The Chicago Academy of Sciences has a long history in Chicago. Founded in 1857, the Academy opened Chicago’s first public museum in 1869. That building, located at Wabash and Van Buren in the downtown area, was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Following the fire, the scientific community and public rallied around the Academy.
Private Patrick Carroll carried this musket during the Civil War when he served in the 32nd Illinois Infantry Regiment. Carroll, a native of Ireland, was a 26-year-old blacksmith when he mustered into service at Camp Butler on December 31, 1861. He saw action at the battle of Shiloh and the siege of Corinth before being discharged for disability in August 1862. He returned home to Fayette County, married, fathered seven children, and died in 1901 at age 66.
Opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War began with small demonstrations on college campuses in 1964. By the end of the decade, anti-war sentiment had grown into a broad social movement that sparked a counterculture revolution.
America’s entry into World War II resulted in nationwide efforts to mobilize and equip the military in preparation for battle. Diversion of resources to the troops and Allies resulted in food shortages at home: processed and canned food was largely reserved for shipping overseas to the military and our Allies, transportation of fresh food was limited due to gasoline and tire rationing, and restrictions on imports limited the availability of products from abroad such as coffee and sugar. In 1942, the United States Office of Price Administration instituted food rationing to ensure the fair distribution of goods that were in short supply.
Nancy Batchelder wore this dress when she married David Fryxell on May 1, 1982. It was made from her father's World War II silk parachute. Walter Batchelder was hospitalized and unable to attend his daughter’s wedding, so Nancy made the dress as a tribute to him and as a way of having her father represented on her big day.
This scrip was used to help fund one of Illinois’ earliest and most significant infrastructure projects, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which joins the Chicago and Illinois Rivers and ultimately connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.
These metal plates were recovered from the facades of pre-Civil War structures throughout Illinois. They were issued by fire insurance companies as a way for policy holders to publicly indicate that their buildings and possessions were insured against loss by fire.
These three wax figurines are representatives from a collection of 129 figurines depicting outstanding women in Illinois history. They were created by Minna Schmidt and donated to the Illinois State Historical Library in 1929. Harriet Sanger Pullman, left, was a socialite who supported hospitals, libraries, and schools. Julia Dent Grant, center, was the loving wife of Ulysses S. Grant. Elizabeth Byerly Bragdon, right, was a patron of music and the arts.
Richard Lawson was serving a sentence for marijuana possession in 1969 when he was assigned to serve as an inmate photographer at the Joliet Stateville Prison. During this time, he discovered a cache of glass plate negatives produced by inmates at about the turn of the century. Years later, when he became a professor at Southern Illinois University, he conserved and put together an exhibition of the images in 1981. So far, more than 100 images have been preserved and printed.
Those who survived the "winter of the deep snow” called themselves snow birds and considered themselves the true original settlers of Illinois. In 1882, a group of male snow birds formed a Snow Bird Club for the purpose of calling on old settler ladies every New Year’s Day. A copy of this photo, depicting the 23 members of the Club, was given to each lady they visited in 1884.