Illinois Archives

April 21, 2007

Prairie Farmer's directory of Champaign County : complete directory of the farmers of Champaign County, with valuable information about each farm; breeder's directory, giving full classified list of breeders of purebred livestock and poultry; business dir
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What can you do with $195 and an old Ford?

The Prairie Farmer was a leading agricultural magazine and a champion of farmers’ rights founded by the Union Agricultural Society of Chicago. It supported the grange movement, and in 1873 created a department devoted to the grange. Besides articles on agriculture, horticulture, and stock raising, it provided general and market news, a children’s column, and departments dealing with health, household problems, and veterinary medicine. It also published a series called Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders including this one for Champaign County from 1917. We'll be digitizing many of these directories for counties all over Illinois from the collection of the Illinois Historical Survey and Lincoln Room. These are great genealogy resources as they provide a complete listing of all members of a farmer's family and the exact location of their farm.


May 13, 2007

Historical encyclopedia of Illinois and Champaign County (1905)
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We have digitized over 60 early Illinois county histories so far at the Open Content Alliance scanning center at Oak Street. Newton Bateman's Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Champaign County is one of a series he wrote where the first volume is a general encyclopedia of Illinois and the second volume is devoted to the history of a specific Illinois county. Bateman, a historian, was the superintendent of public instruction for the state of Illinois from 1859-1862 and president of Knox College, Galesburg, from 1875-1893. His description below of summers and winters in Champaign County capture "the mud, snow, and dreariness of winter, and the balmy loveliness of summer" so familiar to us all. A great source of photos and biographies of all the early Champaign and Urbana personages after whom so many local landmarks and streets are named (see below).


May 20, 2007

The prisoners' hidden life, or, Insane asylums unveiled : as demonstrated by the report of the Investigating committee of the legislature of Illinois, together with Mrs. Packard's coadjutors' testimony (1868)
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One hundred and forty-seven years ago today, on June 18, 1860, Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard was committed to the Jacksonville (Illinois) Insane Asylum by her husband Theophilus Packard, a strict Calvinist minister, because she had begun to express liberal religious beliefs that differed from his own. The Packards, who lived in Manteno, Illinois, in Kankakee County, had been married for 21 years and had six children. In 1860, Illinois state law permitted a husband to commit his wife to insane asylum without any court hearing or psychiatric examination. Mrs. Packard spent three years in the Jacksonville hospital. After her release, she separated from her husband and began to campaign for the rights of women and the mentally ill. She founded the Anti-Insane Asylum Society, published numerous books, including this one, and was instrumental in the 1867 passage of an Illinois law "Bill for the Protection of Personal Liberty," which guaranteed the right to a public hearing to anyone, including wives, who were accused of insanity.


See also related work Marital power exemplified in Mrs. Packard's trial, and self-defence from the charge of insanity, or, Three years' imprisonment for religious belief, by the arbitrary will of a husband : with an appeal to the government to so change the laws as to afford legal protection to married women (1870) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

May 27, 2007

Practical corn culture, written especially for the corn belt farmers ([c1914])
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June 24, 2007

The "Illinois way" of beautifying the farm (1914)

A treasure not to be missed! Circular 170 of the Agricultural Experiment Station, published by the Horticulture Department at UIUC in 1914. Copies were distributed "free to anyone in Illinois who will sign a promise to do some permanent ornamental planting within a year." Learn all about the "gaudy way" vs. the "Illinois way;" why the Illinois farmer's wife was discouraged from having a separate flower garden; and why growing gladiolas builds character in Illinois farm children! The text is as charming as the photos!


July 29, 2007

The Urbana Courier

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection

UIUC's History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library launched the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection on July 28, 2007. This free web-based service provides fully searchable digital facsimiles of historic Illinois newspapers. Current holdings include the Urbana Daily Courier for the years 1916-1925 and the UIUC student newspaper, the Daily Illini, for the years 1916-1935. The Urbana Daily Courier from 1926-1935 is already in the works, and the Library hopes to start on 1902-1915 next year. The digital Urbana Courier offers extensive documentation of the impact of a number of pivotal events in world history as well as key developments in local and regional history on the lives of ordinary residents of East Central Illinois. At the international level, the years 1916-1925 saw the entry of the U.S. into World War I, the Russian Revolutions of 1917, and the flu pandemic. Nationally this decade encompasses the Scopes trial, the East St. Louis riots of 1917, the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, prohibition, the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting female suffrage, and the postwar recovery and rapid rise of science, technology and industry. The headline below announces the signing on November 11, 1918, of the armistice with Germany that ended World War I; the accompanying article "Twin Cities Wild With Joy" begins as follows: "The people of the twin cities were awakened at 2 o'clock this morning by the ringing of bells, screeching of whistles, and the firing of guns...Nearly every house in Urbana was lighted up within 15 minutes and they knew what the noise meant."


