Illinois History: A Summer Institute
July 25-29, 2011
Web Resources
Website: Description:

Illinois Department of Agriculture


This site offers links to all laws administered by the Department of Agriculture and provides historical data of crops, economics and livestock beginning in 1950. In addition, it has over one hundred forms, applications and reports available for download. There is an interesting Hot Topics link found under News & Legislation with latest information pertaining to Illinois. The Kids Section link is limited, but does provide some very basic information in simple quiz formats.

Illinois Agriculture Historic Preservation Society


While the site is advertised as still being under construction, it might prove to be an extremely detailed, informative and user-friendly site once complete. Established in 2003, IAHPS’ mission is to preserve historical artifacts related specifically to Illinois agriculture.  They plan to have a virtual museum and historical sketches of important individuals, businesses and innovations easily searched by geographic area and/or city.

Illinois State Museum Exhibits, History of Illinois Agriculture

A very simple site with good, solid information about the history of farm animals, land, people, plants and technology important to Illinois history. All information can be easily accessed in links that run across the top of the page. An absolute must-visit is the AV Barn link.  It provides over 130 fascinating oral-history interviews in audio and video format from people involved in agriculture throughout Illinois.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site & Cahokia Mounds Museum Society

Using this site, explore the Cahokia Mounds through an interactive map, by mound name or number, within an interactive timeline or from a 15-minute online movie. If you choose to take a field trip to Cahokia Mounds, this site offers tips and pre- and post-activities for teachers of 4th grade through high school.

National Geographic, Cahokia: America’s Forgotten City (article, photo gallery, & map)

America's Forgotten City, a January 2011 National Geographic article written by Glenn Hodges, is on this site along with many beautiful photographs of the mounds and artifacts. 

Legends of America, Illinois Legends: Cahokia Mounds

This one-page reference site provides some basic information on the Cahokia Mounds as a part of a larger webpage that highlights over 30 historic Illinois sites.
Chicago Crime

LIFE Magazine, Al Capone: The Original Gangster

In a series of 45 photographic slides with captions, Life Magazine portrays Al Capone’s life of crime.

Chicago Defender & African American History in Illinois

Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History

The website of the DuSable museum of Chicago lists current and upcoming exhibits and events hosted at the museum. You will also find three lesson plans for teachers on African history, examining historical documents, and learning about the life of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable.

Chicago Defender Online Newspaper

Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender has developed into one of the nation’s leading Black newspapers. Online you can read current articles from the daily newspaper in thirteen different categories ranging from Our World to Our Faith. Articles are archived and searchable but older ones cannot be accessed without paying a fee.

Chicago Defender, PBS

This page only provides a handful of paragraphs on the history of the Chicago Defender. However, at the bottom you will discover a useful bibliography of books, articles and dissertations that clearly go into great depth.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, Chicago Defender, “Checking Migration” August 9, 1919 (article)

This short article, written in 1919, states that the South is treating its Colored men with brutality and humiliation and only wants them to serve as serfs and vassals in the workforce. Thus, migration to the north is the only choice.

The Library of Congress, Chicago: Destination for the Great Migration

On this page, you will find nine photographs and primary documents showing snippets of life for black migrants who went to Chicago in the early 1900’s.

Discovery Education free lesson plans, The Great Migration

This two-day lesson plan, geared for middle school students, asks students to interview an immigrant of today (or an organization who helps immigrants) who moved to improve economic and/or social conditions. Discussion questions, standards, extensions, vocabulary and suggested readings are provided.

Discover Black Heritage, The Great Migration, Chicago, IL

A great black & white photograph of a migrant black family of eight traveling from the south to Chicago.

Chicago History

Encyclopedia of Chicago

An outstanding online encyclopedia providing users with thousands of articles, photos, maps and newspaper clippings detailing the rich history of Chicago. It is very easy and smooth to use with links and alphabetical search tools. An absolute must-see to inform any topic on Chicago’s development.

Chicago History Museum

This is one of the best resources for classroom teachers who want to prepare dynamic, engaging and unique curriculum for their students. Lessons are all downloadable and incorporate hands-on artifact examination and online interactive map analysis. Don’t miss the Great Chicago Stories link – twelve fabulous narrative stories with audio focus on different aspects of the life and times of Chicago. Each one has an interactive map to root you in the story with accompanying pictures and lesson plans.

