Home | About | Help |  All collections | ...by Institution | Contact Us

A service of the Illinois State Library and the Office of the Illinois Secretary of StateILLINOIS DIGITAL ARCHIVES

State History

Abraham Lincoln - Documents browse-->>

The Illinois State Library has a large collection of materials relating to the life, political career, and assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In addition to biographies of Lincoln this collection includes contemporary accounts of the assassination and the trial of the conspirators; descriptions of Lincoln’s funeral and the Lincoln National Monument; the restoration of New Salem; and Lincoln in Springfield.

Bloomington-Normal Black History Project browse-->>

The Bloomington-Normal Black History Project was founded in 1982 and its collections span the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection contains photographs, portraits, booklets, articles, and photocopies related to club organizations and churches of the local Black community. In 1989, the Black History Project was affiliated with the McLean County Historical Society, which now serves as a repository for the project's collections.

For more information about this project visit this link at the McLean County Museum of History site.

Calumet Heritage Partnership - Acme Coke Plant browse-->>

The Acme Steel Company collection is curated and owned by the Calumet Heritage Partnership (http://www.calumetheritage.org), a group that serves the greater Calumet region at the southern end of Lake Michigan in Illinois and Indiana. CHP includes environmental, cultural and historical organizations, individuals, libraries, educational institutions, municipalities, and government agencies committed to celebrating, preserving and protecting the unique heritage of the Calumet region. Due to the loss of opportunity to create the Steel Heritage Museum at the Acme Coke plant, and its ongoing demolition, the Partnership group and friends have, over the past two years, rescued a large collection of blueprints, photographs, and other materials.

The importance of this collection has made it the focus of the Calumet Heritage Partnership for this digitizing grant. The Acme Steel section of the archives includes the digitization of Acme corporate-made photographs of employees and production equipment, aerial views, catalogs, booklets, and maps and other artifacts.

Coal Mining, Machine vs. Man browse-->>

Strip mining was a major source of employment and very important to the Wilmington Coal Field towns of Coal City, Braidwood, and Wilmington during the 1930's through the 1950's. The Wilmington Coal Field is located sixty miles south of Chicago. The growth of the city and its need for energy prompted the search for coal in this area. In the late 1800's and very early 1900's many of the small villages in the area were built. Due to the proximity of coal to the ground surface, shaft mining was dangerous and expensive. Strip mining was first introduced in the Danville, Illinois area in the mid 1800's and it was tried in the early 1900's in the Wilmington Coal Fields but it wasn't until the end of the 1920's that strip mining became commercially successful in this area.

This collection includes information on the mining process, how strip mining affected the communities and how they have recovered and continue to progress today. For more information about this project visit this link at the Coal City Public Library site.

Flora Digital Newspapers browse-->>

This project is the first phase of a multi-phase project to digitize the local newspaper which is currently on microfilm. Funding for this project was made possible by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

The scope of this project covers approximately sixteen years, an estimated 7,800 pages, of early 20th century local newspapers that are currently on microfilm. These newspapers contain a wealth of local history information on businesses, individuals and events that is not available elsewhere.

The reels include: one reel with eight sporadic issues ranging from 1883-1917 (Southern Illinois Journal & Weekly Journal), two reels that contain most issues from 1907-1908 (Southern Illinois Journal), and thirteen reels covering most issues for Oct. 1912 through Dec. 1926 (Southern Illinois Record, Flora Record, and Flora Journal Record).

Henderson County Historical Society Museum browse-->>

The Museum contains collections in frontier life, the development of an emerging agricultural economy, one-room prairie schoolhouses, the impact of both World Wars on rural Illinois, and the westward migration of the American population during the 19th century. The collection of early 20th century home, school and working life includes a complete blacksmithing shop and one-room schoolhouse.

