Champaign County history

Champaign County history

Newspapers: Print, Microfilm, and Digital

You may already know that the Champaign County Historical Archives has a large collection of local newspapers from 1852 to the present day. In addition to well-known popular publications like the News-Gazette, Courier, and Daily Illini, we also have microfilm copies of papers from smaller communities, such as the Homer Enterprise and the Tolono Herald. If you're looking for news from one of CU's independent presses, like the Spectrum, Sidewinder, or Octopus, we have print copies available for perusal in the reading room.

Recently Processed: Champaign County Extension Services Collection

Last weekend was the University of Illinois Extension’s Garden Walk, an event which showcases local private and public gardening spaces. Cooperative Extension Services have a rich history, dating back nearly 100 years in Champaign County. I recently finished processing the records of the Champaign County Homemakers’ Extension Association, known at various times as Champaign County Home Bureau (1924-1945), Champaign County Home Economics Extension Services (1946-1989), and Champaign County Homemakers’ Extension Association (1991-1994).

A Sad Case

I had to chuckle at this piece from the Champaign County Gazette, which describes an addled husband disoriented from his wife's specific and verbose instructions for her dressmaker. No wonder he suffered "great mental distress."

Collection Highlight: Oral Histories

Transcripts of The Urbana Free Library Local History Roundtable discussions

While spending time with your family over the holidays, chances are you heard stories about the “good old days” from your grandparents, aunts or uncles, or parents. Perhaps you can’t get enough of these reminiscences. If that’s the case, check out the Champaign County Historical Archives collection of over 250 oral histories.

Riding the Rails to a New Life: The Orphan Trains

By the middle of the nineteenth century, New York City was teaming with new immigrants, with more coming every day. These new families often found themselves in dire circumstances, surrounded by poverty and disease. As a result, many children ended up without parents, orphaned and left wandering the streets. The plight of these children did not go unnoticed, and soon several orphanages and aid societies developed to assist them.