Business Postal Cards from the C.F. Hall Collection

Postal Card addressed to C.F. Hall & Co., Richmond Ill. As the U.S. began to rebuild after the Civil War, the county experienced growth and a significant development in industry.  From large factories to aspiring producers, there was an increase in production, and new goods and services were available to an expanding population at lower costs. To draw in new waves of consumers, all types of businesses and manufacturers sought out new modes of advertisement.

One of these methods was with business postal cards or trade cards, which were small pasteboard cards with the company’s name, address, and information.  Some of these incorporated colors or an image to better catch buyers’ eyes.… Read More

Curating the Land of Lincoln – An Interview with Austin Justice

This month the IHLC opened Here I Have Lived: Recreating the Land of Lincoln, an exhibit that explores the histories of two historic Lincoln sites: Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site and Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Read about senior undergraduate student Austin Justice’s experience and insights researching and curating this exhibit.

How did the idea for this exhibit come about?

As a native of southeastern Kentucky, I often get the question “how did you end up here?” Part of my answer is that my interest in history growing up spurred several family visits to sites around Central Illinois like New Salem, the Mt.… Read More

Oak Ridge Cemetery

The first official cemetery established for Springfield residents was the City Graveyard, four acres of land donated by Elijah Iles in the 1820s. Around 1830 John Hutchinson laid out a tract of six more acres adjoining the City Graveyard to the west. For many years, Hutchinson’s Cemetery was the primary burial ground for Springfield, located five blocks west of the State Capitol.

In June 1855, Charles H. Lanphier, a member of the Springfield City Council, advocated for the purchase of seventeen additional acres of land north of Springfield to establish a new municipal cemetery outside of the city. The city’s growth, sanitation issues, noise pollution, and need for more burial space all contributed to this demand.… Read More

The Great Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire of 1871, commonly referred to as the Great Chicago Fire, caused immense devastation over the course of two days. The fire started on the night of October 8, and by the time the blaze had dispersed on the morning of October 10, huge portions of the city had burned down. The fire destroyed thousands of buildings, left nearly 100,000 people homeless, and caused about $200 million in damage.

In 1871 Chicago was a thriving city as railroads developed and canals opened to connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River. After the Civil War Chicago had grown into a transportation hub and the population and industry expanded.… Read More