Illinois and the Civil War - Documents browse-->>

Immediately following the capture of Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln, on April 15, 1861, issued a call for 75,000 militia - thus putting an end to all speculation about whether there would be civil war. At this time, Illinois had no arms nor an effective militia force. Governor Richard Yates called a special session of the General Assembly to provide for the organization of six regiments - the Illinois quota under the President's order. By October of that year Illinois had forty-three regiments in service. From April 17, 1861 to April 30, 1865 Illinois furnished 256,297 men who served during the war. By the end of the war, 35,000 Illinois men died fighting to preserve the Union. (For a more in-depth look at Illinois during the Civil War, see the Illinois Blue Book, 1959-1960, "Illinois and the Civil War" by Clyde C. Walton, Illinois State Historian, pp. 16-45)

This collection contains full-text books and documents.

Illinois Blue Books browse-->>

The Illinois Blue Book is one of the most comprehensive sources of state government information. It is a nationally recognized source for information about Illinois' executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. Originating in 1861 as a privately published roster of legislators, the Blue Book has evolved into a historical publication complete with biographies, articles, illustrative photographs and helpful information for Illinois citizens. Recent issues of the Blue Book also include lists of toll-free state telephone numbers and updated listings for Illinois news media - including contact information.

This collection contains keyword/subject searchable versions of the Illinois Blue Book and the legislative directories that preceded them.

Illinois Centennial Business Collections browse-->>

The Illinois Centennial Business Collections features Illinois enterprises that have achieved or surpassed the century mark in continuous operation.

Illinois Constitution browse-->>

The first constitution of the State of Illinois (1818) was compiled mainly with provisions taken from the constitutions of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. It was adopted by the delegates to the convention, but never submitted to the people of Illinois. This first constitution put virtually unlimited power in the hands of the Legislature while effectively keeping it away from the people.

In 1847, with an increase in the population, a movement began for calling a convention to "alter, amend, and revise" the constitution of 1818. The resulting constitution of 1848 was an improvement over the previous one, but still proved to be susceptible to abuses that encouraged greed of all kinds, which caused the Legislature to waste much time and attention, to the detriment of the public interest.

The Legislature of 1859 submitted a proposal, to hold a third constitutional convention, to a vote of the people. This proposal was endorsed in the election of 1860 and the convention convened in Springfield on January 7, 1862. According to law, the delegates to the convention were required to take an oath to support the state constitution, before starting the business of the convention. Unfortunately, the majority of the delegates not only refused to do this, but they assumed powers such as the right to interfere with military affairs - powers they did not have. This convention was soon termed a "high rolling convention", to the disgust of the people and their work was brought into disrepute. Once the delegates became aware that the convention was being severely criticized, they began to make a great effort to create a constitution acceptable to the people. The constitution was overwhelmingly defeated in the popular vote and matters left as they were until after the war.

Once the war was over and Reconstruction began, calls again began to be made for changes to the 1848 constitution. This need for constitutional changes was primarily based on the continuing growth in both population and economic complexity of Illinois. Because of the widespread belief that changes in the state constitution would affect improvements in the performance of Illinois state government, the constitution of 1870 was approved by a large majority and went into effect on August 8, 1870.

Until 1970, Illinois had five state conventions for the purpose of creating a state constitution. Of these, the 1818, 1847, and 1869-70 conventions adopted constitutions that went into effect, while the proposed constitutions framed by the conventions of 1862 and 1922 were rejected. Illinois government basically remained static from 1870 to 1970. The sixth constitutional convention, in 1970, produced a new constitution which was approved by voters on December 15, 1970.

This collection of full-text materials includes the text of all the Illinois constitutions.

Illinois Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths Digital Image Collection browse-->>

The Illinois Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths Digital Image Collection documents the ultimate sacrifice of Illinois firefighters who died in the line of duty over the past 150 years. Providing access to this history memorializes the firefighters, increases awareness of their sacrifice, and supplies contemporary firefighters with valuable "lessons learned" from the various deaths. Funding for this project was awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Additional information about these fallen firefighters, including summaries of the incidents where they were fatally injured, is available through IFLODD, the Illinois Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths Digital Image Collection Database

Illinois Historic Aerial Photographs, 1936-1941 browse-->>

On May 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Agricultural Adjustment Act. This law was originally administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Adjustment Administration (USDA-AAA), and today the USDA-AAA is known as the USDA Farm Service Agency. Since the mid 1930s, the USDA-AAA and subsequently the USDA-FSA have periodically acquired nationwide aerial photography. Acquired on a county-by-county basis, this aerial photography was first used by the USDA to assess the nation's agricultural lands by estimating cropland acreages from measurements taken on the photographs. USDA-AAA aerial photography also served as the basis for the first national soil surveys.

