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.

Valuable information that can be found in the Blue Books include:

  • Incorporated Cities, Towns, and Villages in Illinois; their population; the county they belong to; as well as, the mayor/president and the clerk.
  • Need to know what media outlet is where? They contain listings of news media outlets by county, for example, in Champaign County, the Millennium edition lists, the News-Gazette as well as 9 radio stations and 2 television channels.
  • For those who are interested in politics, there are Illinois Election results by county. Also included is a list of United States senators and their place of residence. As of the Millennium edition, there has been only one from Champaign, William B. McKinley. There are also diagrams of the congressional districts of Illinois.
  • In regards to education, there is a section with information about public universities in Illinois. For the University of Illinois, all three campus locations have a part which is preceded by an article about the University as a whole.
  • Maybe you want to brush up on your Illinois history. The Illinois Blue Books feature a chronology of Illinois history, as well as the Constitution for both Illinois and the United States.

Interesting Facts about the Blue Book:

  • The Blue Book is actually blue. There are only two exceptions to the traditional coloring. The first is the 1975-1976 Blue Book; it was white with blue and red details to mark the bicentennial of the United States of America. The second exception is the 2000 Blue Book; the golden color of this edition is to mark the new millennia.
  • The millennium edition has a page about the evolution of Illinois license plates with illustrations of four different designs.

The Archives has copies of the Illinois Blue Book from 1900-2010 in our collection. The newest edition of the Blue Book can be found online at the Secretary of State’s website.

- Shalini Smith
  Archvies Assistant