502 South Spring Springfield, IL
This 1807 Spanish Reales (both obverse and reverse sides are shown) was worn as jewelry and found around the neck of a person buried in a Catholic cemetery near Kaskaskia. At the time he was buried, Kaskaskia was on the east side of the Mississippi River, but the river’s course was altered during major flooding in 1881, which destroyed most of the town and exposed the graves.
Early coins were made of precious metals, with the value of the metal being equal to the face value of the coin. Since the value of the metal was key to its worth, no one thought twice about cutting a silver coin into pieces; a rather novel way of making change, one might say. This sliver of a silver dollar coin, eight Spanish reales (royals), was found during an excavation of the Fort Williams site on the Wabash River near its confluence with the Ohio River. A Spanish piece of eight was one-eighth of the eight reales coin.
Like other large carnivores, the Black Bear (Ursus americanus) was gone from Illinois by the mid to late 1800s. Queto (Luella) J. Rennier of Champaign found this Black Bear cranium in the Embarras River in Jasper County and donated it to the Illinois State Museum in 2012. One of the bear’s teeth was sampled in order to obtain an age. The bear dates to about A.D. 1760, or 250 years before present, just before the American Revolutionary War and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Miss Fanny Matheny wore this dress when she graduated from the Bettie Stuart Institute in Springfield at age 19. The Bettie was a girls’ school that educated the daughters of some of Springfield’s most prominent families in courses ranging from English and math to art and music. After graduation, Fanny married Dr. John Dixon and played an active role in the city’s cultural and charitable organizations. She was involved in the Humane Society, the Red Cross, and the Home for the Friendless.
Twenty-five-year-old Rosa Dietz Hubbard of Mason City assembled this scrapbook in 1891 from colorful trade cards, scraps, and greeting cards.
This shirt was made by Salome Enos for her son, Zimri Enos, to wear to his wedding on June 10, 1846. Salome and her husband, Pascal, came to Springfield in 1823 and became one of the first four landowning families of the town. Their son, Zimri, briefly practiced law before becoming a surveyor and civil engineer.
This plaster study for a larger bronze sculpture was made by the prominent Illinois sculptor, educator, and writer Lorado Taft. The full-scale bronze statue was erected in Urbana, Illinois, in 1926, where it still stands today. The sculpture was a commission made possible through a bequest of a family that had known Lincoln during his circuit lawyer days from 1837-1848.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1926, Carolyn moved to Carbondale, Illinois, in 1949 to teach art at the Allyn Training School at Southern Illinois University. After marrying George Plochmann in 1950, Carolyn became a full-time studio artist, spent her summers in Woodstock, New York, and was represented by the Kennedy Galleries in New York from 1970-2005.
This sculpture was a gift to the people of the State of Illinois from French vermouth producer Noilly-Prat. This was one of many gifts packed into vintage railway box cars known as the Merci Train, or French Gratitude Train, of 1949. The purpose of this gift was to acknowledge the more than $40 million in food and aid collected in 1947 by private citizens in the United States and sent to France and Italy after World War II.
Miyoko Ito was an important artist in Chicago, admired by her contemporaries for her distinctive approach to painting. Her delicate, quick brush strokes and remarkable color combinations give her paintings a lively pulse. Ito was born to Japanese immigrant parents in Berkeley, California. She developed artistically under the influence of a wide range of movements and revolutions in the arts: Cubism, Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism, and individual artists as diverse as Pablo Picasso, Hans Hoffman, and Paul Cezanne.