In Illinois, first-time statewide coverage of USDA-AAA aerial photography was achieved between 1936-1941. This aerial photography is widely recognized in Illinois as a unique resource that represents the earliest photographic record of the cultural and physical landscape features of the entire state. It is intensively used by government agencies, surveyors, planners, consulting scientists and engineers, and other individuals for diverse purposes ranging from determination of past land uses to providing the basis for needs assessment studies in ecological restoration.

In Illinois, this USDA photography between the years of 1936-1941, is estimated to be 33,066 photographs. When the original 9"x 9" and 7"x 9" cellulose nitrate film negatives for these photographs were deemed a fire hazard, they were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration in the 1960s and eventually destroyed, and high-quality photographic paper prints remain as the only physical record. Public access and continual use of library print collections for several decades has resulted in a significant number of the photographs becoming defaced, faded, worn, or lost. The Illinois State Library (ISL), the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), and other libraries have collaborated on scanning these photographs in order to complete a digital archive that will provide a comprehensive photographic record of the early twentieth century for the entire state. As a result of previous contracts and grants, more than one-half of the print collection has already been digitized, and on-line Internet access is available at the Illinois Historical Aerial Photography (ILHAP) web site (http://www.isgs.uiuc.edu/nsdihome/webdocs/ilhap/). Once a statewide digital archive is established, it will reduce and eventually eliminate the need for patrons to regularly handle the original paper prints. Furthermore, placing the digitized photographs on-line ensures the most widespread access to potential user groups and reduces the pressure on the print collections residing at libraries within the state.

Illinois State Fair Museum browse-->>

The first Illinois State Fair opened on October 11, 1853 with an admission of 25 cents. The attractions included cattle, horses, and sheep venues, among displays of reapers, mowers, farming tools, and a variety of corn planters. On the third day, over 15,000 people attended. The fair was a success, netting $853 in profits with $1500 in premiums paid out to prize-winning exhibits. There were a total of 765 entries in all areas.

For the next 40 years, the Illinois State Fair was hosted by twelve different cities including Freeport, Chicago, Alton and Olney. It settled permanently in Springfield in 1894. During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, no fairs were held. During this time the fairgrounds were used as a supply base for the Army Air Force.

After the war, the major agricultural fairs in the United States underwent a subtle transition. At that time agriculture became more mechanized, more efficient, with bigger farms and greater production per acre while the size of the rural population was shrinking and the rural youth migrating to urban centers. Major fairs, Illinois included, began increasing exhibits on modern living, on industry and labor, on education and entertainment for the general public.

In 1965 the Illinois Legislature passed an act creating the Illinois State Fair Agency. The main purpose of the Agency remained what had been the goal of the Fair throughout its history: to promote improved methods of agriculture, encourage increased yields and the raising of improved breeds of livestock, and to acquaint farmers with the latest implements and machinery. The Fair was also charged with exhibiting and promoting the activities of Illinois in the fields of industry, labor and education.

Illinois State Highway Maps browse-->>

The history of the Illinois state highway map was written by Ron Peddicord and published as “The Evolution of the Illinois Official Highway Map, 1917 to 1992” in Illinois GIS&MapNotes, v. 11, no. 2, Summer 1993, p. 2-12. In that article, Ron details the evolution of printing in black and white versus color and on one side versus both sides, the change in the line and point symbols showing roads and other types of information, the different cartographic companies making the map, and other facets of its history. Ron also states that the Illinois State Library owns one of the two definitive collections of the Illinois state highway map. This historic run is so valuable for so many purposes that the State Library map staff chose to scan the state highway map as one of its first web map access projects. The State Library holds the Governors/Div. of Highways/IDOT version as well as the Secretary of State’s version but only the Secretary of State’s version was scanned except for some years, such as the 1950’s and 1960’s, when only a Div. of Highways version was published.