Chicago Public Library, A Chronological Listing of Events in Chicago History

This timeline not only lists events between 1673 and present, but it provides links to articles and outside websites with in-depth information and pictures of almost every event. Excellent resource.

City of Chicago

The city of Chicago’s official site gives current information about programs, initiatives and its government.

Metro Joe – online game about Chicago and the ‘Burbs (includes lesson plans & teacher resources)

Professional looking lesson plans and resources can be downloaded to teach 7th – 10th grade students about Chicago’s geography, people, economics, transportation and communities. Make sure you take the time to play one of the several slick multiple-choice games to test your knowledge, or your students’ knowledge, of Chicago.

The Burnham Plan Centennial, Learning Resources

A series of five units targeted to 8th grade classrooms can be found complete in both Spanish and English at this link. Unit topics focus on the history and development of early Chicago and community progress.

Chicago History - Pullman Strike

Historic Pullman Foundation

Use this site to learn about the founding of the Pullman Historic District, complete with a timeline of history and links to further resources.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: History Now, From the Teacher’s Desk, George Pullman: His Impact on the Railroad Industry, Labor, and American Life in the 19th Century

How did George Pullman impact the railroad industry, labor, and American Life in the 19th century? Use this lesson plan developed for high school classrooms to understand George Pullman's impact.

Northern Illinois University Digital Library, The Pullman Strike

The Pullman Strike, its leaders, and consequences are described in good detail with links to search for primary documents and to 45 related photos.

The Stan Iverson Memorial Library & Anarchist Archives, The Pullman Strike (timeline)

Here you will find a short overview of the strike and a timeline of events from the foundation of the American Railway Union to the United States Supreme Court ruling refusing the union’s appeals.
Chicago History - World's Fair

University of Chicago Library, Interactive Map of the World’s Fair, 1893

Here, you and your students will be able to tour the Columbian Exposition fairgrounds through an interactive map of the fair. You can move your mouse over the map and click on sites that are highlighted for a closer look. The site features images from the university's special collections. (NOTE: The Interactive map requires the Flash plug-in.)

Colonial Illinois

Illinois State Archaeological Survey, French Colonial Heritage Project

University of Illinois’ French Colonial Heritage Project uses archeological research and primary documents to summarize our understanding of life in French communities during the 18th and early 19th century. While the site mainly describes the project’s research, it includes images of a variety of artifacts found during their excavations and studies as well as information on ISAS’ many exhibits.
Champaign-Urbana Local History

Champaign150, Champaign’s 150th Anniversary Celebration

This site honors Champaign’s 150th anniversary. It provides a very detailed history of Champaign as well as links to WILL-TV’s Illinois Pioneers episodes that tell the stories of people and events that helped shape the city of Champaign.

WILL-TV Illinois Pioneers episodes

WILL-TV features 13 episodes in honor of Champaign’s 150th anniversary celebration. Each episode is just under 30 minutes and includes historical photos and interviews with experts to share the stories and events that helped shape the city of Champaign.

Remembering Robeson’s

This site features a brief summary of the history of Robeson’s Department Store. You can find a more detailed history with purchase of the book, Remembering Robeson’s.

Champaign, Illinois Biographies

This is a wonderful resource for those interested in family genealogy. The site includes hundreds of biographies collected from the manuscript, A Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois written in 1918 by J.R. Stewart.  Each biography is very detailed and provides a glimpse into the lives of the time.

Local Landmarks

As part of the City of Champaign's website, this page features a list of all of Champaign's local historical landmarks. These include residences, businesses, churches, government buildings, historic districts, and honorary landmarks. Some landmarks are linked to other pages that provide images and a more detailed description of the location.

Early American Museum

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District’s Early American Museum (Now The Museum of the Grand Prairie) is one of only seven museums in downstate Illinois to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum’s collections and installations highlight the major themes of American History through local people and artifacts.  The online exhibit titled, This Legacy is Yours: Celebrating the Lasting Contributions of African American Women is a must-see!

Champaign County Historical Archives

Established in 1956, the Champaign County Historical Archives maintains a collection in both primary and secondary sources on the history of Champaign County.

University of Illinois Archives

This short article written by Maynard Brichford, a University Archivist Emeritus, in 1970 (revised in 1983) provides a general description of the University of Illinois.

