Category Archives: Women

‘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

Posted in Arts and letters, Histories, Illinois capital, State government, Women | Leave a comment

Ridgely Elementary School, 1914-1926 (Marguerite Soma memories)

In 1997, students at Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 N. Eighth St., interviewed former Ridgely teacher Marguerite Beechler Soma (1894-1997). Her reminiscences were compiled and published on the school’s Alumni Day web site (in fact, the site was dedicated to her). … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Histories, Schools and school districts, Women | 2 Comments

World War I memorial, First Street and North Grand Avenue

Sangamon County’s memorial to those who died in World War I sits, mysteriously, on a tiny lot at the southeast corner of First Street and North Grand Avenue. In a mish-mash of uncoordinated commemorations, however,  the corner as of October … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln Tomb, Markers, Military, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

‘Napkin social,’ First Methodist Church (1895)

The napkin above, printed in 1895, is a rare relic of a fundraising technique that was popular among women’s church groups in the late 19th century – “napkin socials.” The idea was that members of a group – in this … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Churches, Women | 1 Comment

Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

Brainerd Hill (West Lawrence Avenue)

Brainerd Hill, now Springfield’s favorite sledding spot, once was the ultimate challenge for the city’s competitive bicycle community. Springfield “wheelmen” organized the Capital City Cycling Club in the fall of 1887 to sponsor a variety of bicycling events, foster competition … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Transportation, Women | 3 Comments

Mother’s Day begins, 1910

A proclamation by Gov. Charles Deneen in 1910 made Illinois one of the first eight states to officially designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. The idea had been first promoted by a Philadelphia woman, Anna Jarvis, in … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Family life, Women | Leave a comment

Women’s vote history, Sangamon County

Following the Civil War, Illinoisans decided their state constitution needed updating. Delegates met in Springfield from December 1869 until May 1870, and one of the issues they debated was whether to allow universal suffrage. The 15th amendment to the U.S. … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Schools and school districts, Springfield, Women | Leave a comment

Annie Rheem Hannon (first woman elected to public office)

The first woman to hold an elective office in Sangamon County was Annie Rheem Hannon (1857-1945), who served from 1892 to 1894 as county superintendent of schools – a position for which neither she, nor any other woman, could cast … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

Women’s bathing suit controversy, 1916

Springfield women’s rights activist Harriett Reid made fun of the Springfield Park Board’s 1916 directive that women’s swimsuits at the new Bunn Park Beach include skirts. The park board had voted 5-1 to impose the restriction, which was sponsored by … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Local government, Parks, Women | Leave a comment