Interviews

Search more than 1,000 interviews in more than a dozen oral history collections. Search by collection name or interviewee name.

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Jennie Battles - Architectural Gems

​​Jennie Battles, the site manager for the Vachel Lindsay home from 2001 to 2014, gives the definitive tour of the Vachel Lindsay home in Springfield, Illinois. Vachel Lindsay was one of America's most famous poets of the early 20th century, one of the three renowned Prairie poets, the other two being Edgar Lee Masters and Carl Sandburg.  Jennie develops three major themes during this extensive tour: the story of the two families who lived in the home since its construction in the 1840s; the art and architecture of the home, especially as it appeared during the height of Lindsay’s career in the 1920s; and the life and times of Vachel Lindsay.

William 'Bill' Barnhart - Governor Dan Walker Project

Bill Barnhart spent the bulk of his life as a journalist, first with the Chicago based 'City News Bureau,' then with the 'Suburban Tribune,' during the administration of Dan Walker from 1973 to 1976. For the last two years of the Walker administration, Barnhart worked as the paper's statehouse reporter in Springfield. Following that assignment, Barnhart went on to work as a business reporter and columnist, most of that with the Chicago 'Tribune.' See his complete interview at the 'Illinois Statecraft - Journalists' View' web page.

Jennie Battles - IHPA legacy

Jennie Battles began her working career as an English teacher at Dixon High School. When the family moved to Petersburg, Illinois in 1977, she worked for several years at Famous Barr in Springfield. In 1986 she joined the staff of the newly organized Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, starting as an interpreter at the Old State Capitol. She talks extensively about the Portrait of a Prairie Capitol theatrical production and the Living History Program, both at the Old State Capitol. In 2001 Jennie became the site manager for the Vachel Lindsay home in Springfield. and became synonymous with the historic home of Springfield's most renowned poet until her retirement in 2014.

Jim Edgar - Governor Jim Edgar Project

Jim Edgar served as the Governor of Illinois from 1991 to 1999, restoring the state's fiscal health during his first term, and concentrating on educational and other reform issues during his second term. Before reaching the pinnacle of Illinois government, he served as Secretary of State from 1981 to 1991. His retirement from public office in 1999 marked thirty years of state government service. During this extensive interview series, Governor Edgar provides a detailed overview of Illinois' colorful and often tumultuous political history from 1968 through 2010.

James Thompson - Governor Jim Thompson Project

James R. Thompson, known to Illinoisans as Big Jim, served as the state's governor from January, 1977 to January, 1991, a total of fourteen years. Thompson first came to prominence when he was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and especially when he successfully prosecuted former governor Otto Kerner on corruption charges. During his long tenure as governor, he developed a reputation as a moderate Republican who was a fiscal conservative, but also a friend of labor and a builder, with Build Illinois being his administration's signature achievement. He traveled the world promoting Illinois and its products. He also had a passion for history and antiques, and thus created the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in support of those passions. Following his many years in office, he worked in the private sector, serving as the chair of the important Chicago law firm, Winston and Strawn for many years. He also found time to serve on the 9/11 Commission, and helped defend his long-time friend, Governor George Ryan during Ryan's corruption trial. Thompson has maintained a high profile and been highly popular throughout his long career.

Erin Bishop - IHPA legacy

Dr. Erin Bishop was head of Education Services with the IHPA at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from 2005 to 2009. She earned her bachelor's degree in history and French from Carroll College in Montana, then went on to work with the Lincoln Legal Papers from 1990 to 1993. After studying in Ireland and completing her master's degree and PhD, she returned to Springfield and accepted a position with the IHPA as a historic research specialist in 1997. Following the creation of the Presidential Library and Museum, she became head of the Education Division and was in charge of developing programs, exhibits, and resources for teachers and students.

Nancy deGrazia - Governor Dan Walker Project

Nancy deGrazia served as an Assistant to Governor Dan Walker from 1973 to 1977, working as his liaison for several financial and regulatory agencies. Following Walker's defeat in 1977, Nancy married Victor deGrazia, Dan Walker's long-time political advisor.

David Blanchette - IHPA legacy

David Blanchette is the Public Informations Officer/Communications Manager for the IHPA and Presidential Library. He received his B.A. in Journalism from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL, in 1982, then went on to work for WJIL-WJVO Radio in Jacksonville until 1987. In 1987, he became Public Information Officer for the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and in 1989 became P.I.O. for the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency.

