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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
Jazz is a uniquely American music genre that originated in New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jazz music has roots in blues and ragtime, and has undergone many evolutions over the years, from New Orleans jazz in the 1910s, to big band swing in the 1930s and 1940s, to jazz-rock fusion in the 1960s and 1970s, to smooth jazz in the 1980s. One of the key characteristics of jazz music is improvisation, and jazz music places importance on the collaboration of the performers, with no song being played exactly the same way twice.
Jazz as a genre was pioneered by musicians like Scott Joplin, Bessie Smith, and Jelly Roll Morton. Performers like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington helped to solidify the sound of big band swing. The evolution of Jazz-rock fusion was led by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and Frank Zappa. Smooth jazz slowed the genre down, and featured artists such as Sade, Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, and Grover Washington, Jr.
Here at the IDHH, we recognize the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month. To celebrate the genre, we are featuring collections from Illinois Wesleyan University, the Chicago History Museum, Knox College, Western Illinois University, and Benedictine University. These collections highlight jazz performers and performances from Illinois. Here are a few of our favorite images from the collections:
On April 9th, 1865, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met at Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia, where General Lee surrendered to General Grant. Although the last battle of the Civil War was fought in May of 1865, April 9th marks the official end of the war itself.
To mark this event in our nation’s history, the IDHH is featuring the Boys in Blue Collection from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. This collection serves as a repository for cabinet cards, tintypes, and cartes de visite of over 8000 Illinois soldiers who served in the Civil War, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum has verified information about what regiment the soldier served in, when they enlisted, where they were from, and when the photograph was taken.
The boys and men in these photographs are the unsung heroes of the Civil War – though they are not often specifically named in history books, they were the backbone of the Union Army and deserve recognition.
Here are a few of our favorite images from the collection: