Throughout the state’s history, families and individuals from across the world have immigrated to the United States and chosen to make Illinois their home.
Three families whose histories are documented in the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections are the Gutmann, Steven, and Alayu families. The Gutmann and Steven families emigrated from Europe in the mid-1800s and the Alayu family emigrated from the Philippines in the early 1900s.
Archival documents from these collections show how these families sought the opportunity to create a new home in Illinois while remaining connected with family and friends overseas.
The Gutmann-Steven Family Papers
Case 1, Item 1: Gutmann family notebook written in German and English, circa 1840s-1860s. Gutmann-Steven Family Papers, Box 1, Joseph Gutmann Series, Family Notebook.
Members of both the Gutmann and Steven families emigrated from Europe to the U.S. in the 1850s. Joseph and Henriette Gutmann, along with their two young children, emigrated from Gortliz, Prussia, to the United States in 1850, first settling in Connecticut. They moved to Sadorus, Illinois, seven years later.
Case 1, Item 2: Joseph Gutmann’s traveling notebook, circa 1840-1868. Gutmann-Steven Family Papers, Box 1, Joseph Gutmann Series, Notebooks.
Joseph, who worked as a craftsman and farmer in Prussia, continued to farm in Champaign County. Together Joseph and Henriette had five more children. Their oldest daughter, Laura, would later marry into the Steven family.
Case 1, Item 3: William Steven’s U.S. Naturalization Certificate issued in Cook County, Illinois, 1860. Gutmann-Steven Family Papers, Box 2, William Steven Series, Legal Papers.
The Steven family emigrated from Arbroath, Scotland, in 1854. James Steven Sr., a blacksmith and farmer, and his wife Christine, along with two of their adult sons, William and James Jr., first arrived in Chicago. A year later, they purchased farmland near Ivesdale, Illinois. Laura Gutmann and James Steven Jr. met and married a decade later.
Case 1, Item 4: Photograph of James and Laura (Gutmann) Steven with their nine children, circa 1890s. Gutmann-Steven Family Papers, Box 2, Gutmann-Steven Series, Family Photograph.
They bought a home in Ivesdale where they farmed and raised nine children. Even as their family grew, both Laura and James maintained correspondence with relatives and friends abroad.
Case 1, Item 5: Letter and envelope sent from Mrs. Ida Latter, a friend in Germany, to Laura (Gutmann) Steven in Ivesdale, Illinois, November 29, 1893. Gutmann-Steven Family Papers, Box 1, Laura Gutmann Series, Letters from Other Correspondents.
The Alayu Family Papers
Case 2, Item 1: Alayu family photo in the Philippines, circa 1900. Alayu Family Papers, Box 2, Alayu Family Series, Photographs Folder 1 of 2.
The Alayu family emigrated from Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines and made a new home for themselves in Chicago, Illinois. In 1919, Francisco Alayu left his home and new wife, Melchora, in the Philippines to finish high school in the U.S.
Case 2, Item 2: Letter sent from Pedro Alayu in Chicago, Illinois, to his father, Joaquin Alayu, in the Philippines, January 11, 1925. Alayu Family Papers, Box 1, Joaquin Alayu Series, General Correspondence.
Case 2, Item 3: Photos of the Alayu family building a snowman, playing, and eating ice cream in Washington Park, Chicago, circa 1930. Alayu Family Papers, Box 2, Alayu Family Series, Photographs Folder 2 of 2.
Five years later, Melchora, along with Francisco’s brother Pedro, joined Francisco in Illinois. The Alayu family settled in Chicago’s Hyde Park and became active members of the city’s Filipino-American community. They remained connected with their family in the Philippines through frequent correspondence.
Case 2, Item 4: Letter and envelope sent from family in the Philippines to Francisco and Melchora in Chicago, July 22, 1947. Alayu Family Papers, Box 1, Francisco Alayu Series, General Correspondence.
Francisco and Melchora had three daughters, Juana Teresa, Ethel, and Frances. All three kept close ties with their family in the Philippines as well as Chicago’s Filipino-American community throughout their lives. Francisco, Melchora, and Pedro became U.S. citizens after WWII, when Congress passed legislation allowing Filipinos in the U.S. to naturalize. In later years, after Francisco’s retirement, he and Melchora were able to visit the Philippines and reconnect with loved ones.
Case 2, Item 5: Group photo taken at the Inaugural Dance of the Philippine Women’s Club of Chicago, November 21, 1937. Alayu Family Papers, Box 2, Organizations Series, Filipina Women’s Club.