Local History and Genealogy Blog

21-Cent International Airmail Stamps Featuring Octave Chanute & His Biplane Hang Glider

In 1896, Octave Chanute, namesake of Chanute Air Force Base, designed his famous biplane hang glider. This design became the standard for future gliders. To show appreciation for his influence on aeronautics, two 21-cent international airmail stamps were released depicting Octave Chanute and his biplane hang glider. These stamps were first sold on March 29, 1979 in Chanute, Kansas. Chanute served as the first day city (where a new stamp is first sold). The release of the stamps was accompanied by a ceremony in the city of Chanute. Read more about 21-Cent International Airmail Stamps Featuring Octave Chanute & His Biplane Hang Glider

Early Criminal Cases in Urbana

When Americans reached the western frontier in the early 19th century and founded towns, they brought family, friends, culture, and new customs. Schools were built, churches erected, streets laid, and government buildings constructed to create an infrastructure akin to their former homes in the eastern U.S. As towns went up, populations grew, and laws were implemented to maintain perceived societal norms. Breaking those laws meant you had to answer to local law enforcement. Read more about Early Criminal Cases in Urbana

Champaign 2060

In 2010, the City of Champaign celebrated its 150th birthday. One of the ways they chose to mark this special occasion was to have local residents, mainly youth, write letters for residents 50 years into the future. These letters, addressed to those who will reside in Champaign in 2060, tell us a lot about what life was like in Champaign in 2010. The letters include city traditions, best places to go, memories, and hopes and dreams for the future. What they all share is the spirit of those who live in Champaign. Featured here are a couple of the letters from the book. One of the letters is from a student, and the other is from former mayor, Dan McCollum, who served as mayor from 1987 to 1999.

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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

Read more about Behind the Scenes: Collection Management, part 3

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

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

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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