The description of some of the cover images of the official map can be found at http://www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/Network-Overview/highway-system/official-highway-map-collection However, the full map, front and back, has never been available on the web before. Starting in 1917, when the roads were trails and were named instead of numbered, through the early years of Rt. 66, the beginning of the interstate highway system, to the present day, one can watch the Pontiac Trail become Rt. 66 and then fade into memory as I-55 erases Rt. 66.

The web version of the images is JPEG2000. Upon request, the State Library map staff can send a TIFF version or can make a full-scale color paper copy.

Illinois State Library -- General Collection browse-->>

This collection includes full-text materials in numerous subject areas.

Illinois Veterans' History Project browse-->>

On October 27, 2000 President Bill Clinton signed into law Public Law 106-380 establishing the Veterans' History Project. This law charged the Library of Congress with the responsibility of collecting and preserving the wartime memories of our nation's veterans and those civilians who supported the war efforts.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office has been a partner with the Library of Congress in the Veterans' History project since November 2003 and officially launched the Illinois Veterans' History Project in November 2005. The Illinois Veterans' History Project began with the collection of written information about Illinois veterans through use of the Illinois Patriot Information Form. In September 2007 the Secretary of State's office entered the next phase of the project, collecting oral histories of Illinois veterans. These histories will now be available through the Illinois Digital Archives.

Jenkin Lloyd Jones World Columbian Exposition Collection browse-->>

A Chicago-area Unitarian minister, Jenkin Lloyd Jones (1843-1918) was the general secretary of the World Parliament of Religions where he advocated for including non-Christian religions in the World Parliament. The Jenkin Lloyd Jones World’s Columbian Exposition Collection includes correspondence and printed ephemera related to Jones’s position as general secretary and his work on continuing the mission of the World Parliament after the World’s Fair.

Jewish Sentinel browse-->>

Collection Provided by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

The Sentinel was the premier Jewish weekly in Chicago. Published from 1911 to 1996, The Sentinel reflected the changing Chicago Jewish community, covering not only local issues, but also national and international Jewish news. Available on this site are the 2,029 digitized issues representing thirty-nine years of The Sentinelfrom 1911-1949. Made available by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society browse-->>

The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society contains articles on every facet of Illinois history. The mission of the Illinois State Historical Society, founded in 1899, is to foster awareness, understanding, research, preservation and recognition of history in Illinois.

This selection of article titles illustrates the diversity of subjects covered by the Journal:

  • British Coal Miners: A Demographic Study of Braidwood and Streator, Illinois
  • The Socialist Party of America in Municipal Politics: Canton, Illinois, 1901-1920
  • John Brown White and Early Women’s Education: A History of Almira College
  • Thomas Sharp and Anti-Mormon Sentiment in Illinois, 1842-1845
Lincoln and Lincoln-Related Documents from the Illinois State Archives browse-->>

The Illinois State Archives serves by law as the depository of public records of Illinois state and local governmental agencies. This collection consists of official state documents that relate to Abraham Lincoln or his family. They include records from Lincoln’s tenure in the General Assembly (1834-1841) and correspondence with various state officials and many of them were written by Lincoln himself.