William Goldberg - Governor Dan Walker Project

William Goldberg began his legal career in 1962 in the same law firm as Dan Walker. He advised Walker on his report on violence at the Democratic Convention of 1968, worked on Walker's 1972 gubernatorial campaign, and then served as Counsel to the Governor from 1973 to 1977, becoming one of Walker's most trusted advisors.

David Blanchette, 2015  - IHPA legacy

For two and a half decades, from 1989 to 2013, David Blanchette served as the Public Information Officer for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and later the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He served in that capacity during IHPA's infancy, and during the conceptualization, design, construction and opening of ALPLM, a world-class museum and library. Dave discusses these topics in detail, as well as the management turmoil that the department experienced in the years following its opening.

Political Cartoons  - Governor Jim Edgar Project

Jim Edgar was a frequent target for Mike Thompson, the political cartoonist for the Springfield State Journal-Register. You knew it was a Thompson cartoon whenever you saw the trademark price-tag hanging from the governor’s hair. These cartoons were some of the many that Joan Walters, Edgar’s budget director during those rugged budget battles during Edgar’s first term, collected.

Mort Kaplan - Governor Dan Walker Project

Mort Kaplan of Chicago, Illinois has spent his life working in the public relations field. In the 1960s he met Dan Walker, and became a close friend and a key public relations advisor during Walker's run for governor. Although Kaplan never officially served in the Walker administration, he continued to advise Walker on his political career.

Julie Cellini - IHPA legacy

Julie Cellini was appointed to serve as the the Chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency by Governor Jim Thompson, and served as its chair from its creation in 1985 to 2012. During that time, she was the driving force behind the creation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and was involved in every aspect of its development. The Library opened in 2004, and the Museum opened in 2005 to world-wide acclaim. IHPA oversaw some 50 historic sites throughout Illinois.

Ben Kiningham - Governor Dan Walker Project

As a reporter for various radio stations and a statewide radio network for forty years, Ben Kiningham's beat was the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield. He covered gubernatorial administrations from Dan Walker to George Ryan, as well as the Illinois legislature and various state agencies.

Robert Coomer - IHPA legacy

Bob Coomer served as Director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency from 2004 until his retirement in 2007. Prior to holding this position, he had a long career in recreational and historic administration. He served as assistant bureau chief of the Illinois Department of Conservation from 1978 to 1985. Following the creation of the IHPA in 1985, he was transferred over to the new agency as Superintendent of Historic Sites and was responsible for setting up and overseeing the state's historic sites. In 2005, he became Agency Director, and helped to oversee the creation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (among many other duties).

Mary Lee Leahy - Governor Dan Walker Project

Springfield attorney Mary Lee Leahy has spent her life in the public eye, helping to successfully litigate the

Cullom Davis - IHPA legacy

Dr. George Cullom Davis began his academic career as an assistant professor of history at Indiana University in 1964. In 1970, he moved to Springfield, IL, where he taught and served as an assistant to the president of the newly formed Sangamon State University, and was also responsible for establishing the university's Oral History office. He quickly developed a national reputation in the oral history community, and served as president of the Oral History Association from 1983-1984. In 1988 Dr. Davis became Director of the Lincoln Legal Papers, where he served until his retirement in 2000.

Taylor Pensoneau - Governor Dan Walker Project

Journalist and author reporting on the Illinois Political Scene

Dr. Michael Devine - IHPA legacy

Dr. Michael Devine became the Director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) in 1985, shortly after Governor Jim Thompson first created the agency. He presided over a large number of historic sites throughout the state, as well as the Illinois State Historical Library and other directorates. During his tenure, improvements were made for programs to the Old State Capitol, the Dana Thomas House was opened to much fanfare, and the Pullman factory site was purchased. He left Illinois in 1991 when he was selected to be the Director of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

Dan Walker - Governor Dan Walker Project

Dan Walker began his career as a Naval Academy graduate before moving to Chicago to pursue a law career. He soon entered politics, learning about the tactics of Chicago's political machine first-hand before deciding to take on the machine. He won a surprising victory for governor in 1972, but served only one tumultuous term. Walker encountered legal problems in the early 1980s, and spent 18 months in prison.

