Category Archives: Arts and letters

‘Husband, dear husband’: poem by a legislative wife (pre-1881)

The nameless, uncredited poem below was printed in the 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, printed by the Interstate Publishing Co. of Chicago. Here is all the History tells us about it: As is well known, the session of the … Continue reading

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Patrick Henry statue, St. Joseph School

The mystery of what happened to St. Joseph School’s statue of Patrick Henry may never be solved. But the question of how a life-sized marble sculpture of a Protestant patriot happened to stand above the entrance of a Catholic school … Continue reading

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Carl Rinnus, popular sculpture

Carl Rinnus (1912-93) is best known as the sculptor/fabricator of the giant fiberglass statue of Abraham Lincoln that stands just inside the Main Gate at the Illinois State Fair. He also created another locally famous piece of Springfield sculpture, the … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Department stores, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Charles Darwin letters, Illinois State Register (1914)

More than 50 years after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, the Illinois State Register devoted seven full pages over the summer of 1914 to the continued controversy over Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The result was a verbose … Continue reading

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Old Capitol Art Fair beginnings

Springfield’s first Old Capitol Art Fair was a one-day affair in 1962 that featured 174 artists from around the Midwest. The event, held Saturday, May 26, 1962 (see note below), was one of the earliest events created by the Springfield … Continue reading

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Nellie Revell, publicist, author & celebrity

As a young vaudevillian, the story goes, Nellie Revell punched out George M. Cohan. Decades later, Cohan hosted a Friars Club benefit for Revell – a first for a woman. He also was among hundreds of celebrities who lined up … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Journalism, Media, Women | 6 Comments

Illinois State Informer (newspaper)

The Illinois State Informer was a weekly newspaper founded by Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew, a nationally prominent black physician, in the mid-1930s in Springfield. Kenniebrew (1875-1943), a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and close friend of Tuskegee founder Booker T. Washington, had moved to … Continue reading

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North Side State Bank collapse, 1927

The North Side State Bank operated from 1920 to 1927, when state auditors ordered it closed in the wake of a complicated financial scandal involving two banks, three insurance companies, and a former Springfield resident who may have absconded with … Continue reading

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Springfield Muni Opera

The Springfield Muni Opera’s earliest ancestor was a play named “Good News,” performed by the Springfield Municipal Choir at Lanphier Park on July 28, 1938. But today’s outdoor community musical theater more accurately dates from a presentation of “Bye Bye … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life | 5 Comments

Illinois State Fair, 1915

Rain washed out car races and some other activities scheduled for opening day of the 1915 Illinois State Fair, but the fair’s big controversy focused on a different, and unlikely, topic: china painting. The fair was held in September during … Continue reading

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