Living Museum browse-->>

The Living Museum has for decades been a rich source of information on Illinois art, natural history, anthropology, and history. This online project does not replace the print version of The Living Museum but makes this popular educational resource also accessible electronically to students, teachers, researchers, and others throughout the world. The Living Museum, a quarterly journal of the Illinois State Museum, is available without charge. To subscribe, contact editor@museum.state.il.us. For more information on the Illinois State Museum, see http://www.museum.state.il.us

Lombard College Collection browse-->>

Founded in 1853 in Galesburg, Illinois, Lombard College was a progressive coeducational Universalist college and was one of three colleges in the state of Illinois to be granted an Illinois Charter. The Lombard College Collection consists primarily of institutional records and student ephemera from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Madison County Genealogical Resources browse-->>

The creation of this collection serves to preserve and give access to a wealth of information about Madison County history. It contains keyword searchable versions of:

  • Cemeteries and Tombstone Inscriptions of Madison County, Illinois
  • Glenwood Cemetery, Collinsville, Illinois: A Preliminary Study of Burials, 1922
  • St. Joseph Cemetery, Highland, Illinois
  • Illustrated Encyclopedia and Atlas Map of Madison County, Illinois, 1873
  • New Atlas of Madison County, State of Illinois, 1892
  • Standard Atlas of Madison County, 1906
  • Naturalizations and Intentions of Madison County, Illinois: An Index, 1816-1900
  • History of Madison County, Illinois, 1882
  • A Complete Surname Index to the Historybof Madison County, Illinois, 1882
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Madison County, Illinois, 1894
  • Index of Biographical Sketches, Madison County, Illinois
Mercury Studio Collection browse-->>

The Mercury Studio collection consists of thousands of photograph negatives taken for the years 1946 to the 1990s. The majority of the images were taken during the 1960s and 1970s. The collection was first started by Walter Bubnis and eventually was purchased by James Woodruff. The Sangamon Valley Collection acquired this collection after Woodruff's death in 2004. The collection consists of a variety of images including street scenes, businesses, weddings, conventions, portraits and social events. For further information, please contact Lincoln Library.

Metamora Herald Image Collection browse-->>

Metamora Herald Newspaper Image Collection includes wedding announcements, engagement announcements, anniversaries, sports teams, community activities, 4-H Fair activities and school activities. Published since December 20, 1889 until July 7, 2011, the newspaper covered the Illinois towns of Spring Bay, Washburn, Roanoke, Benson, Germantown Hills, Cazenovia, and Low Point as well as the village of Metamora.

Mining and Mother Jones in Mount Olive browse-->>

"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living", her words still inspire labor organizers, but who was Mother Jones? Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, known as the Miners' Angel, was once described by West Virginia District Attorney Reese Blizzard as "...the most dangerous woman in the world." She described herself in these words: "I'm not a humanitarian, I'm a hell-raiser." In reality, she was all of these things and more in her role as one of the foremost labor organizers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

She claimed to have been born in Cork, Ireland on May 1, 1830. Although a recent (2001) biography by Elliot Gorn states that she was actually born on August 7, 1837. It is unclear why she changed the date of her birth to make it earlier. In 1867, she lost her husband and children in a yellow fever epidemic and in 1871, she lost everything she owned in the great Chicago Fire. It was at this time that she became involved with the newly-formed Knights of Labor and began traveling around the country working for or with labor.

Her growing interest in labor union issues and radical politics led her to become active as a radical labor organizer. Some of the activities in which she was involved include: 1877, helped with the Pittsburgh railway strike; after 1890, became involved in the struggles of coal miners and became an organizer for the United Mine Workers; 1898, helped found the Social Democrat Party; 1899, organized the coalfields of Pennsylvania; 1905, was present at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.

This small collection includes photographs of mines and mine workers from Mount Olive as well as some Mother Jones memorabilia - including the letter she wrote to the miners of Mount Olive, requesting that "I hope it will be my consolation when I pass away to feel I sleep under the clay with those brave boys." Mother Jones died on November 30, 1930 and is buried in the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive, Illinois. Her grave is near that of "those brave boys" she referred to - the victims of the Virden mine riot of 1898.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian browse-->>

Collections of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Morton Arboretum -- Sterling Morton Library browse-->>

Collections of the Sterling Morton Library at the Morton Arboretum

Native American Collection -- McLean County Museum of History and ISU browse-->>

The McLean County Museum of History offers access to a wide range of Native American objects. The collection includes pre-historic lithics and pottery fragments found in Central Illinois used in farming, hunting, and food processing. The collection also contains objects obtained through trade with early European settlers and made by Kickapoo and other Native Americans for use in daily life.

