Local History and Genealogy Blog

From the Mailbox: How did Race Street Get its Name? (Otherwise known as a Day in an Archivist's Life)

200 Block of Race Street, September 27, 1944So, what do archivists do? Here at the CCHA, we have a clever meme in our office that explains how the different people in our lives imagine our occupation. It suggests our friends believe we are surrounded by a mess of old books in stuffy stacks, that our family sees us as old curmudgeons browsing through dusty tomes, and that society sees us as genealogical wizards. While some of these characteristics are true to some extent, what we actually do is more nuanced, varied, and interesting. Read more about From the Mailbox: How did Race Street Get its Name? (Otherwise known as a Day in an Archivist's Life)

Update! Digitally Accessible Chanute Collection Finding Aids

The interns that worked on the Chanute Collection over the course of 2019-2020 are happy to present digitally accessible finding aids for the collections that have been processed since the collection was obtained in 2016. These collections will be accessible to the public. If you are interested in viewing these materials, please contact the archives staff at least 48 hours ahead of time. You can digitally access the finding aids here: Chanute Collection Finding Aids. Read more about Update! Digitally Accessible Chanute Collection Finding Aids

Chanute Spotlight: Octave Chanute, “The God-father of Aviation”

Octave Chanute Portrait, stylized with a glider plane and a jet plane

We have talked about the many different men and women who have passed through Chanute Air Force Base and all of the great things they have accomplished. However, the man whose name the base carries is not as widely known. A renowned engineer, who would spend his later years working with notable figures like the Wright brothers, Octave Chanute's early work helped lay the foundation for human flight and the technical training that would later be achieved at Chanute Air Force Base.  Read more about Chanute Spotlight: Octave Chanute, “The God-father of Aviation”

Greetings from Chanute!: Maharishi Yogi’s Attempt to Buy Chanute Air Force Base

The Beatles with Maharishi Yogi in India, 1967

In 1967, the British pop sensation known as The Beatles were on top of the world. They were one of the most popular and successful bands in the history of music and released critically and publicly acclaimed albums that reflected their changing style and attitudes. One of the biggest influences on the group was their trip to India in 1968 to meet with the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The group met Maharishi Yogi in 1967 during a TM seminar in Wales. This meeting was cut short due to the untimely death of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Throughout the remainder of 1967, group members George Harrison and John Lennon promoted TM and the teachings of Maharishi Yogi. Hoping to find spiritual guidance, The Beatles traveled to Rishikesh, India in early 1968, with Harrison and Lennon arriving first with their families, followed by other members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The visit ended in controversy, with The Beatles denouncing Maharishi Yogi and his teachings. Some ultimately blamed this visit on the eventual breakup of the band, but it was also one of the most productive songwriting periods in their career, with the band writing nearly every track for the infamous White Album. Read more about Greetings from Chanute!: Maharishi Yogi’s Attempt to Buy Chanute Air Force Base

The Illinois Blue Books

Illinois Blue Books in Archives stacks, 1941-1958

The Illinois Blue Book, which was first published by the Secretary of State’s office in 1900, although it has predecessors that go back to 1861, is a vital reference source for state government. The modern Illinois Blue Book contains reports and information on state government, state agencies, universities, and local municipalities, while the Blue Books in the past often included original articles about Illinois government, politics, and history. Read more about The Illinois Blue Books