Julie Dirksen - IHPA legacy

Julie Dirksen was the first Director of Guest Services for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Hired in 2004 prior to the ALPLM's opening, she helped to prepare the Springfield community for the museum's opening through the "Company is Coming" organization. She was also responsible for establishing the ALPLM's volunteer support and setting up training for the Museum staff and volunteers.

Martha Jane Downey - IHPA legacy

Martha Downey began working at the Bishop Hill Historic Site, a village in west-central Illinois founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants affiliated with the Pietist movement led by Erik Jansson, in 1981. At that time the site was managed by the Department of Natural Resources, but it went under the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in 1985 when that agency was created. During Downey's long tenure at Bishop Hill, the site has undergone dramatic improvements.

Darrell Duensing - IHPA legacy

Darrell Duensing's first job after graduating from Southern University in 1971 was as site manager at Fort de Chartres, the former French fortress in Randolph County that boasts the oldest building in Illinois. He spent the next forty-five years there, retiring in 2015. His tenure spans the years when the site was managed by the Illinois Department of Conservation, and since 1985 by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. He also discusses the Great Flood of 1993 in detail.

Lara McGlaughlin and Travis Gillum - IHPA legacy

Travis Gillum and Lara McGlaughlin of LifeFormations discuss the art and meticulous techniques that go into the creation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library's many historical figures. During a presentation at the Presidential Museum's Union Theater, the two demonstrated how they transform clay, silicon and other materials into incredibly life-like figures, and the challenges of bringing such well known figures as Abraham and Mary Lincoln to life, from conceptual drawings to period accurate costumes. The presentation was made during the Museum's "Evening with the Creators" series to celebrate the institution's 10th anniversary.

Kathryn Harris - IHPA legacy

Kathryn Harris worked in the Illinois State Historical Library from 1984 until her retirement in 2015. When she started, the library was located underneath the Old State Capitol. In 1996 she became the director of the Library. Over the next twenty years she helped guide the library through the design and opening of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in 2004, where she served as the Library Services Director. She discusses the triumph of the new Presidential Museum, which opened in 2005, and staff challenges in the decade following the Library's opening.

Heather Oxley, Tisa Poe, Tom Tait, and Patrick Weeks  - IHPA legacy

Four key members of the BRC Imagination Arts creative team, Tisa Poe, Patrick Weeks, Heather Oxley and Tom Tait joined moderator Mark DePue in 2015 to discuss their key roles in the design, creation and installation of the many exhibits and two theater productions for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which opened on April 19, 2005 to wide acclaim. They shared their stories and insights about the creation of the museum, even as they marveled at how well the museum's exhibits have stood up over the intervening ten years.

David Hedrick - IHPA legacy

David Hedrick had a long and distinguished career with working at nature and historic sites. These included the Norridge Park District, Jubilee College State Historic Site, and in 1979 the historic Lincoln's New Salem where he took over as Site Superintendent. At that time, David worked in the Department of Natural Resources, but a new agency, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, was established in 1985. Hedrick's excellent management skills led to New Salem becoming one of the premier Lincoln sites in the country.

Wally Henderson - IHPA legacy

Earl (Wally) Henderson is an architect who has worked on a variety of historical preservation and restoration projects in the Springfield, IL area. One of the biggest projects of his career was the restoration of the Old State Capitol. Henderson's architecture firm helped restore and expand the Old State Capitol to include an underground parking lot and facility for the State Historical Library. In addition to his extensive work with the Old State Capitol, Henderson also helped with the restoration of the Abe Lincoln home in Springfield.

Ted Hild - IHPA legacy

After receiving both his BA and MA in History from Northern Illinois University, Theodore (Ted) Hild was hired as an employee for the Historic Sites division of the Illinois Department of Conservation in 1972. In 1985, Hild's division was merged with the Illinois State Historical Library to form the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency. He eventually became Acting Division Manager of the IHPA's Preservation Division, a role which he held until his retirement in 2007.

William Iseminger - IHPA legacy

Bill Iseminger, an anthropologist, began his career at Cahokia Mounds in 1971 when the site was in serious disrepair, encroached upon by several developments, including a housing area and drive in theater. Over the next forty-six years he helped manage the site's transformation into a world class archaeological site, becoming one of UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1982. In 1989, a world class museum was added to the site, and Cahokia Mounds is now the site for archaeological digs and research.

