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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Do You Like Jazz? Playing out Jazz Appreciation Month!

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: 

School of Music, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Marathon. ca. March 1980. Illinois Wesleyan University. IWU Historical Collections. Courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan University. 
Jazz with junk. 1959. Photograph by Clarence W. Hines. Chicago History Museum. Photographs and Prints Collection. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum. 
Jazz Band. [n. d.] Knox College Special Collections and Archives. Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois. Courtesy of Knox College. 
002827.JPG Jazz Band. [n. d.] Western Illinois University. Digital Image Collection. Courtesy of Western Illinois University. 
4th Hi Jazz Band, ‘21. 1921. Benedictine University. John Jochman Album. Courtesy of Benedictine University. 

View the full IWU Historical CollectionPhotographs and Prints CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois CollectionDigital Image Collection, and the John Jochman Album Collection on the IDHH. 

View more items related to jazz music on the IDHH. 

Honoring the Civil War’s Unsung Heroes: Boys in Blue

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: 

M.T. Wood. 1908. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.  
William B. Ray. 1889. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
E.G. (Thomas E.G.) Ransom. circa 1860s. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Robert G. Ingersoll with grandson, Robert Ingersoll Brown. 1893. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Risdon M. Moore. 1899. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
William J. Owen. circa 1890s. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Boys in Blue Collection. Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 

View the full Boys in Blue Collection on the IDHH. 

View more Civil War documents on the IDHH.

Honoring American Red Cross Giving Day 2021

Since its founding by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881, the American Red Cross has provided services to American armed forces and their families, as well as disaster relief around the world. While they have adapted to meet the changing needs of the people they serve, they have remained true to their mission of serving people in need.  

In 1943, President Roosevelt was the first to proclaim March as American Red Cross Month. Since then, issuing this proclamation has become an annual tradition, where presidents designate March as the month to honor American Red Cross volunteers. March 24 also marks the seventh annual American Red Cross Giving Day, during which the American Red Cross encourages communities to come together and donate to help the American Red Cross provide essential relief to those affected by disasters. 

In honor of American Red Cross Giving Day, the IDHH has collected a few of our favorite images featuring American Red Cross volunteers from our contributors at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County, the McLean County Museum of History, and the Graham Hospital School of Nursing: 

Red Cross Ditty Bag Project. September 12, 1969. Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. Fort Sheridan. Courtesy of Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. 
Red Cross Blood Drive. January 20, 1975. Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. Fort Sheridan. Courtesy of Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. 
Red Cross Nurses’ aide. January 21, 1943. McLean County Museum of History. Pantagraph Negative Collection, 1940-1945. Courtesy of McLean County Museum of History. 
Red Cross. September 26, 1941. McLean County Museum of History. Pantagraph Negative Collection, 1940-1945. Courtesy of McLean County Museum of History.
196-.1.14 Fulton County Red Cross nurses Lois Watts. circa 1960s. Graham Hospital School of Nursing. Graham Hospital School of Nursing Library. Courtesy of Graham Hospital School of Nursing. 
194-.1.1 Red Cross Volunteers. circa 1940s. Graham Hospital School of Nursing. Graham Hospital School of Nursing Library. Courtesy of Graham Hospital School of Nursing. 

View the full Fort Sheridan collection, the full Pantagraph Negative collection, and the full Graham Hospital School of Nursing Library collection on the IDHH. 

View more items related to the American Red Cross on the IDHH. 

Celebrate Women’s Fight for the Vote with Hazle Buck Ewing

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we at the IDHH would like to introduce Hazle Buck Ewing, passionate activist for women’s suffrage and lifelong member of the Bloomington League of Women Voters.

Ewing joined the women’s suffrage movement in 1915, and worked to secure voting rights for women through her writing, her attendance at conferences, and her financial support of the movement. She continued to promote women’s rights after the passage of the 19th amendment by supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and voting in every election beginning in 1920, only stopping when she was too ill to leave her home. She died at the age of 88 on August 29, 1969. 

The Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage collection from Illinois State University is comprised of materials created and collected by Ewing during her involvement in the women’s suffrage movement. The collection has over 150 items and includes letters, articles, pamphlets, and photographs that give insight into the efforts made by early 20th-century suffrage activists to secure women the right to vote. 

To celebrate Hazle Buck Ewing and Women’s History Month, here are a few of our favorite items from the collection: 

National Women’s Party Sash and Ribbons, circa 1916-1919. Circa 1916-1919. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
Hazle Buck Ewing’s nieces with snow suffragette at home of Nelson L. Buck, December 25, 1915. December 25, 1915. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
Hazle Buck Ewing poem “Out West”. October 1916. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
Hazle Buck Ewing Letters to Claude Kitchin and Thomas Martin, January 5, 1918 (copy). January 5, 1918. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
James Lewis telegram to Hazle Buck Ewing, May 10, 1918. May 10, 1918. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
Invitation to National American Women Suffrage Association and League of Women Voters conference, Chicago, February 12-18, 1920. 1920. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.
Scott W. Lucas Letter to Hazle Buck Ewing, March 14, 1949. March 14, 1949. Illinois State University. Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection. Courtesy of Illinois State University.

In August, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, featuring images of women exercising their right to vote from the McLean County Museum of History’s Pantagraph Negative Collection (1940-1945). 

View the complete Hazle Buck Ewing Women’s Suffrage Collection in the IDHH. 

View more items related to women’s suffrage in the IDHH.