In 1853, Albert Palmer Cunningham (1832-93) came to Champaign County, Ill., with his brother Joseph. A. P. Cunningham, who served in the 76th Ill. Vol. Inf., was well-known for his drug business. It became known as A. P. Cunningham and Sons after his sons, George and Edwin, joined the business. George Newton Cunningham (1867-1928) married Alice Miller (1874-1958) in 1899. Her father, Edward Payson Miller, had worked as a sutler for the 51st U.S.C. Inf. during the Civil War. George and Alice had two children, Eunice (1903-74) and Newton. Eunice married Carl Creamer in 1929, and their son, Bruce Creamer, like his mother and father, attended the University of Illinois. Guy Housh, whose father was a close friend of George Cunningham, resided with the Cunningham family while he attended the University of Illinois.
This collection contains personal papers of various members of the Cunningham, Miller, Creamer, and Housh families, as well as records of their business activities. A. P. Cunningham's papers include diaries and letters from his service as a sergeant and second lieutenant in Co. G, 76th Ill., and papers concerning a Civil War bounty and soldier's graves. The papers of E. P. Miller include personal and business correspondence, sutler records, railroad contractor records, and farm records. Among the papers of Alice Miller and George Cunningham is correspondence as well as legal and financial records.
The papers of Eunice Cunningham Creamer are the most extensive in the collection, and consist of diaries, appointment books, University of Illinois class notes, sorority papers, a journal and memorabilia of her European trip in 1924, papers concerning her various organizational memberships, scrapbooks, clippings, and postcards. The Guy Housh papers contain mainly school notes and records.
Among the business records are materials relating to A. P. Cunningham and Sons, Cunningham Brothers, Cunningham Drug Company, the Illini Bank, the University Book Store, and the University of Illinois Supply Store. The collection also contains many photographs, and a number of artifacts, including two corporate seals for Cunningham family businesses.
Bruce Creamer donated this collection to the Library in 1977. In 2001, he added material to the collection that is not yet processed.
In 2011, Karen Lang Kummer added to the collection her history of the Cunningham Building at 623-631 So. Wright St., Champaign, as well as photographs of the building's exterior and interior taken in 1997, when the building was closed and demolished. These materials supplement Series XII, "University of Illinois Supply Store."