Julie Cellini, Susan Mogerman, , and Bob Coomer Cellini - IHPA legacy

Julie Cellini became the first chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in 1985, and for the next twenty years spent much of her time and energy working toward creating a new facility to display the Illinois State Historical Library's extensive Lincoln Collection. By the mid 1990s she was joined by Agency Director Susan Mogerman, Sites Division Director Bob Coomer, and many others as they continued to work toward achieving their dream. In this panel discussion, the three 'creators' talk about the many ups and downs they experienced as they moved toward achieving that dream, resulting in the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in 2005.

David Kneupper - IHPA legacy

David Kneupper was commissioned by Bob Rogers of BRC Imagination Arts to compose over three hours of music for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum's many exhibits and two theaters. David discusses the demanding expectations that Rogers had for the musical score, and goes into considerable detail in discussing his creative process. The project has proven to be perhaps David's most challenging and rewarding experience. Due to his score and the museum's innovative and engaging exhibits, the project was awarded the prestigious THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Susan Mogerman - IHPA legacy

Susan Mogerman served as Executive Director for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) from 1991 through 2002, during the crucial years when the planning, design and construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) took place. These were also busy years for IHPA in general. Susan had scores of sites in her agency, and was also responsible for the IL State Historical Library and historic preservation efforts throughout Illinois. In 2004 she began working as the Chief Operations Officer for the ALPL Foundation, and saw her efforts to create the Presidential Library and Museum come to fruition.

Bob Rogers - IHPA legacy

Bob Rogers formed his own exhibit design company, BRC Imagination Arts in 1981. In 1998 his firm won the contract to develop the exhibits for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Bob's mission was to create a museum that would inspire visitors “with a greater attraction to and fascination with the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.” Over the next several years, he and his firm collaborated closely with the staff of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and created a revolutionary new type of presidential museum. The museum opened in 2005 to wide acclaim, wowing the public while also receiving accolades from scholars and educators. By all accounts, the museum has achieved that goal.

Richard Schachtsiek - IHPA legacy

Richard Schachtsiek is a former IHPA site interpreter and administrator. His career in historic preservation began in 1975, when he was hired as a site interpreter at New Salem, IL. Two years later, he became site manager at the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site; after receiving his MA in Small Museum Administration from Eastern Illinois University, he became a site interpreter at Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield. Eventually he was promoted to site administrator for the Postville and Mt. Pulaski Court Houses state historic site, where he worked until his retirement in 2002.

Kay Smith - IHPA legacy

Kay Smith served with the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition as a contractor and then as the Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area from late 2009 through 2011. The interview focuses on Smith’s role in developing the comprehensive management plan for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. She also talks about several other projects and programs that were occurring while she served as executive director

Robert Weichert - IHPA legacy

Robert (Bob) Weichert is the Division Manager of Administrative Services for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. He was first hired by the IHPA in 1988 as General Services Manager, a position that encompassed the roles of Affirmative Action Officer, Telecommunications Coordinator, and Travel Coordinator. In 1989 he was promoted to Division Manager of Administrative Services. As manager of this division, he is responsible for overseeing Fiscal, Personnel, General, and Physical Services for the Agency. He also served as the IHPA's Legislative Liaison from 1991 to 2003.

Dr. Marcia Young - IHPA legacy

Marcia Young became the site manager for the David Davis State Historic Site in Bloomington, Illinois in 1990, while it was in the midst of a five-year $2.5 million restoration. The site consists of the historic Victorian style mansion and grounds of Judge David Davis, a close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln appointed Judge Davis to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1862, and he served there until becoming a U.S. Senator from 1877 to 1883. Marcia talks at length about her career with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and about the art, architecture, and history of the David Davis mansion and grounds. She retired as site manager in 2014.

Campaign Ads  - Governor Jim Thompson Project

Jim Thompson was new to politics when he launched his first campaign for governor in 1975. For those in the Chicago area, his was a familiar name. He was the U.S. Attorney who fought against public corruption, sending former Governor Otto Kerner to jail, along with scores of other public officials. As far as Thompson was concerned, it gave him the credentials to run for governor for a large and diverse state.

