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A Bicentennial Commemorative of the Prairie State

Readings from the "Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society"

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Edited by David W. Scott, with a foreword by Leah Joy Axelrod


432 pages, 6 x 9, 18 illustrations


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About the Book

Culled from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society’s 110-year archive of scholarship, this curated volume of more than thirty articles offers insights into the colorful episodes, meaningful events, and significant characters in the rich history of Illinois. Edited by David W. Scott and selected by committee, A Bicentennial Commemorative of the Prairie State celebrates the state’s two-hundred-year history with a broad scope of voices and perspectives.
The Illinois State Historical Society has published books since its inception and its Journal continuously since 1908. In collecting previously published articles here with attention to both scholarship and readability, this book offers a varied and nuanced look at the state’s history. It brings to light many buried treasures still relevant today.
Organized chronologically, with a short summary introducing each article, this compendium of Illinois lore covers the early 1800s to the modern era. Localities covered range from Chicago to Cairo and from Quincy to Urbana. Topics range from the Underground Railroad to the Lincoln story, from the Columbian Exposition to the Women’s Suffrage amendment; and from education reformers to civil rights activists in Chicago. Also among the pages of the book are Civil War soldiers, politicians, entrepreneurs, musicians, clergymen, civic leaders, farmers, and union members. Major themes include achievements and breakthroughs, setbacks and tragedies, conflict and cooperation, and cases of the shameful and heroic.
Scott includes an overview of the Illinois State Historical Society’s contributions to preserving Illinois history through publications and other activities as well as its expansions and reorganizations over the years. To enhance its helpfulness for students, researchers, and educators, the book includes suggestions for further reading and provides the opportunity to access the articles, complete with notes, online.
In commemorating the Prairie State’s two hundred years in one volume, this collection will guide readers to explore the state’s past as they anticipate its future.


David W. Scott, is chairman of the publications committee of the Board of the Illinois State Historical Society, which annually identifies the best article published in the Journal, and a past president of the organization. His work has appeared in several historical journals, including Illinois Heritage and the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.