Joseph Smith: The Murder of the Mormon Prophet and Subsequent Trial

Throughout the month of October, our focus is on crime in Illinois history. Follow along here and on our social media to learn more about the crimes, cases, and trials that have left their mark on Illinois. 

In 1839, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led the Mormons to Illinois after their expulsion from Missouri. As Smith and his followers established a settlement at Nauvoo, many Illinoisans feared that the group’s religious authority had extended too far into politics. The huge wave of immigration to Nauvoo had created a massive voting bloc with the power to turn the tide of elections.… Read More

Illinois Education in the 1850s: The School Notebooks of Sarah Leverett and Teresa Dalbey

"The Scholar's Miscellany," Sarah E. A. Brown School Notebook, 1857-1858

When a schoolgirl works through math problems and writes and sketches in her school notebook, little does she imagine it will someday adorn the shelves of a major research library. And yet, such was the fate of the school notebooks of Teresa Dalbey of Morgan County and Sarah E. A. Brown Leverett of Alton, Illinois, both of whom were young adolescents living and learning in Illinois in the 1850s. This month, as we celebrate education in Illinois in honor of the state’s bicentennial, Teresa’s and Sarah’s school notebooks allow us to gain insights into nineteenth-century schooling, as well as the thoughts, activities, and experiences of two young girls growing up in 1850s Illinois.… Read More

Jonathan Baldwin Turner: Reformer and Visionary

Throughout the month of September, our focus is on education and educators in Illinois history. Follow along here and on our social media to learn more about the people and institutions that have shaped how Illinois learns.

On November 18, 1851, Jonathan Baldwin Turner stood before a convention of farmers in Granville, Illinois and delivered an address that would play a part in changing the direction of American education. A 46-year-old minister, professor, and horticulturalist who had lived for twenty years in Jacksonville, Illinois, Turner believed that every state needed to institute industrial universities – universities dedicated to instruction in agricultural and industrial arts.… Read More

The Alayu Family: Immigrants Helping Immigrants

Throughout the month of August, we are focusing our attention on immigration and the role immigrants have played in making Illinois what it is today. Follow along here on our blog and on our social media to learn about famous immigrants and immigrant experiences.

The Alayu Family Papers are a collection of personal papers that document the lives of an immigrant Filipino family in Chicago during the twentieth century. Francisco P. Alayu came to the United States as a student in 1919, at first settling in Sunnyside, Washington to attend high school. After he graduated in May of 1920, he moved to Illinois, briefly attending the University of Illinois in Urbana, though did not graduate. … Read More