The next step, then, was to make himself known not just to those in the Chicago area, but to all Illinoisans. He campaigned hard in downstate Illinois, and learned quickly the importance of introducing himself to voters.  His standard line?  “Hello, my name is Jim Thompson, and I’m running for Governor.” But Thompson knew that grassroots campaigning was not enough. He hired Washington, D.C. based political consultants Doug Bailey and John Deardorff as well as pollster Bob Teeter to develop a series of campaign ads. They created a couple of longer spots designed to introduce the candidate to the voters, then produced a series of 30-second ads with the candidate talking to voters on the street. Following Thompson’s victory in the Republican primary, they added several ads using the candidate’s own words during his speech on primary night. None of the ads mentioned Michael Howlett, his Democratic opponent; there would be no mud-slinging in this campaign. Instead, the ads focused on Thompson’s record of success as U.S. Attorney, and his pledge to be a tough, honest leader, with compassion for the needy and the taxpayer. 

A. Robert Abboud - Korean War

Robert A. Abboud was an infantry lieutenant serving in Korea with the 1st Marine Division from 1952 to 1953, during the closing days of the war. Lieutenant Abboud saw action in the western sector of the frontline, specifically at the Hook, the Nevada Complex, the Three Fingers and Bunker Hill, and served with Lieutenant Allen Dulles, son of Eisenhower's CIA director.

Charles Abelmann - Alternatives in Education

Dr. Charles Abelmann, the Director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, reviews the history of the school created in 1896 by John Dewey, as well as its current structure and operation. Dr. Abelmann provides insight on the school's current two campuses: PreK-Grade 2 and the original campus for Grades 3-12. He also discusses the school's philosophy and mission, the relationship with the University of Chicago, its many unique programs and course offerings, sports and activities, faculty selection, hands on student experiences, and student enrollment (around 2000 students).

Louis Acevedo - IHSA

Louis Acevedo discusses his long association with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the Chicago Public League through his experiences as a high school athlete and a high school coach (soccer, basketball, and football) over a 33 year career. Louis talks about his own football career in the Chicago Public League as well as coaching football at two public league schools (Clemente and Marie Currie High Schools). He talks about the rich history of Chicago Public League football and the many players who went on to play Division I football and in the National Football League. He addresses the many challenges faced by the Chicago Public League programs, including budget issues, locating coaches, assistants and officials, stadium assignments, and fall teacher strikes.

Ray Ackerman - Pension Crisis in Illinois

Ray Ackerman, the former legislative chairman for the Retired State Employees Association (RESA) discusses his involvement with Illinois's public employee pension legislation from 1984 through 1995. He elaborates on the 1989 legislation that set up a three percent cost of living increase every year, and Governor Jim Edgar's initiative in 1995 to set up a pension ramp to address the growing shortfall of funds in the five state pension systems. Ackerman also reflects on the attempts to fix the pension system in the 2010s.

John Ackerman - Modern Era

Survival of small family farms by diversifying and developing niche markets.

Ray Ackerman - Modern Era

Ray recounts family history on the farm. He's now a Highway Engineer.

Yvette Ackerman - Modern Era

Life of a modern farm wife and businesswoman.

Rosia Adams - Springfield African-American History Foundation

Rosia Adams moved to Springfield, Illinois in the early 1970's . She discusses finding a job teaching in Springfield schools and her career in the school system. She also talks about her involvement with the desegregation case and her role in the Minority Teachers Union. Finally, she talks about her experiences with foster care.

Cordell Addison - World War II

Cordell Addison grew up on a farm in Jackson County, Illinois and later enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps. In October 1941, he was drafted into the Army and served as a gunner in the Pacific Theater.

 Additional Materials - Community College Project

View photos of Illinois Community College Campuses and discover additional resources!

Walter Ade - Immigrant Stories

Walter Ade was a German native who grew up in the Sudetenland during the Second World War. Both his father and older brother served in the German Army (Wehrmacht) during the war, and both were casualties of that war. In 1949 Walter's mother encouraged Walter to emigrate to the United States, but she stayed behind in the hope that her husband might still be alive and held by the Soviets. Walter emigrated to the United States and settled in Springfield. His father was indeed alive and was released by the Soviets in 1955.

Walter Ade - Korean War

Walter Ade, a German native who grew up in the Sudetenland, emmigrating to Illinois after the war. He served with the United States Army in Korea from January through December 1953. Ade was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, seeing action in the Punchbowl area and near Chorwon.