Collection highlights include artifacts gathered from archeological excavations at the Grand Village of the Kickapoo and Kickapoo Stockade, photographs taken at the Kickapoo Reservation in Horton Kansas in 1906, and manuscripts and documents relating to the Kickapoo People collected by Milo Custer. Additional highlights include artifacts excavated from archeological work conducted at the French and Fox Indian battle location known as the Arrowsmith Battlefield. You can also view lithics and pottery fragments from the Woodland and Mississippian eras.

O'Hare Digital Collection browse-->>

The Bensenville Community Public Library has, over the past three decades, collected a substantial amount of material dealing with the transformation of Douglas Field from a World War II aircraft manufacturing facility into O'Hare International Airport. Contained within this collection are letters, press releases, governmental resolutions, photographs and other historic documents. These materials may help the researcher understand O'Hare’s development into a national transportation center, its impact on the ecology of northern Illinois, and the consequences of various expansion plans on the quality of life in Chicago's western suburbs.

For more information, visit the Bensenville Community Public Library site.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Interment Records browse-->>

Established in 1856, Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, is the largest cemetery in Illinois in land area (365 acres). More than seventy thousand people are interred in this historic cemetery. With more than 2.5 million visitors each year, it is the second most-visited cemetery in the United States.

Each entry includes the name of the deceased; the date of death; age at death; cause of death; a designation of the grave location, through a combination of block, lot, range, and grave numbers; place of birth; and remarks.

Note: The text of each volume is searchable (within the volume) by name, year of death, and cause of death.

These records were made available through the collaborative efforts of the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library, Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield browse-->>

The Oral History Collection at UIS consists primarily of material collected by the Sangamon State University Oral History Office from 1971 to 1991. Some oral history memoirs have been added in recent years by volunteers and UIS graduate history students. The collection includes the memoirs of a wide array of people including: coal miners; members of the African-American, Italian-American, Jewish, and other ethnic communities in central Illinois; Illinois legislators and politicians; farm families; WWII conscientious objectors and prisoners of war; members of Springfield churches and clubs; teachers in rural one room schools; and many others.

The collection is a vital record of life in Illinois and beyond from the late 19th century to the present, and preserves the memories of many individuals whose experiences would not otherwise be recorded.

This oral history collection is housed in Archives/Special Collections at Brookens Library, University of Illinois at Springfield. A guide to collection may be found at http://library.uis.edu/archives/collections/oral/contents.html

People’s Church Audio Recordings Collection browse-->>

Dr. Preston Bradley (1888-1983) was a radio personality and Unitarian minister. A major influence on Chicago’s cultural and political life, he was a member of the Chicago Public Library Board and served on both the Chicago Council against Racial Discrimination and the Mayor's Committee on Race Relations. The People’s Church Audio Recordings Collection consists of sermons and speeches given by Preston Bradley and other civic and religious leaders at People’s Church between 1939 and 1985.

Polo Area Cemetery Records of Ogle, Lee, Carroll and Whiteside Counties browse-->>

This collection consists of cemetery records dating to the 1850's. Volunteer members of the Polo Historical Society walked through each of the individual cemeteries and recorded information from stones and markers.

Postcards -- Illinois browse-->>

The Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection Illinois collection includes postcards printed by Curt Teich & Company (1898 - 1978), V.O Hammon Publishing Company (1904 - 1923), and the Detroit Publishing Company (ca. 1900 - 1924).

The Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection was donated to the Newberry Library by the Lake County Forest Preserve District in 2016.

Digitization of this collection was developed pursuant to a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant awarded to the Lake County Discovery Museum, Lake County Forest Preserve District by the Illinois State Library, an Office of the Secretary of State using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

For more information, visit the Newberry web page().

