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. 

New Nursing Education Collection: the History of Methodist College

Healthcare providers play a critical role in caring for patients and saving lives, especially during a pandemic. For roughly a year now, these front-line workers have continued the dedication and sacrifice of the healthcare profession, putting themselves at risk for COVID-19 while taking care of their patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities around the world.

To celebrate these healthcare providers, the IDHH welcomes our new contributor Methodist College and their History of Methodist College collection. Now a four-year, private, not-for-profit college, Methodist College was established in 1900 as a nurse training program by the deaconesses of the Methodist Episcopal church in Peoria. The History of Methodist College collection reflects the growth of this nurse training program into a four-year college, with over 1,200 items that include class groups, study sessions, diplomas, student bulletins, and patient care throughout the last century.

Here are a few of our favorite items from the collection:

Student Nurses in Nurses Library. April 1, 1953. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.
A Day in Nurses Training. June 1, 1950. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.
Unknown Group. [n. d.]. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.
Bedside Demonstration. 1943. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.
Class Photo 1902. 1902. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.
Class Group Photo. [n. d.]. Methodist College. History of Methodist College. Courtesy of Methodist College.

Want to see more?

Browse the full History of Methodist College collection.

View more items in the IDHH related to Nursing and Healthcare.

To learn more about Methodist College, visit Methodist College’s site.

Celebrate Black History with the Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive

To celebrate Black History Month, the IDHH is featuring the Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive collection from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). This collection includes select articles from the 1930s to the 1970s relating to the African American populations at SIUC, digitized from the microfilm archives of SIUC’s award-winning student-run newspaper the Daily Egyptian. Begun in 2006, this digitization project was a collaboration between SIUC’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Morris Library Special Collections Research Center.

Topics covered include the activities of the local chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha (the first intercollegiate historically African American Greek-lettered sorority and fraternity, respectively); African American performers visiting the campus; athletics, courses, and faculty; and the struggles of African Americans living in the racially-segregated United States.

Here are a few articles from the full collection:

Bond viewed as standout college player. April 10, 1969. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive. Courtesy of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Black history honored next week. February 6, 1971. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive. Courtesy of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Dick Gregory, Dizzy Gillespie Here Thursday. May 2, 1961. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive. Courtesy of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Black life brought into focus. November 24, 1970. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive. Courtesy of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Want to see more in the IDHH?

Browse the full Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive

Browse all items from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

View more items related to African-American cultural heritage and Black History

New Oral History Collections in the IDHH

Happy New Year, everyone! With our first harvest of 2021, the IDHH now contains 471 collections from 146 contributors, for a total of 382,479 items of five different formats: images, text, physical objects, video, and audio. We’d like to start the year by highlighting our two new oral history collections.

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The East Central Illinois Oral Histories collection from Eastern Illinois University features nearly 100 interviews with transcripts, originally recorded between 1977-1989. As the interviewees discuss their lives and histories, the topics covered include the Civilian Conservation Corps, shoe sales, the US Civil War and the World Wars, funeral homes, agriculture and farm life, labor and railroads in Illinois, taxes, temperance and Prohibition, and basketball.

To browse the full East Central Illinois Oral Histories collection, please visit the IDHH here.

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The Recordings of the Illinois Labor History Society collection from Roosevelt University features over 120 recordings, dating from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Topics include labor unions such as the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), labor strikes and lockouts, women and African-Americans in labor, and remembrances of the Haymarket Square Riot. Notable voices in the recordings include labor activists Leslie “Les” Orear, Lou Krainock, Ralph Helstein, and Victoria “Vicki” Starr.

To see the full Recordings of the Illinois Labor History Society collection, please visit the IDHH here.

Illinois Stories-COVID 19 from Illinois State Museum

This year has no doubt been marked by the coronavirus pandemic. The Illinois State Museum has started a collection documenting Illinoisans experiences of the initial days shelter-in place and the summer’s movement for justice following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville through art, personal essays, and photographs. The collection is on-going, but here are a few already in the collection:

Birthday Drive-bys, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by J Crin. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Black Lives Matter Rally, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by Zach Adams. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Park Do’s and Don’ts, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by
A. Jordan-Baker. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
“Crazy In Quarantine” , 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Art by Ellie Baldwin. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Penguin Field Trips at the Shedd, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by
Shedd Aquarium. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Public Service Announcement, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by
M. Wilhelmi. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Birthday Blues, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by
S. Carolan. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.
Social Distancing with Friends, 2020. Illinois State Museum. Illinois Stories- Covid 19. Photograph by
B. Malany. Courtesy of Illinois State Museum.

For the rest of the collection and to read the reflections of people who have contributed their images and stories, please visit the IDHH or the Illinois State Library. If you’re interested in sharing your Covid-19 story, this page on the Illinois State Museum’s website has the information you need.