This collection documents the lives of a prominent family in Champaign, Illinois, including especially Joseph Kuhn (1835-1915) and his son Isaac Kuhn (1866-1956). The collection contains correspondence, business records, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other items which detail the Kuhns' involvement in the community.
A large portion of the collection reflects Isaac Kuhn's forty-year interest in public utilities. Correspondence, newspaper articles, and speeches document his involvement in both local and statewide struggles against high utility rates. The collection also includes newsletters, journal articles, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and other materials which he used in researching the problem of constantly increasing utility rates.
The family correspondence includes several letters, some in German, which Joseph and Lena Kuhn wrote from Champaign to their son Isaac in Cincinnati, 1879-84, as well as correspondence from other family members throughout the country. The history of the family business, Jos. Kuhn & Co., is well documented through business receipts, advertisements, newspaper clippings, and an 1873-86 business ledger. The collection also demonstrates Isaac Kuhn's passionate involvement in shaping the Jewish community in Champaign-Urbana, and his support of numerous charitable organizations.
Ruth Kuhn Youngerman, Isaac Kuhn's daughter, donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey in 2004.