Chicago Park District Collection

The Chicago Public Library has provided a collection comprised of 10,000 images capturing the history of the Chicago Park District.  One of the largest contributions to the DPLA by an IDHH institution, the Chicago Park District Photographs digital collection is but a fraction of the Chicago Public Library’s Park District photographs. The digitized items represent 93 parks across the city. See all of the Chicago Park District items in the DPLA here.

Sepia tone photo of lake amidst trees in a park
Washington Park, lagoon, 1935. Chicago Park District Records: Photographs, Box 104, Folder 5, Special Collections, Chicago Public Library. Permission to display provided by Chicago Public Library Special Collections
Four young women pose on a running track poised to start a sprint
Douglas Park, track and field, 1952. Chicago Park District Records: Photographs, Box 17, Folder 5, Special Collections, Chicago Public Library. Permission to display provided by Chicago Public Library Special Collections

Season’s Greetings from the IDHH

The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub celebrates December by highlighting items that symbolize three of the month’s holidays as well as the winter solstice. Best wishes to everyone this holiday season.

Happy Kwanzaa” is shared with permission from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library. See all items contributed by the UIUC Library to the DPLA. The item is from a collection of materials created by artist and teacher Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. that speak to issues of equality, freedom, race, and African American and Pan-African history and culture.

Chanukah” is shared with permission from the Illinois State University Milner Library. See all of Illinois State University’s items in the DPLA. Browse all items in the International Collection of Child Art, of which Chanukah is an item.

Christmas Lights on the Tower” is provided with permission from the Bess Bower Museum of Lake County. See all their items in the DPLA. The item is from the Fort Sheridan collection, which documents the history of a former U.S. Army post in Lake County north of Chicago.

Winter in Illinois

December marks the beginning of the meteorological Winter; however, in Illinois, the cold weather and snow that are part and parcel with the Winter months often get underway as early as October. Now, the winter is just properly starting, with December being the first of the three coldest and usually snowiest months of the year.

Black and white photo of a person standing in front of a frozen waterfall
Winter at Homan Falls. Circa 1916. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

As cold as temperatures can be during recent seasons, historical records, including data and photographs, demonstrate that winters in Illinois and across the country were colder and often snowier in the not-so-distant past. The Quincy Public Library’s Quincy Area Historic Photo Collection includes many photos that help provide historical records of winters past as well as capture the sublime beauty of some of Illinois’ harshest weather.

Bkack and white photograph of a snowy street next to multi-story houses
West side of 6th street North of Elm. Late 1800s. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

Far beyond its impressive set of winter and weather-related images, the Quincy Area Historic Photo Collection shows the history of a remarkable town, with records dating back to the 1830s, just a decade after the town’s founding. Quincy is a significant location in the history of the Mormon faith as well as being the site of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Two-story brick home with snow-covered yard in trees in the foreground
Orville H. Browning Family Home. Date unknown. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

See all of the Quincy Public Library’s items in the DPLA. See all of the items contributed by IDHH institutions that relate to winter or snow.

New Collections and 300,000 Items

This month, the total number of items contributed to the DPLA by Illinois institutions topped 300,000. Thanks to all our member institutions for making this possible. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the newest collections which include materials from the Newberry Library, DePaul University, the Illinois State Museum, Elgin Community College, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, the Chicago Public Library.

DePaul contributed a new collection of Napoleonic-era broadsides and pamphlets. This collection contains items in both French and English, including pro- and anti-Napoleonic rhetoric as well as histories and memoirs, with writings on events leading up to Napoleon’s reign, during his time, and in the aftermath of his defeat. See all the Napoleonic-Era Broadsides and Pamphlets items in the DPLA here.

Print illustration of Napoleon Bonaparte
Authentic memoirs of Bonaparte. Date unknown. DePaul University. Napoleonic-Era Broadsides and Pamphlets. Permission to display was given by DePaul University.