Peter Alber - IHSA

Coach Pete Alber discusses his experiences as the Dakota High School wresting coach and his involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). He shares his memories from his own high school experiences as well as being a state winning wrestling coach at Dakota High School. The school‘s wrestling team has had great success over the years, winning five state titles and coming in third twice, especially from 2004-2007 and 2013-2016. Coach Alber discusses team scoring, for individual matches, and the basic rules for the sport which began as an IHSA activity in 1936.

John Alexander - School District Reorganization

John Alexander of Virden, Illinois, proprietor of the bookstore Books on the Square in Virden. Alexander was a vocal advocate for the consolidation of the Virden and Girard school districts, serving as chairman of the Committee of Ten, which examined the issue. A referendum was put to the public in April of 2009 and passed, eventually leading to the creation of the new North Mac school district.

Dr. Peggy Allan - Educational Reform Act 1985

Peggy Allan has spent her life in teaching in the Bond County, IL Community School District, specifically at Greenville Junior High School. In 1988 she was selected Illinois Teacher of the Year. Since then, she has served on many state committees in the field of Learning Standards, State Assessment, Writing Assessment, and Advance Illinois. Peggy discusses the implementation of the state's landmark educational legislation passed in 1985, how the reforms impacted her teaching, and the role teachers had in implementing the programs.

Bettie Allen - Springfield African-American History Foundation

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Bettie Allen began working as a mechanic as a young teenager and continued into adulthood, while also working for the state. She volunteered in the South doing voter registration and civil rights work in the 1960s. She discusses her family’s history in Springfield, World War II home front activities, her extensive travel including mission work in Africa, her involvement with the YWCA, and details of her career with the State of Illinois.

Gary Allen - Community College Project

Gary Allen earned a bachelors and master's degree in Communication, then began a long career at community colleges, first at Kaskaskia Community College, then Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois. He taught and then chaired the communication department at Southeastern, and also served as a long time forensic coach. In fact, the college renamed the forensic area in his honor in 2000. In the early 2000s he also began serving as a school trustee.

Ronald 'Steve' Allen - Vietnam War

Steve Allen joined the Marine Corps in 1968. He served as an infantry officer in South Vietnam with C Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, completing his tour in the fall of 1970. Allen’s unit was based in Da Nang, South Vietnam. He says his faith as a Christian not only grew while he was in combat, but it helped keep himself and his men alive, and led him to a career as a counselor after the war.

Roger A Amm - IHSA

Roger Amm discusses his thirty-three years as the choral director at Ottawa Township High School (OTHS), and his involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in its annual musucal competitions. He first began his experiences with IHSA music contests while he was a student at Pontiac Township High School, and then had decades of experience as the Choir Director at Ottawa Township, winning eighteen Division Sweepstakes while he directing the school's choir.

Dr. Karen Anderson - Community College Project

Dr. Karen Anderson has spent her life working as a teacher and administrator at colleges throughout the Midwest, and since 1999 has worked at the Illinois Community College Board, where she became its Executive Director in 2014. She gives insights into the administration of Illinois's large and diverse system of community colleges, as well as its history.

Dr. Richard Anderson - Community College Project

Dr. Richard Anderson, director of the Center For the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, reviews the role the Center has played in reading research and teacher training over the course of forty years since the passage of the 1985 Education Reform Act. Dr. Anderson addresses the Center’s growth since the Reform Act, and the creation of several reading and literacy related programs including Reading Improvement Grants-grades 1-6, Language Arts Learning Goals and Assessments, Professional Education Training, Writing Assessment, Prekindergarten At-Risk grants, and teacher training.

Gerald 'Andy' Anderson - World War II

Gerald 'Andy' Anderson fought with the fabled 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One) from Sicily through the end of World War II. He landed in the second wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was wounded twice, the first time during the battle for the German city of Aachen. He was evacuated to England, but rejoined the division during its fight in the Battle of the Bulge where it held the northern shoulder of the bulge despite repeated attacks. Andy insisted on staying with his unit when injured a second time, and after the war returned to the United States in September 1945. In 1949 he married Jo Hillman, the woman he had corresponded with throughout the war. In his later years he attended several D-Day reunions.

