By UIUC RBML Staff
Primary Creator: Chester, John Needels (1864-1955)
Extent: 175.0 Items
This collection is arranged in the following series:
Series 1: Autographs, portraits, manuscripts, and other material pertaining to Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French
Series 2: Autographs, portraits, manuscripts, and other material pertaining to American history, chiefly concerning the Civil War
Series 3: Autographs, portraits, manuscripts, and other material pertaining to writers and literature, chiefly American
Series 4: Other autographs, portraits, and manuscripts
This collection consists of approximately 175 manuscript items collected by John Chester, a member of the University of Illinois Class of 1891, who gave portions of his collection to the University Library over a twenty year period. The manuscripts comprise autographs, letters, news clippings, and portraits, including over 100 items concerning Napoleon Bonaparte and people associated with him, as well as similar memorabilia concerned with American history (especially the U.S. Civil War) and American writers, including Oliver Wendell Holmes and Joel Chandler Harris.
Besides this manuscript collection, Chester gave many books to the University of Illinois. Among Chester's early gifts to the university was a first edition of Sir Walter Raleigh's The History of the World (1614). This volume was the first gift made to the Library through the University of Illinois Foundation. His other gifts included a collection of material concerning the period of World War I, books on Napoleon Bonaparte, his family, and his era, fifteen volumes of literature, including a first edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and two manuscript letters written by James Whitcomb Riley. (Note that this collection includes only the manuscript material that Chester donated; the other items were catalogued separately). The manuscript material was formerly catalogued with the call number MS944.05n16wche
Some items individually described in the Letters card catalog.
NOTE: Some information about individual items in this collection may have been cut off in a previous database transfer. This finding aid reflects the most up-to-date information in our records.
Born 24 Sep 1864 in Groveport, Ohio to Hubert Chester and Melvina Sophia Needles. Moved to Champaign County, Illinois, with his family in 1865.
Graduated University of Illinois 1891 with a degree in engineering, earned his professional degree in civil engineering in 1909 and his master's from UIUC in 1911. Member of the Society of Mechanical Engineers and member and past president of the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania. Member and Vice President of the American Society of Civil Engineering and won the George Warren Fuller award of the American Water Works Association for distinguished service in the field of water works supply. founded the company of Chester and Fleming Engineers in Pittsburgh, which became Chester Engineers after Fleming's death. Was a director of the University of Illinois Foundation. Died 1 Nov 1955 in Urbana, Illinois, after a 7 year illness. Buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Urbana, Illinois.
Access Restrictions: Open to researchers.
The RBML reproductions policies can be found here:
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would damage materials or involve violation of copyright law.
Gift, 1948/49 from J.N. Chester
Gift, 1955/56 from the estate of John Needels Chester, class of 1891.
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