Local history

Local history

Art Club of Champaign's 1884 Exhibit

Art Club Picnic, date unknown
 
During the Civil War, American women coordinated efforts to deliver supplies and uniforms to the front lines and to hospitals, acted as nurses on the battlefield, and worked in industrial and farming jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight. In the years following these same women found themselves without an outlet for the administrative skills the war years had cultivated. Perhaps more importantly they yearned for the camaraderie these activities had provided. Industrial and technological advances alleviated the time-consuming labor of homemaking, creating idle leisure time many women had never before experienced. 

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.

The Illustrious Sale Siblings

Champaign-Urbana is no stranger to the entertainment industry: it is the boyhood home of Roger Ebert; the birthplace of music group REO Speedwagon and super-villain computer HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey; and was recently the filming site of a Danny Glover movie. However, in the first half of the twentieth century, Champaign-Urbana’s biggest stars were Charles (known professionally as “Chic”) and Virginia Sale, who grew up on Main Street in Urbana.

Happy Thanksgiving from Local History and Genealogy!

In honor of Thanksgiving, here are some historical facts about to share at your dinner table. We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and we'll see you back at the Archives on Friday. 

  • This mayoral proclamation appeared in the Champaign Gazette and Union on November 18, 1868:

Champaign Gazette and Union, 18 November 1868, p. 1

Walter C. Glines: Business Owner, Circus Performer

Walter C. Glines, ca. 1910, in a contorted position atop a stool

Walter C. Glines was the well-known proprietor of Gline’s Penny Store in Champaign, which he opened during World War I and managed until his retirement in 1956. However, before moving to Champaign and becoming a business owner, Mr. Glines had a successful career as a circus performer.

Local Information—For Your Convenience

You may visit us for our books, computer lab, programs or genealogical resources, but The Urbana Free Library can also be your go-to source for local information. We can help make your life easier by providing one convenient place to obtain many different handouts or snippets of news or to take care of daily tasks.

Our cultural and community information bulletin boards are packed with posters announcing performances, meetings, official announcements, and local activities.