Local History and Genealogy Blog

Behind the Scenes: Collection Management, part 3

Follow along with Mary Pedraza, Archives Apprentice, as she tackles rearranging the special collections storage space at the Library Annex.

April was the last month of my apprenticeship with the Champaign County Historical Archives. And it was a month of wrapping up projects. My biggest contribution was finally moving the most extensive collection in our holdings onto a new set of shelves where it better fits.

Most of our collections are held in half-size or full-size Hollinger boxes. Imagine the traditional banker's box you see depicted in movies whenever someone gets fired. The box they fill with their desk belongings. These are the boxes that archives typically use for holding their material, acid-free, archival quality versions, of course. Our storage shelves are mainly designed to fit these sizes of boxes, height-wise.

Half and full-size Hollinger records storage boxes  Photograph Envelope Boxes

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Behind the Scenes: Collection Management, part 2

Follow along with Mary Pedraza, Archives Apprentice, as she tackles rearranging the special collections storage space at the Library Annex. 

Mary Pedraza, Archives Apprentice, in the Library Annex stacksLast month, I gave a preview of the project I planned for my independent study at the Champaign County Historical Archives. I am seeking to position my work with the collections storage plans among standards within the archives field, and even in our community. Two months have passed and let’s see what I have done. Read more about Behind the Scenes: Collection Management, part 2

Small Town Histories

Do you want to learn more about the history of the towns in Champaign County or elsewhere?

Town histories

Numerous histories have been written for town centennial celebrations, the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial, or just because someone wanted to share information on the history of their town. Read more about Small Town Histories

The Chanute Base Histories Collection

To welcome a brand new finding aid, I have been tasked to tell you about the Base Histories collection in the Chanute Archives. The Base Histories collection is a twenty-four box collection detailing the yearly administrative history of Chanute Air Force Base, looking at the base's history, the courses students took, food served in the cafeteria, and personnel, etc. Basically, anything that you would want to learn about the administration of the base is in this collection! These histories were compiled by base historians and cover everything from the mess hall to nuclear training. They are arranged into chronological books and often span many volumes per year. The Base Histories collection covers the entirety of the Chanute Air Force Base (1917-1993), with the bulk of the histories falling from 1944-1993.

Read more about The Chanute Base Histories Collection

C-U's Historic Buildings and the Preservation and Conservation Association

Historic buildings contain a rich array of information about the past. And just like manuscripts, photographs, or books, these structures must be preserved. Otherwise, the stories they tell about those who lived or worked inside could be lost. In Champaign County, the important work of protecting the historic built environment is undertaken by the Preservation and Conservation Association, also known as PACA.

Greek revival cottage in Leal Park

The Greek Revival Cottage

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Old Advertisements: Food Edition

The newspaper has always been a great place to put advertisements. Especially if the advertisements pertain to vital products, like food. Check out this collection of food ads from the papers of the past.

Here is an ad for a product that can still be found in stores today. Found in the July 3, 1920 News-Gazette, it’s everybody’s favorite: the super healthy Grape-Nuts!

Grape nuts ad

 

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Air Power or Airpower? Chanute Air Force Base and the USAF Editorial Style Guide

The Chanute Air Force Base Subject Files: Historiography Collection was created by the History Office at  Chanute Air Force Base. This collection documents the historiography (the study of history) done by base historians. Among the correspondence files, ephemera, and newsletters, the Historiography Collection also has a few examples of United States Air Force (USAF) historiography!

The Air Force published different works, which now live in the Historiography Collection. While there are lots of interesting facts and finds in this collection, I wanted to briefly highlight the official publications of the USAF. These publications dive into what it takes to run an Air Force Base, from details about activities, base closure, and my personal favorite, how to properly format official Air Force publications. These are fun finds because they provide good information for the Air Force’s operations as a whole and some of the more “nit-picky” information that editors would love. Read more about Air Power or Airpower? Chanute Air Force Base and the USAF Editorial Style Guide

From Tragedy to Attraction: Local Reactions to the Sinking of the Titanic

On the night of April 14, 1912, eighteen-year-old Englishman Edward “Ed” Arthur Dorkings was enjoying a game of cards with some friends in the third-class passenger general room of the RMS Titanic.  The Olympic-Class ocean liner was at sea four days at this point after leaving the port at Southampton, England on April 10th.  At approximately 11:40pm, Dorkings and his fellow card players were thrown from their benches and heard a loud grinding noise that reverberated through the entire ship.  Dorkings went to the deck to discover that the Titanic hit an iceberg that damaged the port-side of the vessel.  Despite the damage from the massive iceberg, there was no sign of panic, so Dorkings returned to his card game. 

RMS Titanic

The RMS Titanic

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Historic Maple Grove

When many people hear the words “maple syrup making,” they probably think of the northeast United States or Canada. They may remember school textbooks showing snow-covered ground and wooden buckets hanging from tapped trees collecting the maple sap. There were also large metal pans over burning fires with steam rising over the top as the water was evaporated from the sap to produce the syrup. They may also remember the nostalgic paintings of Grandma Moses, showing scenes of the “Sugar Camp.” Scenes of horse-drawn sleds, people carrying buckets, large kettles hanging over log fires, and lots of busy people. Few people probably think of Champaign County as a maple syrup producer, but in the mid-to-late 1800s and early 1900s, those same scenes occurred on family farms and maple groves in the county. Most of the maple syrup was for family use, but the remnants of one grove used for commercial production remain within the Salt Fork Forest Preserve, aka Homer Lake Forest Preserve.

Maple sugar grove historic entry

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