Busey Bank, History

As part of First Busey Corporation’s website, Busey Heritage is an article describing the history of Busey Bank. You can click on Learn More to discover a very detailed timeline and history of Busey Bank in brochure format.

Champaign Public Library, The Story of Champaign-Urbana by Alice McGinty

In Champaign Public Library’s Just Kids section, you will find local author Alice McGinty’s children’ book, Celebrating Champaign-Urbana History (2007).
'68 Democratic Convention

Famous American Trials, The Chicago Seven Trial

This site provides a detailed account of The Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial, the 1969-70 trial of seven radicals accused of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The site features many primary and secondary resources significant in understanding the trial, such as biographical detail of key figures, a timeline of events, a map of key locations, the trial transcript, images, and more.

Chicago ‘68

The events of the 1968 Democratic National Convention are described through a detailed chronology starting one year prior to the week of the convention and up to seven years past. An interesting section of this site uncovers the many myths surrounding this event., 1968 Democratic Convention (article)

This short article written by Haynes Johnson summarizes the events of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Haynes Johnson covered the event in 1968 as a reporter for the Washington Star.

TIME Magazine, Dementia in the Second City, September 6, 1968 (article)

This article written for the September 6, 1968 issue of TIME Magazine is a wonderful primary document providing a first-hand account of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Great Lakes and Navy Pier

Northern Illinois University Geological Site, Shoreline Processes in Chicago

This site offers a geological history of Chicago’s shoreline. Here you will find information on how Chicago’s Montrose Peninsula, North Avenue Beach, Grant Park, and the Chicago River were engineered into what they are today. The site also features extension ideas and resources for teachers.

Great Lakes Naval Museum

The Great Lakes Naval Museum features an extensive collection of artifacts from the Navy’s only “boot camp” at the Naval Training Station/Center at Great Lakes, Illinois.  The site features a rich online collection of primary resources from WWI and WWII.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Campus at Navy Pier

The University of Illinois at Chicago explains its history, which includes details of how Navy Pier became a temporary branch of campus in response to the student demand created by the G.I. Bill.

Navy Pier History & Timeline

This site describes the history of Navy Pier through a chronology.  Although not too extensive, the timeline tells the history in good detail.
Illinois History

Illinois State Archives

The Illinois State Archives works to make their vast collection of Illinois and local governmental records accessible. The director of the archives oversees a professional staff of 58 archivists and support personnel who work with a collection that covers 80,000 cubic feet of public records.  The Illinois State Archives houses almost 200 documents that, at least in part, are written in Abraham Lincoln’s hand.

Illinois State Museum

The Illinois State Museum offers a variety of resources for teachers and students including exhibit-based school programs, self-guided tours, and online exhibits and lesson plans. Located in Springfield, the ISM is an exciting and educational field trip destination. While the museum does contain preK-12 material, it is mainly geared toward the elementary level. Be sure to have your students visit their online exhibit titled, At Home in the Heartland to learn about family life in Illinois from 1700 to the present

Constitution of the State of Illinois

At this site you will find the Constitution of the State of Illinois. You can view it by Article or as an entire document.

Northern Illinois University Digital Library, Illinois During the Gilded Age

Illinois in the Gilded Age features primary resources from a number of libraries, museums, and archives to help people understand events in Illinois History related to major themes in American history. The site includes rich digitized exhibits on topics such as The Haymarket Bomb, The Pullman Strike, National Campaign Materials, Lincoln, The Civil War, and Ida B. Wells, as well as teacher resources and lesson plans.
Illinois Politics

History of Chicago Politics, List of Chicago Mayors

A list of all former Chicago Mayors is featured on this site. Starting with William Ogden and ending with Richard M. Daley, you can click on each of Chicago’s former mayors to find a brief description of their term.

History of Chicago Politics, List of Illinois Governors

A list of all former Illinois Governors is featured on this site. Starting with Shadrach Bond and ending with Rod Blagojevich, you can click on each of Illinois’ former mayors to find a brief description of their term.

The Illinois State Capitol

This site is dedicated toward the promotion of the Illinois Capitol Building and is intended to serve as an informational and educational resource for its visitors. You can view images and read the history of each portion of the building, including the Dome. The Kid Zone section contains some very general facts, a word-search, and a description of state symbols.
Industry in Illinois

Mining More in Moweaqua, Coal Mining

This site uses locally owned historic documents, photographs, and artifacts to explain the Moweaqua Mining Corporation disaster of 1932 as part of Illinois coal mining history. The site features a photo archive, timeline, and student section containing elementary materials.

