History

The Joliet Economy Motor Buggy

Image of 1909 Economy Motor Buggy, Model E.
This 1909 Economy Motor Buggy, Model E, was manufactured by the Economy Motor Buggy Company in Joliet, Illinois. It is one of the three known surviving Economy Motor Buggies and the only one that has been fully restored to operating condition.

Bomber Jacket, Medals, and Photograph of Sgt. Ray E. Keenan

Image of jacket, metals, and photograph of Joliet native Ray Keenan was drafted into WWII. He was a nose gunner and bombardier in the 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group.
At the age of 21, Joliet native Ray Keenan was drafted into WWII. He was a nose gunner and bombardier in the 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group, 10th Air Force, flying bombing missions out of India in a B-24 Bomber.

Scrapbook Page, Nina Chesebro Photo Scrapbook

Image of Nina Chesebro photo scrapbook page.
The Nina Chesebro photo scrapbook includes highlights from a road trip on September 17, 1916, to Starved Rock State Park near Oglesby, Illinois. This page shows a group of friends in a 1914 Model T Touring Car overlooking the Illinois River. The scrapbook holds over 110 images from 1914 through 1918.

Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” Over Chanute Field, Stanley B. Evans Photo Scrapbook, c. 1918

Image of N-4 "Jenny" over Chanute Field.
On July 18, 1917, flight training began at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois. For the next 76 years, Chanute was a fixture in Champaign County, trading in flight training to become a major technical training installation for the United States Air Force. This image shows a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplane just over the open expanse of Chanute's flying field.

Excerpt from Allen Grant Little's Journal

Image of A.G. Little daily journal.
A.G. Little began to record the daily events of his farm and family in 1888, when he was 21 years old. He continued until 1917, filling eight journals.

Whistle Post Fragment, c. 1930-1950

Image of Whistle post fragment.
A whistle post was installed along a railroad line about a quarter mile before a road crossing. It signaled the engineer to sound the train locomotive's horn, or whistle, as a warning that the train was approaching the crossing.

Golden Telephone

Image of Kellogg 500 telephone.
This Kellogg 500 model gold-colored telephone commemorated the 1000th telephone of this type sold by the Champaign Telephone Company in 1968. The Kellogg 500 model first sold in the 1940s and remained popular for nearly half a century. Its unique features are the square body and placement of the numbers and letters outside the dial.

School Exercise, Marguerite Aubrey, 1907-1910

Image of drawing by Marguerite Aubrey.
Over 100 years ago, Marguerite Aubrey drew this calendar and rendering of a pussy willow plant for her teacher, Katharine Kyser. Katharine was required by the State of Illinois to submit a portfolio of her students’ best work at the end of each school year, and Marguerite’s pussy willow made the cut.

Flu Epidemic at Chanute Field, Stanley B. Evans Photo Scrapbook

Image of Chanute Field in 1918 during flu epidemic.
In 1918, a Spanish influenza pandemic swept the world, the deadliest in human history. This photo, from the Stanley B. Evans scrapbook, was taken in the YMCA at Rantoul's Chanute Field in 1918. The handkerchiefs worn over the face, some rather jauntily, were an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

Postcard of the S.S. President Grant, 1918-1919

Image of S.S. President Grant postcard.
The S.S. President Grant was originally a commercial ocean liner. It was seized by the U.S. government during World War I and officially recommissioned the U.S.S. President Grant. This postcard was issued by the Jewish Welfare Board to soldiers sailing home aboard the S.S. President Grant. Following the signing of the armistice, the ship brought over 37,000 people home to the United States.

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