502 South Spring Springfield, IL
Glass artists Frances and Michael Higgins met at the Chicago Institute for Design and married in 1948. Together, they founded The Higgins Studio in their Chicago apartment, using kilns positioned behind their sofa to create decorative and everyday items using their signature fused glass technique. They quickly attracted orders from major retailers such as Marshall Field’s and Georg Jensen.
This bodice was worn by Mary Lincoln approximately a decade after the death of her husband. Abraham Lincoln’s assassination had plunged Mary into a deep grief from which she never truly recovered, particularly after the additional blow of losing her youngest son, Tad, in 1871. The woman who once delighted in fine, fashionable gowns wore only somber black mourning ensembles for the rest of her life.
Illinois’ tradition of art pottery can be traced back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In the wake of this tragedy, the need for economical, fireproof building materials was made clear, and the architectural terra cotta industry was born. At the same time, the Arts and Crafts movement inspired ceramists to combine artistry with industry to create pottery whose beauty lay not in hand-applied surface decoration but in innovative shapes.
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.
This sample case was carried by a representative of one of the many late 19th and early 20th century commercial portrait companies that created large crayon portraits from customers’ photographs. Armed with this case, the salesmen traveled (usually by train) across the country, knocking on doors, displaying his products, and deflecting objections in an effort to secure orders.
Estanislao Goff purchased this blouse on a trip to Mexico in the late 1940s. That trip was the last time she would ever see her homeland, and the blouse was a reminder of the country and culture she had left behind decades earlier.
First Lieutenant Irwin Davenport bought this nightgown for his young bride, Beatrice, in Paris at the end of World War II. Beatrice and Irwin were college sweethearts who had married on June 15, 1943.
In 1818, the year Illinois achieved statehood, this table runner was brought to Illinois from Virginia. It is woven with scenes from the Bible, including the Last Supper.
Charity Hedge Lingenfelter created this quilt in 1889 to raise money for the Women’s Relief Corps, an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic. Proceeds from the sponsorship and sale of this quilt would go to help Union veterans of the Civil War, as well as their widows and orphans. Charity had a personal interest in the plight of Civil War veterans, as her husband, Aaron, had lost a finger while serving in the 55th Illinois Infantry.
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.