Illinois Central Historical Society

This site contains a brief historical overview of the Illinois Central Railroad as well as a few maps of the railroad system.

Illinois Railway Museum

Located in Union, IL (northwest of Chicago), The Illinois Railway Museum is composed of many collections representing different aspects of railroading in the United States. The largest group consists of rolling stock - locomotives and cars. As train operating schedules regularly change, be sure to check the museum’s Schedule and Fare Structure if interested in taking your class on a fieldtrip.

Chicago History Museum

This group of four lessons examines key subjects and events in Lincoln’s lifetime: slavery; his election in 1860; the Emancipation Proclamation and black soldiers in the Union army; and his assassination. Each lesson includes high-quality reproductions of images and documents from the Museum’s collection as well as background information, analysis questions, instructional strategies, and extension activities. Every lesson plan contains an analysis worksheet, which is also available in Spanish. Written for grades 5-12.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

An excellent resource for teachers, and a wonderful fieldtrip opportunity for students, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers an array of materials on the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Not only will a fieldtrip address several of the Illinois State Learning Standards, but the ALPLM site makes planning the trip easy and efficient at the Plan Your Visit link.

The History Place, Abraham Lincoln timeline

This site features an extensive chronology of the life of Abraham Lincoln. The timeline is very detailed and includes links to other pages containing photographs and related documents.

Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition

The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition is a consortium of Illinois communities that share the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of the coalition is to tell the stories about Lincoln unique to each site and each community. The site features a pseudo scavenger hunt called, “Looking for Lincoln” that makes up countless places scattered throughout the central Illinois landscape where Lincoln traveled and lived. While not practical for a field trip in its entirety, the site helps you plan a trip that is within a convenient distance from your current location.

Library of Congress, Abraham Lincoln’s Early Years

The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents dating from 1833 to 1916. Most of the approximately 20,000 items, however, are from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65. In addition, each assortment of documents contains questions for students.

Library of Congress, Abraham Lincoln for students

The Library of Congress’ “America’s Story from America’ Library” is dedicated to helping students have fun with history. This site features biographical information on Abraham Lincoln the President, as well as a few interesting stories and facts about him and his life.

The Lincoln Institute

Created by Lewis Lehrman of Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The Lincoln Institute produces and maintains seven websites about Abraham Lincoln and the people with whom he lived and worked.  The site also contains sections devoted to teachers and students which include extensive collections of resources and materials. Be sure to have your students check out Abraham Lincoln’s Classroom at
Native Americans

The Illini Confederation: Lords of the Mississippi Valley

Created by Robert Fester, this site provides an overview of the Illinois People and the Illiniwek Confederation of Tribes: the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Tamaroa, Cahokia, and Michigamea

Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk Nation

Created by Robert Fester, this site provides an overview of Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk Nation.

Museum Link, The Illinois Indians

This MuseumLink from the Illinois State Museum invites students and teachers to explore life of the Illinois or Illiniwek Native Americans.  The links to the left help you navigate the site and include information on identity, society, beliefs, and history, as well as activities for teachers.
Women in Illinois

Alliance Library System, Early Illinois Women and Other Unsung Heroes

This web site attempts to capture the experiences of Illinois women during the first century of statehood. The site includes a digital archive of original material from participating libraries and links to other resources. The main features of this site include eight different collections about women related to pioneer life, public life, religion, work, medicine, education, arts and entertainment, and war.

Women In History, Mary Todd Lincoln

Here you will find a detailed biography of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Jane Addams, Hull House Museum

Of the many things you will find in this interactive site, the Learn link will be the most helpful for teachers. Here, you will find brief biographical information on Jane Addams, a chronology of her life, tour information if interested in a field trip, information about the Hull-House, and a variety of other related links.

Urban Experience in Chicago: The Hull House and Its Neighbors

Created by the University of Illinois at Chicago, this site is a wonderful resource for teachers and students. It contains primary resources, historic photographs, and scholarly essays on the House. The site is divided into six major sections: Historical Narrative, Timeline, Images, Geography, Teachers’ Resources, and Search. Each section has a different focus, but all contain valuable information and abundant resources. A must see for every educator.