The Illinois State Museum contributed a new collection that documents the museum’s founding. The materials focus on founders, curators, and others who made a lasting impact on the museum’s history as well as architectural plans and early photos of the museum, its grounds, and exhibits. See all the Story of the Illinois State Museum items in the DPLA here.

Sketch design for the Illinois State Museum featuring and impressive columned building
Early plans for the Illinois State Museum building. 1956-12-18. Illinois State Museum. Story of the Illinois Museum. Permission to display was given by Illinois State Museum.

Elgin Community College’s new collection celebrates the life and legacy of Gil Renner, the institution’s first president and an important figure in the growth of community colleges across the state, helping to lead the development of the Illinois system of community colleges. This collection of correspondence, articles, pamphlets, administrative documents, and other materials authored or co-authored by Gil Renner was donated by his son, Richard. See all of the Gil Renner Collection items in the DPLA here.

Image of a trifold pamphlet announcing opportunities for students at Elgin Community College
Announce Opportunities at Elgin Community College. 1940s. Elgin Community College. Gil Renner Collection. Permission to display was given by Elgin Community College.

Thanks again to contributing institutions for providing so many rich new collections. See all of the DPLA’s collections provided by IDHH institutions.

Collections for Election Day

Election Day brings to mind the history of democracy in the state of Illinois. One of the richest sources of this legacy is the Chicago History Museum. Marking the week of Election Day, the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub features material from two of the Museum’s digital collections that are also available in the DPLA, the Museum Collection and the Prints and Photographs Collection.

The Chicago History Museum’s collections include some of the earliest campaign material in the state, including posters for Abraham Lincoln’s and Ulysses S. Grant’s election bids. The Museum exhibits technologies essential for the electoral process, such as a ballot box used to gather votes sometime between 1890 and 1932. Other materials chronicle the campaigns of more recent elected officials, such as former mayor, Harold Washington.

Banner featuring black-and-white etching of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln’s election campaign banner. 1864. Chicago History Museum. Museum Collection. Permission to display was given by Chicago History Museum.
Photograph of a ballot box
Ballot Box. 1890-1932. Chicago History Museum. Museum Collection. Permission to display was given by Chicago History Museum.
Former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at a voting booth.
Harold Washington voting on election morning in Hyde Park. 1983. Chicago History Museum. Prints and Photographs Collection. Permission to display was given by the Chicago History Museum.

The DPLA features many of the Chicago History Museum’s digital items, including those featured here. See also the full range of IDHH institutions’ materials pertaining to elections or voting.

Celebrating Halloween

The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub celebrates Halloween and the month of October with paintings from the International Collection of Child Art (ICCA) provided by one of our newest partners, Illinois State University. The ICCA features two-dimensional art in many different media created by children around the world. More information on the ICCA can be found here.

The images featured from this collection are from the 1960s but are so relatable that they could be contemporary and feature costumed kids trick-or-treating, a haunted house complete with ghosts, skeletons, and a graveyard, pumpkins, bats, and black cats, a costume party, and a witch on her broomstick.

As historical artifacts, the paintings demonstrate how old and enduring some of Halloween’s most iconic images and traditions are with perhaps only the hair and clothing styles of some of the children in the paintings hinting at the works’ ages. The artists range from ages 9 and 12 and would be in their 50s and 60s today.

Child's painting of a trick-or-treater dressed as a skeleton
Halloween Fun. 1960. Illinois State University. Permission to display was given by Milner Library, Illinois State University.
Child's painting of a haunted house with ghosts and walking skeletons
Halloween Ghosts. 1960. Illinois State University. Permission to display was given by Milner Library, Illinois State University.
Child's painting of a Halloween costume party
I Go to a Party. 1960. Illinois State University. Permission to display was given by Milner Library, Illinois State University.
Child's drawing featuring jack-o-lanterns and ghosts.
On Halloween Night. 1960. Illinois State University. Permission to display was given by Milner Library, Illinois State University.
Child's painting of a witch flying on a broomstick
The Mean Queen of Halloween. 1968. Illinois State University. Permission to display was given by Milner Library, Illinois State University.

