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Local History and Genealogy Blog

19th Century Seance in Urbana

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, spiritualism, the belief that the dead could communicate with the living, especially through a medium, gained popularity and renown. It was a movement that garnered ardent enthusiasm from its followers, including author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and psychologist William James, among others; and was lambasted by its detractors, such as novelist Mark Twain and magician Harry Houdini.

Internet Archive Book Image of the Davenport Bros. Trumpet Seance

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New Exhibit: "Window to the Past: The Everett C. Block Collection"

The Everett C. Block Collection, donated to the Champaign County Historical Archives in 2014, contains 254 glass plate negatives that document the families, houses, and farms of southeast Champaign County circa 1900-1905. Everett Block was not the original photographer of these glass plate negatives; however, he was the person who had the foresight to save, research, and share these pieces of history with others.

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