Register of Illinois Prisons browse-->>

Registers of Prisoners for Alton, Joliet and Menard State Prisons 1833-1908

This database provides an index for the Registers of Prisoners received at the Illinois State Penitentiary at Alton Prison (1833-1841; 1847-1858), the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet (ca. 1858-1901) and Southern Illinois penitentiary at Chester (Menard) (ca. 1865-1908). A complete history of Illinois prisons is accessible here (http://archon.ilsos.net/?p=creators/creator&id=36). Registers provide information about the prisoner, including personal history and family history.

Digitization of this collection was developed pursuant to a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of Secretary of State using state grant funds.

For more information, see Department of Corrections - RG 243 | Illinois State Archives.

Springfield Aviation Company Collection browse-->>

The Springfield Aviation Company Collection, 1927-1955, was donated to the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library in May 1995 by Craig Isbell, former co-manager of the company. Isbell formed a partnership with Gelder Lockwood in the late 1920s and operated this company at Springfield's Southwest Airport. This airport was first called Commercial Airport and later Municipal Airport. It continued as a private airfield after the opening of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in 1947. The collection is comprised of several hundred photographs, publications and newspaper clippings related to the company and aviation in Springfield.

These digital images, made available by the Sangamon Valley Collection at the Lincoln Library (Springfield), are of photographs from this collection.

Tinker Swiss Cottage browse-->>

Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford, Illinois. The museum complex contains the historic house museum, barn, and carriage house from the Tinker family. In addition, the property is the home of the founding site of Rockford and contains a Pre-Columbian Native American conical mound.

Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science browse-->>

Transactions, the referred scientific journal of the Illinois State Academy of Science, has been published continually since its inaugural 1908 issue.

University of Saint Mary of the Lake Collection browse-->>

The Eucharistic Congress 1926

The 28th Eucharistic Congress of the Catholic Church was held in Chicago, June 20-24, 1926, the first time it had been hosted in the United States. It was considered the greatest religious gathering in modern times.

On June 24th, 750,000 people made a pilgrimage in a Eucharistic Procession from Chicago to St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. The participants traveled on foot, by auto, bus, and by rail. Shown below is a view of St. Mary of the Lake with the procession being led by Cardinal Bonzano.

Urban Landscapes from the Field Museum browse-->>

In October 2006, the Field Museum Library's Photo Archives began a project that was funded by the Library Services Technology Act through the Honorable Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian. The purpose of the project was to use digital technology to create replacement-quality, high-resolution replicas of a collection of approximately 800 original glass negatives.

The images produced for this project range from 1894 to 1925 and show Chicago and outlying areas' flora, fauna, parks, and neighborhoods. They also document architectural changes to the Field Columbian Museum in Jackson Park and The Field Museum in its present location in Grant Park.

Vachel Lindsay Collection browse-->>

The Vachel Lindsay Collection is comprised largely of materials containing the published prose and poetry of Vachel Lindsay in formats such as posters, newspaper and magazine articles, booklets, pamphlets, magazines and books. Other items include newspaper and magazine articles that contain biographical information on Lindsay and his family, critiques of his work and memorials and tributes to Lindsay. This small collection of photographs include Lindsay, his family, Elizabeth Graham, the Lindsay Verse Speaking Choir, 1940 and his tombstone. Phonograph recordings of Lindsay reading his works and his son, Nicholas Cave Lindsay, reading his father's poems make up another part of the collection.

Two scrapbook albums put together by Frances "Fannie" Hamilton, the younger sister of Vachel's mother contain materials about Lindsay from 1914 to about 1930. The albums include poems, drawings, private publications, clippings about and by Lindsay, a lock of his hair and some photographs. Bound volumes of his work include The Tramp's Excuse, The Village Magazine first edition, The Village Magazine third and fourth editions, Vision Magazine, A Letter About My Four Programmes and a notebook kept by Joy Lindsay Blair, Vachel's younger sister.

These digital images, made available by the Sangamon Valley Collection at the Lincoln Library (Springfield), are of photographs from this collection.

William Hayes Papers browse-->>

The William Hayes Papers are primarily family letters written from 1830-1857. However, they also inlcude legal documents, business letters, and copies of "Andrew Borders vs. William Hayes," his 1844 civil trial at Picnkneyville for helping five Borders slaves escape to northern Illinois and the Illinois State Supreme Court trial which followed.

