Exhibits

Exhibits

Image of IHLC's exhibit “Prepare for the Stormy Times Before Us”: Chicago’s Haymarket Affair

Drawing from a rich array of manuscript collections and print materials, Illinois History and Lincoln Collections organizes multiple exhibits each year. These exhibits highlight noteworthy people, places, stories, and events from our state’s past. We invite you to visit our current exhibit in IHLC’s reading room or to explore and learn more about our previous exhibits below.

Past Exhibits

After deinstalling exhibits in the IHLC’s reading room we create digital versions to share online. Below is a list with clickable links to pages for each corresponding digital exhibit. You may also preview the exhibits in the Preview Digital Exhibits section that follows.

Votes for Women, February-July 2019

World’s Fairs of the Midwest September 2018-February 2019

“I Shall Never Be Able to Forget What I Saw”: A Brief History of Illinois Disasters, June-September 2018

The Leveretts’ Alton: One Family’s Life in Alton, Illinois, February-May 2018

Home: Illinois Immigration Stories, October 2017-January 2018

“Prepare for the Stormy Times Before Us”: Chicago’s Haymarket Affair, August-October 2017

Preview Digital Exhibits:

February-July 2019 exhibit:
Votes for Women

Lady Liberty, wearing a cape labeled Facsimile of The New Woman and the Old Man stereoscopic card, 1892.Postcard, circa 1910s. Postcard, circa 1910s.
“The Awakening” by Henry Mayer, 1915
Facsimile of The New Woman and the Old Man stereoscopic card, 1892. Jean Thompson Woman’s Suffrage Movement Collection, 1871-2005 (MS 971), Part 1, Folio 7.
Postcard, circa 1910s. Baker-Busey-Dunlap Family Papers, 1866-1933 (MS 830), Box 5, Folder 14.
Postcard, circa 1910s. Baker-Busey-Dunlap Family Papers, 1866-1933 (MS 830), Box 5, Folder 14.

September 2018-February 2019 exhibit:
World’s Fairs of the Midwest

Print of a watercolor painting from the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893.Miniature guide to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, housed in a walnut shell, 1904.Case 1: The American-Hispano Pocket Guide of the World’s Fair 1893Ticket for Chicago Day at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, (Front)
Thure de Thulstrup, Watercolor painting of Midway Plaisance, circa 1893. Item 11. World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago. Watercolors, 1892-1893. Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, uncatalogued.
Case 1: Miniature guide to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, housed in a walnut shell, 1904. St. Louis Exposition in a Nutshell. L. I. Silverman, 1904. In the Blair, Leverett, and Stifler Family Papers, 1805-2006 (MS 973). Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.
Case 1: Guidebook for the World’s Columbian Exposition written in English and Spanish, 1893. The American-Hispano Pocket Guide of the World’s Fair 1893. Guia de Bolsillo Hispano-Americana para la Esposicion Colombina. New York: Haurie-Emes, 1893. Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, call number 606.1 C43Pam.
Case 2: Front side of World’s Columbian Exposition ticket for use on “Chicago Day, Oct. 9th, 1893.” Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, uncatalogued.

June-September 2018 exhibit:
“I Shall Never Be Able to Forget What I Saw”: A Brief History of Illinois Disasters

Aerial image of buildings damaged in the Tri-State Tornado, 1925.Photograph of the SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River, July 24, 1915.Photograph of bodies being identified after Cherry Mine Disaster, 1909Illustration of the burning of Crosby’s Opera House, 1871.
From the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 to the Tri-State Tornado that hit the state in 1925, Illinois history contains many stories of disaster and tragedy.
Explore our exhibit on Illinois disasters to learn about the company picnic outing that became the third deadliest peacetime maritime catastrophe…
…the deadly coal mine catastrophe that drew national attention to issues of mine safety and child labor…
…and more about deadly conflicts, outbreaks, accidents, and natural disasters that mark Illinois’s past. Click on the image above to enter our exhibit, “‘I Shall Never Be Able to Forget What I Saw’: A Brief History of Illinois Disasters.”

February-May 2018 exhibit:
The Leveretts’ Alton: One Family’s Life in Alton, Illinois

Two photographs of the Leverett family, circa 1850s.Note from Warren Leverett regarding his Shurtleff College salary, 1864.Selected interior pages from Sarah B. Leverett’s school notebook, 1857-1858.First page of Washington Leverett’s sermon on Acts 8: 5-8, 1867.
In the late 1830s, Mary Ann and Warren Leverett moved from New England to Alton, Illinois. As their family grew to include four children, significant events unfolded all around them in Alton, from the town’s economic growth to its integral involvement in the Civil War.
The Leveretts made a significant impact on their community in Alton. Warren Leverett worked as a professor at Shurtleff College, and Mary Ann served as the Treasurer for the Ladies’ Union Aid Society of Upper Alton, which supported Union soldiers during the Civil War.
In addition to including materials related to several key historic moments in nineteenth-century Alton, the Blair, Leverett, and Stifler Family Papers also includes materials like the diary above that offer an intimate glimpse into the Leverett family’s everyday life in Alton.
Click on the image above to enter our exhibit, “The Leveretts’ Alton: One Family’s Life in Alton, Illinois,” and learn more.

October 2017-January 2018 exhibit:
Home: Illinois Immigration Stories

Photograph of James and Laura Steven and their nine children.Photograph showing inner pages of Joseph Gutmann's traveling book.Photograph of the Alayu family in the Philippines, circa 1900.Image of a letter from Pedro Alayu in Chicago to his father in the Philippines.
Together, James Steven, Jr., and Laura Gutmann Steven, who wed in 1864, had nine children, pictured with their parents above. James’s and Laura’s families had emigrated to Illinois from Scotland and Prussia, respectively, a decade before they met and married.
This “wanderbuch,” or traveling book, which belonged to Laura’s father Joseph Gutmann, is one of many items in the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections that allows us to trace the story of how the Gutmann and Steven families came together in Illinois.
The Alayu Family Papers also contain a rich assortment of documents, letters, photographs, and ephemera that give us insight into the Alayu family’s experiences in Illinois starting in the 1920s.
While the Gutmann, Steven, and Alayu families all made a home for themselves in Illinois, each family preserved close connections with friends and family abroad. Click the image above to enter our exhibit “Home: Illinois Immigration Stories” and follow these families’ experiences journeying to and settling in Illinois.

August-October 2017 exhibit:
“Prepare for the Stormy Times Before Us”: Chicago’s Haymarket Affair

Illustration of the rally, and approaching police, in Haymarket Square the evening of May 4, 1886.Illustration of the scene in Haymarket Square as the bomb exploded.Illustration of a mostly empty Haymarket Square after the events of May 4th.Newspaper clippings collected about the Haymarket Affair trial, 1886.
On Tuesday, May 4, 1886, at 7:30 PM, around 1,500 workers gathered in Chicago’s Haymarket Square to peacefully protest police actions at a workers’ strike the day before.
Just as the crowd began to disperse on that rainy spring evening, someone detonated a bomb, and what began as a peaceful protest turned violent. Fighting and gunfire broke out between police officers and civilians, resulting in several deaths and many injuries.
Who threw the bomb that sparked the conflict? Who fired shots first: civilians or the police? While the chaos that ensued after the bomb exploded made answering these questions difficult, conflicting theories and accusations would surface following the tragedy.
Click the image above to enter our exhibit “‘Prepare for the Stormy Times Before Us’: Chicago’s Haymarket Affair” and explore the debates surrounding that fateful day in May.