The entire International Collection of Child Art can be found in the DPLA here. All of the Halloween-themed items contributed by Illinois Digital Heritage Hub institutions may be found here.

Tales of Mystery, Intrigue, and Suspense; or, Northern Illinois University’s Nickels and Dimes Collection

The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub welcomes our latest data provider, Northern Illinois University (NIU) and its fabulous collection of dime novels. NIU’s rich contribution comprises more than 4,600 digitized dime novels from about 1860 to 1930, many of which have not been widely available since their initial publication more than a hundred years ago.

Books in the collection are some of the earliest examples of familiar genres, like westerns, science fiction, romance novels, and mysteries. These would have been read by everyone from factory workers to children, providing unique insights into what a diverse group of Americans were thinking and feeling in the 19th century. This also means, however, that items in the collection sometimes have a darker side, using language or imagery that today would be considered sexist, racist, or otherwise problematic.

The collection is a valuable resource for studying the history of print culture, the origins of genre fiction, and 19th century attitudes about race, gender, and class, and is now widely available to researchers, educators, and students through the DPLA.

The items highlighted here represent some of the most striking cover illustrations of the fully digitized works that can be seen in their complete full-text glory in the NIU’s digital library.

Illustrated cover featuring a trapper in a classic animal-skin hat
Seth Jones; or, The Captive of the Frontier. 1860. Northern Illinois University. Public domain.
Cover art featuring a carriage of children being pulled by a human-like robot
The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies. 1870. Northern Illinois University. Public domain.
Newpaper print first page of novel featuring image of a circle of people dressed like cowboys in what appears to be a saloon
Captain Volcano; or, The Man of the Red Revolvers. 1881. Northern Illinois University. Public domain.
Cover art featuring a woman and man escaping on ropes out of a trap door; man firing on a group of people clad in red devil pajamas
A Compact with Dazaar; or, The Devil Worshipper’s Den. 1904. Northern Illinois University. Public domain.
Cover art featuring three men in bowler hats.
Three Jolly Pards; or, The Pets of Paddy’s Flat. 1886. Northern Illinois University. Public domain.

All of Northern Illinois University’s items may be accessed in the DPLA here.

Summer in Illinois Postcards

This Spring, the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub celebrated the addition of forty collections from the Illinois Digital Archives to the DPLA. These collections include Postcards –Illinois from the Newberry Library. The collection includes nearly five thousand postcards, many of which feature Illinois’ beautiful State Parks, rivers, and shorelines, and other Summertime destinations, past and present.

Postcards –Illinois is just a small subset of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives which comprises around 2.5 million items, probably the largest collection of postcards and related material in the United States. Originally donated by the Lake County Forest Preserve District, a large part of the Newberry’s collection is now searchable through the Digital Public Library of America’s interface which will provide even greater access to and awareness of the material than ever before.

The items highlighted here seem particularly relevant for the month of August, including outdoor destinations from around Illinois and serve as encouragement to experience the places that inspired such beautiful imagery.

Postcard featuring picnic grounds among evergreens
Shawnee National Forest, Southern Illinois. 1938. Newberry Library.
Postcard featuring lake and shoreline with houses and people on the beach
The Glorydale Summer Resort on Kankakee River, Momence, IL. 1929. Newberry Library.
Postcard with painting of people on beach and swimming in lake
Bathing Beach on Cedar Lake, between Lake Villa and Antioch, Illinois. 1949. Newberry Library.
Postcard with clear river cutting through a lush forest
Picturesque Des Plaines River. 1964. Newberry Library.
Postcard with a boat on a lake shore
Tower Park -Tower Lakes Estates. 1927. Newberry Library.

You can access all of the above images and all other Newberry items in the DPLA through this link.