Oak Park Public Library.
Corn in Illinois will not be ready for harvest for another month, but the opportunity to celebrate our corn heritage is too enticing. It’s a small contribution, and a little bit of a deviation from the theme but this image of excess corn stored outside of an elevator from McLean County Historical Society via the McLean County Museum of History is too good to not share.
A dune of corn kernel surrounds the concrete elevator as less than ideal but temporary storage. Advances in industrial agriculture in the 1950’s and 60’s occasionally created such an abundant harvest that the infrastructure for storing corn struggled to keep up.
In the same way that communities in Illinois revolved around coal, corn also was a community-wide touchpoint that was generously documented by everyday people and journalists. For more on corn in Illinois visit the IDHH.
The past few weeks have been shaky, but it’s truly spring. Although the outdoors are more forbidding than in previous springs, maybe you’ve found things to do around the house that still foster a little bit of that feeling of being in nature. Images from the Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s rare books have that perfect balance of spring energy and necessary homebodyness.
If you’ve been gardening, you can see how it and tree pruning was done in the later 16th century.
Or if you’ve taken a different route and are thinking of some retro interior design improvements inspired by early 20th century wood engraving such as these from Rudolf Koch’s Das Blumenbach:
Watching the blooms, so many people have unearthed their sketchbooks and pencils to work on their nature drawing skills in the prairie grasses. Helen Sharp’s 18 volume collection of watercolor sketches could help inspire the beauty, highlight some long-lost technique, or be the outlet for your stir-crazy, competitive spirit.
There are so many floral indulgences in the IDHH .The rare books from the Lenhardt Library are great for browsing with studious intensity, keeping us company while we wait out the storm inside. For everything from Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lenhardt Library in the IDHH click here.