August 26, 2007

The Latter-Day Saints' emigrants' guide : being a table of distances, showing all the springs, creeks, rivers, hills, mountains ... from Council Bluffs to the valley of the Great Salt Lake .
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"Look out for toads with horns and tails." So read one of the many cautionary notes that William Clayton (1814-1879) recorded in this guide for Mormon pioneers who were embarking on the long and often treacherous journey westward to Salt Lake City, Utah. Clayton designed a "roadometer," an early odometer, to track the mileage from point to point. "About noon today Brother Appleton Harmon completed the machinery on the wagon called a "roadometer" by adding a wheel to revolve once in ten miles, showing each mile and also each quarter mile we travel, and then casing the whole over so as to secure it from the weather. We are now prepared to tell accurately, the distance we travel from day to day which will supercede the idea of guessing, and be a satisfaction not only to this camp, but to all who hereafter travel this way." (From William Clayton's journal; a daily record of the journey of the original company of "Mormon" pioneers from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, 1921).


September 23, 2007

New Piasa Chautauqua : the pioneer chautauqua of the Mississippi Valley : the twenty-ninth annual program (1912?])

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The chautaugua movement was a popular educational movement in the late 19th century that continued into the 1920s, when radio and other forms of popular entertainment led to its demise. The Piasa Chautaugua--"the pioneer chautaugua of the Mississippi Valley" in southern Illinois not far from St. Louis was "in a beautiful valley between high, massive bluffs, with the Mississippi at its front and an almost unexplored forest at its back, one of Nature's most picturesque spots and dear to all those who have enjoyed its beauties, its clear, pure air, delightfully cool nights and beautiful scenery." For a few weeks each summer, residents of St. Louis and other nearby communities would gather for a program featuring educational speakers, workshops, musicians, artists, and physical recreation. This week's featured book is the program for the summer of 1912. Filled with wonderful photographs.


October 28, 2007

The Jews of Illinois : their religious and civic life, their charity and industry, their patriotism and loyalty to American institutions, from their earliest settlement in the State unto the present time (1901])
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The Reform Advocate was a Jewish weekly published in Chicago from 1891 through 1946. Edited by Emil G. Hirsch, the magazine was an advocate of progressive Judaism. The May 4,1901 issue featured here focused on Jews in Illinois, "their religious and civic life, their charity and industry, their patriotism and loyalty to American institutions, from their earliest settlement in the State unto the present time." From the Lawrence J. Gutter Collection of Chicagoana at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


January 19, 2008

War's greatest workshop, Rock Island arsenal; historical, topographical and illustrative ... published with the approval of the War department (1922)
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Established by an Act of Congress in 1862, Rock Island Arsenal sits on Arsenal Island in the middle of the Mississippi between Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois, and has been one of the country's largest manufacturers of artillery and military equipment since the 1880s. During the Civil War, Arsenal Island was also home to Union army prison camp that housed over 12,400 Confederate prisoners. During its peak of production during WWI, it employed 14,778 employees. Congress appropriated over $1.6 billion in today’s dollars to the Rock Island Arsenal during that war. In addition to artillery, the arsenal produced over 1.5 million bacon cans, 649,000 canteen covers, and 858,344 haversacks for the war effort. This illustrated history of the arsenal is also a rich source of historical and genealogical information about the tri-cities of Rock Island, Moline, and Davenport. See also Rock Island arsenal, in peace and in war : with maps and illustrations (1898)


April 22, 2008

Bloomington and Normal : past and present, progress and prosperity : spring souvenir ([1905])
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Need a wife? How about a housekeeper? A husband? Or a handyman? Apparently citizens of Bloomington-Normal in the early 1900s could experience "one-stop shopping" at Mrs. R. Houghton's Old Reliable Employment and Matrimonial Bureau. Stern looking Mrs. Houghton (or was this really Mr. Houghton in drag?) is just one of the upstanding citizens featured in this 1905 souvenir booklet highlighting the businesses of the Bloomington-Normal communities.


About Illinois

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Digitized Book of the Week in the Illinois category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Famous Illinoisans is the previous category.

Lincoln and the Civil War is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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