William Hayes was born on November 9, 1795, the son of Henry Hayes (1762-1823) and Mary Ann (Molly) Ferris(s). Little is known of his life prior to his marriage to Anna Johnston (1800-1861) on November 25, 1819. In 1825 he was a resident of Galway, New York. By 1826 he had "undertaken the farm for mother's and the girl's comfort." The mother mentioned here was probably Rachel Johnston, Anna's mother. The "girls" were Anna's half-sisters, Leah (1781-1843) and Jane (1792-1857) Cownover (variously spelled "Conover" and "Cowenhoven"). As early as 1826 William and Anna were receiving letters from her half-sister Ursula Taylor, to sell the farm and move her mother and sisters to Cleveland where she lived with her husband Charles. In 1829 William began receiving letters from Oliver Bannister, who had settled in Randolph County, Illinois, urging him to move to the Illinois country.

In late May of 1833 William, Anna, and their children (Mary Rachel, Margaret, Euphemia, William James, Isaac Henry, and Jane Ann) left their home in Galway and traveled to Cleveland to look over the land and visit with her half-sister, Ursula. Besides their large family, Anna's two half-sisters, Leah and Jane Cownover, also made the trip. In July of that same year, William left Cleveland, leaving the women and children behind, and went to Illinois to see if he liked it better than Ohio. Apparently he liked what he saw because in September 1833 he moved his family to Fort Clark, Illinois (present-day Peoria). While living in the Peoria area, William bought and sold land in northern Illinois. He seems to have been a land speculator. The Hayes family left Peoria in 1834 and settled in Randolph County. The reason given in one letter is that his wife had been sick with "the ague" for the entire year they lived in Peoria.

The first mention of William's work with the Underground Railroad occurs in a letter from his brother, James, in 1841. The following year on August 31, 1842, William helped five "indentured servants" (Susan Richardson - "Sukey", Hannah Morrison, and Sukey's children Jarrot, Harrison, and Anderson) escape from Randolph County. The five had "belonged" to Andrew Borders, a very wealthy and influential man who lived west of Sparta. The route the escapees traveled is not known, but by September 5, 1842 they had arrived in Farmington, Illinois. In February 1843 Andrew Borders sued William Hayes for aiding his servants in escaping and asked for $2500 in damages. The case was finally tried in April 1844 in Pinckneyville, Illinois. Hayes was found guilty and fined $300. He appealed the case to the Illinois Supreme Court which upheld the Perry County decision and refused to grant a new trial. A letter exists from 1845 that clearly indicates that William Hayes did not stop his involvement in the Underground Railroad. In 1848 a criminal charge was leveled against him and a Daniel Morrison for "harboring a slave" in Clinton County. This case never came to trail because William Hayes died intestate in 1849. His estate was probated in 1852. When the estate was finally settled, Anna Hayes received $118.25.

The documents in the Illinois Digital Archives website are only a portion of the letters written to William Hayes. Transcripts of the entire collection cam be found at the Sparta Public Library, Sparta, Illinois and the Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois. The entire story of Sukey, William Hayes, and Andrew Borders is told in the book Betwixt Two Suns: A True Tale of the Underground Raiload in Illinois by Carol Pirtle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.)

World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 from the Field Museum browse-->>

As the planned outcome of Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, The Field Museum may well be called "the Fair that never ended."

In its special collections the Library holds important original materials from the Exposition and a wealth of material relating to the founding and early history of The Field Museum. Our digital presentation of these collections allows you to browse or search among these holdings and view images.

The collections include official records, objects and photographs, as well as personal memorabilia from the Fair, such as the Robbins Family Scrapbook containing hundreds of fascinating items collected during the family's seven visits to the Exposition. Official records from the Fair include the immense handwritten financial ledger - six feet across when opened - recording the operating costs of the Fair. Also included are a collection of 350 photographs that document the construction of the Museum's present building at 12th Street, at the foot of Grant Park between 1915 and 1919.