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Forbes, Stephen Alfred. Papers


Scope and Contents

Subject Terms

PDF Box/Folder List

Finding Aid for Forbes, Stephen Alfred. Papers, 1830-1992 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

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Collection Overview

Title: Forbes, Stephen Alfred. Papers, 1830-1992View associated digital content.

Primary Creator: Forbes, Stephen Alfred (1844-1930)

Extent: 3.65 cubic feet. More info below.

Subjects: Botany, Burrill, Thomas J. (Thomas Jonathan), 1839-1916, Champaign County (Ill.), Champaign County--Champaign (Ill.), Forbes, Stephen Alfred, 1844-1930, Freeport (Ill.), Genealogy, Grand Army of the Republic, Grierson's Cavalry Raid, 1863, Illinois. Natural History Survey Division, Illinois State University, Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Ill., 1858, McKinley, William, 1843-1901, McLean County--Normal (Ill.), Military, Mississippi, Phi Beta Kappa, Smith, William Sooy, 1830-1916, Sons of the American Revolution. Illinois Society, United States--Civil War, 1861-1865, United States. Army. Illinois Cavalry Regiment, 7th (1861-1865), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Entomology, World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)

Forms of Material: Personal papers

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of personal papers from Stephen Alfred Forbes (1844-1930). The materials reflect life before, during, and after the Civil War; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and the accomplishments of Stephen A. Forbes in his academic and scientific career. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, published works, newspaper clippings, and other materials.

Enlisting at the age of 17, Stephen A. Forbes served in the 7th Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War, attaining the rank of Captain. After the war ended, Forbes took courses in medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Before he completed his degree, however, he decided to study botany and natural history while teaching in southern Illinois. In 1877, he established the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History--later the Illinois Natural History Survey--which he directed until his death in 1930. In 1884, the laboratory moved from Normal, Illinois, to the University of Illinois campus where Forbes served successively as Professor of Zoology and Entomology, as well as Dean of the College of Science (1885-1905). He retired in 1921 and received the title of emeritus professor.

The collection is comprised of 12 series, including Correspondence, Civil War Material, Genealogical and Ancestral Materials, and Photographs. Although the collection dates from 1830 to 1992, the bulk of the material dates from the 1860s to the mid-1930s.

The Civil War Material series contains correspondence, diaries, and Army orders and citations. Official U.S. Army documents include position commissions, certificates, and other materials related to Forbes's service during the Civil War. The series also includes correspondence, speeches, and newspaper articles discussing Grierson's Raid (1863) through Confederate territory in Mississippi, which Stephen A. Forbes participated in.

The Genealogical and Ancestral Materials series includes a 500+ page volume entitled Forbes Family Letters and Journals of Stephen Alfred Forbes, 1847-1870. The volume was written and compiled by Ethel Forbes Scott (Stephen's daughter) in 1936, one-hundred years after the Forbes family first settled in Illinois. It contains typescript copies of the Forbes's letters and journal entries, as well as genealogical information. Several letters and journal entries offer insight into the war, including what life was like as a captured Union soldier behind Confederate lines. Also included in the series are copies of family records, such as obituaries and legal papers.

The Library acquired the collection in a series of donations from Ethel Forbes Scott (daughter of Stephen A. Forbes) in 1953, 1958, and 1968; Bertha Forbes Herring (daughter of Stephen A. Forbes) in 1958; Richard M. Forbes (grandson of Stephen A. Forbes) in 1966 and 1987-1989; Irene Hansen in 1992; and Robert A. Croker in 1999.

Subject/Index Terms

Burrill, Thomas J. (Thomas Jonathan), 1839-1916
Champaign County (Ill.)
Champaign County--Champaign (Ill.)
Forbes, Stephen Alfred, 1844-1930
Freeport (Ill.)
Grand Army of the Republic
Grierson's Cavalry Raid, 1863
Illinois. Natural History Survey Division
Illinois State University
Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Ill., 1858
McKinley, William, 1843-1901
McLean County--Normal (Ill.)
Phi Beta Kappa
Smith, William Sooy, 1830-1916
Sons of the American Revolution. Illinois Society
United States--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Army. Illinois Cavalry Regiment, 7th (1861-1865)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Entomology
World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)

Administrative Information

Repository: Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 microfilm reel

Box/Folder List

URL: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ihx/inventories/forbes-stephenalfred.pdf

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