Category Archives: Arts and letters

Virginia Eifert

Virginia Eifert (1911-66) was a self-taught naturalist, artist and newspaper columnist and the founding editor of The Living Museum, published by the Illinois State Museum, which she oversaw from 1939 until her death in 1966. She also was the author … Continue reading

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Duncan McDonald

Duncan McDonald (1873-1965), while not as well-known as John L. Lewis, was almost certainly more principled as both a United Mine Workers leader and a politician. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Chronicling Illinois collection characterizes McDonald’s labor career this way: … Continue reading

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Illinois State Museum

The Illinois State Museum began, unlikely as it seems, in New Harmony, Ind. Former museum director R. Bruce McMillan described the quandary that faced Illinois’ first state geologist in his article on the museum’s centennial , “The First Century,” published … Continue reading

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Women’s literary clubs

The literary club movement began early in the 19th century as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The first recorded occurrence was a lecture series started in Milbury, Mass., in 1826. By 1834, 3,000 groups had been organized to listen … Continue reading

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John Carroll Power (historian, Lincoln tomb custodian)

John Carroll Power (1819-94), was a historian as well as first custodian of the Lincoln Tomb. Born in Kentucky in 1819, Power “was brought up a farmer, but in later life, contrary to his early anticipations, became an author,” according … Continue reading

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The Mansion, Riverton

The Mansion was a nightclub and music venue on the grounds of Wheeland Haven, the former estate of Olive Black Wheeland east of Riverton. It was destroyed by fire in 1992. For more information, see entry on Wheeland Haven.

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Seth Barnes Nicholson (astronomer)

Seth Barnes Nicholson (1891-1963), an astronomer best known for discovering four of the satellites of Jupiter, was born in Springfield, although his family left the city when Seth was seven years old. Nicholson’s father, William, was principal of the old … Continue reading

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A.J. Liebling on Lincoln’s presence in Springfield (1950)

A.J. Liebling (1904-63), noted essayist and press critic for The New Yorker magazine, visited Springfield in 1950 for the first article in a New Yorker series on the Lincoln tradition. Among those Liebling interviewed were George “Gib” Bunn Jr., Gertrude … Continue reading

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum controversies

Design and construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum took years and involved a variety of political squabbles and maneuvering. If politics could have been put aside, the facility would have been completed much sooner. Of course, since … Continue reading

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Springfield Ceramics and Crafts Club

The Springfield Ceramics and Crafts Club was founded on May 21, 1924, as the Springfield Ceramics Club. The charter membership was made up of 12 women, and the first president was Mrs. Lewis Minor, who had inspired the startup at … Continue reading

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