Category Archives: Journalism

Poisoning and racial controversy, 1860

The sentencing of three African-American teenagers in 1860 on charges they tried to poison the employers of two of them highlighted differences in how courts and the newspapers treated blacks and whites at the time. Perhaps inevitably, the case also … Continue reading

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Tramping in Springfield, 1882

On March 12, 1882, “a rather dull day for the gatherer of items,” an anonymous Illinois State Journal reporter visited the Sangamon County Jail seeking news. He was directed to “an old thoroughbred tramp being entertained at present in our … Continue reading

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Late-night Springfield, 1935

J. Emil Smith wrote a daily column, “Making Conversation,” for more than 28 years, starting when he became editor of the Illinois State Journal in 1930. Much of the column was made up of briefs, jokes, poems and birthday notices for friends … 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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First radio weather report (Illiopolis, 1915)

What apparently was the first weather report ever transmitted by radio was a test sent from an experimental station based in Illiopolis sometime in April 1915. Although the Illiopolis transmitter, operating on call letters 9ZK, reached most of Illinois, the … Continue reading

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Victory Loan Flying Circus, 1919

The Victory Loan Flying Circus, a barnstorming group of World War I pilots using WWI combat aircraft, put on a show for thousands of central Illinoisans in front of the Illinois State Fairgrounds Grandstand on April 15, 1919. An unbilled … Continue reading

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National Lincoln Monument Association directors, 1865

The National Lincoln Monument Association, officially organized on May 11, 1865, oversaw fundraising for and construction of Abraham Lincoln’s tomb. Although members originally planned to build the structure on land that now is the site of the Illinois Statehouse, the … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Illinois capital, John T. Stuart, Journalism, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

William Washington (African-American history interviews)

Born in Springfield, William Washington graduated from Lanphier High School and Springfield Junior College.  He held various jobs until he started the Springfield’s Voice newspaper in 1972.  In an interview for the Springfield African-American History Foundation series, Washington talked about … Continue reading

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Gambling and the Sangamon County underworld,1948

The 1948 slaying of a dice game “stickman” helped expose a Sangamon County underworld that featured wide-open gambling and, allegedly, systematic bribery of state, county and city officials. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time had a team of reporters … Continue reading

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