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

Military History

A University Goes to War, World War I Women browse-->>

The materials in this collection, dating from 1917-1919, document the participation of the students, alumni, faculty and staff of Illinois State Normal University in World War I. During the war, Illinois State Normal University Librarian Ange Milner corresponded with persons in service. After the war, she sent a survey to all who could be located. The bulk of the material in this collection consists of the responses to this survey as well as letters and photographs sent to Miss Milner and others at the University. These materials were gathered in War Service Records for each individual. It also includes documentation of on-campus activities, including a reunion for everyone that served in World War I, hosted by the University in June 1919.

These women form a very interesting group. Four of them were members of the University faculty (including the director of the newly-opened women's residence hall); six had graduated since 1910; five graduated between 1900 and 1910; one graduated in 1890 and was in her early forties at the time she entered the service; seven did not graduate; three were graduates of University High School; two were sisters. Most had taught school since graduation, but several had gone into nursing during World War I. Many served as nurses, reconstruction aides or Red Cross workers, and one spent the entire war as a Navy typist in Washington, D. C. About half of these women saw service in Europe. At least two served in hospital units that came under fire in France and one was among the twenty-plus women awarded the Croix de Guerre. One of the most prominent women in this group was Julia Scott Vrooman, wife of Carl Schurz Vrooman, U. S. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture who went to Europe as a member of the Agricultural Commission. The women represented in this collection provide excellent examples of the roles that women played in World War I.

For more information about this project, visit this link at the University Archives, Illinois State University.

Arlington Heights Military History browse-->>

A collection of papers concerning the Civil War belonging to early Arlington Heights residents.

Charles Overstreet Collection browse-->>

Charles Overstreet is a long-time citizen of Flora with a passion for photography. During most of his eighty years, Mr. Overstreet has used his camera to record images of history. During World War II, as a member of the U. S. Army, 252nd Field Artillery Battalion, he captured over 700 images of life as a soldier and unique snapshots of events of the war.

Note: Please be aware that there are images (some graphic) of the atrocities committed at Gardelegen, Germany in April 1945 in this collection.

DeWitt County World War I Collection browse-->>

Letters and service records of men and women of DeWitt County who served in World War I.

Ella's Historical Collection- Grand Army of the Republic, Post 453 browse-->>

The Grand Army of the Republic was an organization for Civil War Veterans that ran from 1866 until the death of its last member in 1956. Locally the organization was extremely active and the extensive collection of records left in the care of the library provides a first-hand account of the period and the people that shaped it.

Fort Sheridan browse-->>

The Fort Sheridan Collection contains objects, photographs, and postcards dating from the 1890s to the 1980s, relating to military and civilian life at the former U.S. Army post.

For more information visit the Lake County History Archives web page.

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 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.

Mel Tierney Post Servicemens' File browse-->>

A collection of over 1460 index cards, some with newspaper articles, about Park Ridge residents who served during World War II. The Mel Tierney American Legion Post in Park Ridge collected the information during the war. Although this is a large collection, we are unable to confirm that it includes all Park Ridge residents who served in World War II.

Music of the First World War browse-->>

The First World War is considered to be the most musical of all of America's wars. This exhibit uses optical musical recognition software to digitize the World War I sheet music in the collection of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and added it as playable .mp3, MIDI, and AIFF files.

Proviso Township Herald browse-->>

The Melrose Park Public Library digitized copies of our local newspaper, The Herald, from the WWII years of 1941-1945. These papers depict life during the war years for the residents of not only Melrose Park, but neighboring communities including Maywood, Bellwood, Forest Park, Stone Park, Hillside and Westchester.

Wheaton Veterans’ Reflections browse-->>

This is a collection of photographs and stories submitted for the project “Reflections Framed: A Celebration of Military Service Past and Present.” Veterans and family or friends with a connection to Wheaton, Illinois share a photo and story that describes a military memory or experience. Oral histories from veterans who agreed to create them are included.

Wheeling and Buffalo Grove History browse-->>

Local history images of the towns of Buffalo Grove and Wheeling

World War I - - Documents browse-->>

Hundreds of men, as well as many women, of Illinois were playing a part in the World War long before the United States entered the war. Some were fighting on the western front, some were Red Cross nurses or welfare workers. Others joined the Lafayette Escadrille (the American aviation unit in the French army), or entered the Foreign Legion. Records compiled by the Office of the Adjutant General show that Illinois gave 351,153 men to the army and navy of the United States during the war. Out of every twelve men in the army one was from Illinois. Illinois furnished more men to the army and navy than any other state in the Union, with the exception of New York and Pennsylvania, both of which had larger populations. The state's own division, the Thirty-third, was the only distinctly Illinois division that saw active service in France.

Money, next to men, was the greatest need of the government and Illinois gave its share and more. About seven percent of the subscriptions received for the nation's war loans, a total of approximately $1,300,000,000 came from Illinois - which, at the time, had about five percent of the population of the United States. Statistics compiled by the State Council of Defense show that the total contributions of the state to various funds raised by war aid and relief organizations was more than $45,000,000. One of the largest Illinois contributions to the war effort by Illinois farmers was the farm crop of 1918. Estimated by the Department of Agriculture to be worth $879,697,000 it was the greatest crop in money value that was ever produced by any state in the Union. As factories were quickly converted into munitions plants the output of Illinois factories in direct war contracts in 1918 was approximately $2,000,000,000.

By the time the War ended, more than 5,000 men from Illinois had given their lives in defense of world freedom and liberty.

World War II -- Documents browse-->>

On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed the American Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to declare war on Japan. Although Illinois was divided on the issue of war or peace prior to December 7, the attack on Pearl Harbor caused a united front to form. While Springfield (the state capital) claimed to be the “heart of the nation” – not only geographically, but spiritually as well, the Illinois State Register (Springfield) reminded the citizens of its place as the “focal and central point in the State and Nation,” and called for a renewed sense of civic responsibility. Governor Dwight Green called for volunteers for defense and war services – the citizens responded, in fact the young men of Illinois crowded recruiting stations in such great numbers that they were forced to stay open twenty-four hours a day. In a telegram to President Roosevelt, Governor Green pledged the full support of the people and resources of Illinois.

This collection contains United States and Illinois government documents on subjects relating to World War II, including: rationing and conservation, women's work, civil defense, the Japanese interment, the development of the United Nations, and more.

World War II -- From Homefront to Warfront browse-->>

Audio and video recordings of oral histories are accompanied by photographs, correspondence, and memorabilia from private collections to illustrate the home front and warfront lives of Coal City, Illinois area residents during World War II.

Special tribute is given to those who paid the supreme sacrifice.

For more information about this project, and other local history collections, visit this link at the Coal City Public Library site.

World War II -- Posters browse-->>

During World War II the United States government issued posters on topics such as national security, rationing and conservation, investing in war bonds, military recruitment, civil defense, and industrial production. These posters were part of an aggressive propaganda campaign designed to encourage and mobilize the home front war effort. Artists such as James Montgomery Flagg, Otto Fischer, Ben Shahn, and Norman Rockwell contributed their talents to create some of these posters.

This collection contains posters issued by various United States government agencies from the beginning of the war through 1945.