The Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) identifies, preserves, and digitizes Illinois newspapers. We also help researchers locate the Illinois newspapers they need. The INP is an initiative of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, and the Department of Preservation Services, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Linotype operator on the Chicago Defender, Negro newspaper. Chicago, Illinois
Linotype operator on the Chicago Defender, Negro newspaper. Chicago, Illinois. Photographed by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. Courtesy of Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) LC-USF34-038648-D (b&w film neg.)


Hay Stove: Part Two

recipe for vegetable soup in hay stove

We left off on the last blog post just about ready to get some food into the hay stove. Let’s see what we should do to prep the food!…

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Hay Stove: Part One

sketch of haystove with haypail

While correcting text in the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections (IDNC) a couple of months ago, I came across a term I’d never heard before: hay stove. I figured it was like a wood stove but used hay instead of wood. I was wrong. I discovered this was a stove without external heat applied to it; it was a stove that had an item in it that was already hot, and its job was to keep it hot through efficient insulation. A ‘slow cooker’ or ‘crock pot’ but without additional heat being applied to the food like our modern-day electric namesakes…[read more]


Fancy Work (French and Eyelet/Cutwork Embroidery)

I love to do needlework; in particular, I love to do what is called “fancy work.”…Needlework encompasses all work done with the needle, whether it is necessary work or not. Darning, patching, repairing ripped seams, hemming, sewing buttons back on and the like were considered essential needlework for the housewife. It’s the needlework that is functional— the work that needs to be done. Fancy work is the needlework that doesn’t ‘need’ to be done…[read more]


Five Weeks in October: Week Five

October of 1918, the fifth week. Last week read like an endless list of friends, neighbors, and loved ones in the area dying from this damned flu. We (I say we because, after a month of reading about these folks, I feel I know them) are told that the worst hasn’t even been reached yet. We don’t want to read names anymore. We don’t want to hear numbers or predictions. We just want to hear when this will be over. We want to go back to work, to school, to be able to worship in public, to head to the ice cream parlor and enjoy a sundae with our family. Most of all we just want to stop being scared. We want the dying to end. We’re afraid to read the headlines but we can’t look away...[read more]

Five Weeks in October: Week Four

October of 1918, the fourth week. At the beginning of last week, they closed the Urbana and, a day later, the Champaign public schools. The state stepped in and forced the closure of all non-essential businesses and any schools that did not have a nurse on-site. By the end of the week the state prohibited all meetings that did not pertain to the war (World War I). Induction of men into the service was postponed as the number of cases of flu across the nation continued to rise. So families, unable to go to work or to school, stayed home and waited for this to end. What else could they do?…[read more]

Five Weeks in October: Week Three

October of 1918, the third week. At the beginning of last week, “places of amusement” were ordered closed, only one church service was allowed per week, but residents’ children were still expected to attend school. Folks were becoming increasingly concerned by the flu directly affecting their community; there had been some civilian deaths in the area. The campus of the University of Illinois had three emergency hospitals set up and the number of students coming down with the flu was rising rapidly. Surgeon General Rupert Blue’s printed interview on the Spanish influenza was enlightening, but didn’t tell them the one thing they wanted to know: when would this end?…[read more]

Five Weeks in October: Week Two

October of 1918, its second week. At the beginning of last week, residents in Champaign County felt safe; not a case to be mentioned in the Urbana Daily Courier. Then, local folks had relatives in other locations become flu victims. By the end of the week, there were three deaths of the flu in the county; two were military men stationed at Chanute Field up the road in Rantoul and a third death, a wife and mother who lived in a town near Rantoul. Was this going to be the end of this flu in the area or was it just the beginning?… [read more]

Five Weeks in October: Week One

October of 1918. The second wave of Spanish influenza was at its height. This week’s 5-day blog series, “Five Weeks in October,” explores what the people of Champaign County, Illinois were doing, feeling, and hearing from their leaders. Was it so different from our current pandemic response?…[read more]


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