This is Abraham Lincoln’s portable shaving mirror. He used it riding the 8th Illinois Judicial Circuit prior to his presidency. Made from stained oak, it could be folded and neatly tucked away in its self-contained wooden, rectangular case.
There are only four surviving copies of this 1818 map of Illinois, which was printed in Philadelphia. John Melish produced it from surveys in the General Land Office and a few other sources. Produced only a few months before Illinois achieved statehood, the map reflects the priorities of early settlement, highlighting military bounty lands granted to War of 1812 veterans in color.
This is one of only five surviving copies of the Gettysburg Address in Abraham Lincoln’s own hand. He originally gave it to Edward Everett soon after the Gettysburg National Cemetery dedication. Everett was the main speaker that day, giving a two-hour address.
This note was written by the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church), Joseph Smith, during his time in Nauvoo, Illinois.
The Illinois Herald was the first newspaper published in the Illinois Territory and a key voice in pushing for statehood. Although it was based in the territorial capital at Kaskaskia from May 1814 to April 1816, only this December 13, 1814, issue survives.
This flag was flown over the tents and barracks of the 515th Transportation Company at Cam Rahn Bay from 1966-68 during the Vietnam War. It is signed by the 22 Illinois members of that company. The 515th, known as the Roadrunners, drove 5-ton trucks hauling supplies to the troops in 12 hour shifts around the clock, 365 days each year.
On May 13, 1873, farmer Henry M. Rose of Waterman was awarded a patent for a fence designed to keep livestock at bay. It consisted of sharp spikes protruding from a thin wooden rail. Rose displayed this patent model for his fence at the DeKalb County Fair that fall, where it caught the eye of three men. Rose’s patent inspired Joseph Glidden, Isaac Ellwood, and Jacob Haish to each try their hand at inventing barbed wire fencing.
This typewriter belonged to Illinois’ own Carl Sandburg, nationally known author, poet, and journalist, while he lived in Elmhurst from 1919 to 1930. Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878 and eventually moved to the Chicago area to begin a career in journalism. He wrote for the Chicago Daily News, reviewing movies and covering labor news. The Sandburg family moved to Elmhurst in 1919, the same year he won his first of three Pulitzer Prizes.
Lakeside Classics are books published by R.R. Donnelley & Sons that feature first-person narratives of American history. Since 1903, the books have been released every Christmas, a practice that continues today. However, the books are not sold to the public but instead have been given to employees and others associated with the company.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, animal specimens were traditionally preserved as study skins or as crudely stuffed mounts. Then, in the early 1910s, a man named Carl Akeley pioneered new specimen preparation techniques that enabled him to create more realistic displays. The Chicago Academy of Sciences also began to experiment with these ideas and devised large, meticulously-detailed dioramas as a new way to represent local species and natural areas.