Jo Anderson - Educational Reform Act 1985

Jo Anderson worked on the implementation of Illinois's landmark 1985 Educational Reform Act, from the perspective of the Illinois Education Association, Illinois's primary teachers' union. Among the reforms he addressed were learning goals, assessments, alternatives to social promotion, principal/teacher evaluation, new school funding sources, kindergarten full day/prekindergarten, educational service centers, the Illinois Math Science Academy, Casimir Pulaski Day, staff development, testing of potential new teachers, school safety requirements, teacher compensation, modifications to the newly created Educational Labor Relations Board, and some Chicago reforms.

Dr. Richard Anderson - Educational Reform Act 1985

Richard Anderson was first elected to the College of Lake County (CLC) Board of Trustees in 1974 while he was a full time student, and has continued to serve on the Board thereafter. He has served as chairman of the CLC Board of Trustees for five terms, as well as serving as president of the Illinois Community College Trustee Association and the Northern Suburban Region. Richard shares his in-depth knowledge of the school's history, and discusses some of the issues the college has faced during his tenure.

Barbara Archer - World War II

Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during WorldII give insight into the day to day life of those left at home during the war.

Towfig Arjmand - Immigrant Stories

Dr. Towfig Arjmand is a retired anesthesiologist and an Iranian immigrant. He was born in 1929 in Kermanshah, Iran, and studied medicine in Iran until 1956, when he decided to move to the U.S. to further his medical studies on a student's visa. Dr. Arjmand elected to remain in the U.S. after completing his residency at St. John's Hospital (Springfield, IL) in 1961, and became a US citizen in 1968.

Mark Armstrong - Public School Funding

Mark Armstrong, the Kane (IL) County Supervisor of Assessments, reviews the property assessment process, and how that impacts the availability of funding for Illinois' public schools. Property taxes provide the majority of funding for local Illinois public schools. He covers the training requirements to be an assessor, the timetable for property assessments, and terms and processes used by local assessors. Armstrong also discusses the different types of property (commercial, industrial, residential, farmland, coal mines, minerals, etc), and the assessor's relationship with the local Boards of Review, county clerks and treasurers.

Wayne Arnold - Community College Project

Wayne Arnold earned a bachelors and master's degree from Southern Illinois University, then joined the faculty of Mount Vernon High School, where he operated the school’s Community College program. When the campus was relocated and named Rend Lake College shortly after the passage of the Illinois Junior College Act of 1965, he joined the staff as a teacher in the Department of Health and Physical Education. In honor of his many years of service, the fitness center at Rend Lake College is now named after him. Wayne covers the transfer of the Junior College from Mount Vernon to Rend Lake in the interview.

Jason Artman - Civics Education

Jason Artman discusses how Civics Education was being taught at Mendota High School prior to the state of Illinois's new civics requirement, and adjustments that were made since its adoption. He also reviews his role in training high school civics teachers, giving insights on ways to teach civics and develop service projects, deal with controversial topics, and present additional teaching resources that can be used in the classroom. Jason also gives an overview of the new state social studies standards.

John Ashby - School District Reorganization

John Ashby served as the interim Superintendent for Bluford/Webber, Illinois schools during a time when the district was considering a new school reorganization method, the Elementary Hybrid Method, which would combine the Bluford district with Farrington and Webber Townships. Although the Farrington school district voted down the referendum for elementary schools merging, all three schools approved the high school merger. Mr. Ashby discusses the challenges inherent in this new reorganization model, including non-uniform school boundaries, and a complicated taxing program.

Jean Pierre Aubry - Pension Crisis in Illinois

Jean-Pierre Aubry, who has done extensive research on state and local pensions at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, gives an outsider's perspective on Illinois's severe public sector pension crisis. He discusses his research on individual state and municipal pension plans. Aubry has published many articles on the issue, including on the impact of unfunded pension liabilities on big cities, defined benefit vs. defined contribution plans, cost of living allowance (COLA) reductions, and an overview of the largest 150 state and municipal pension systems.

Delbert Augsburger - World War II

Delbert Augsburger was a ball turret gunner in World War II. He was stationed in Bassingbourn, England and flew twenty-three missions as a gunner on a B-17, beginning in the fall of 1944. Augsburger was assigned to the 324th Squadron, part of the 8th Air Force.

Leslie Axelrod - Korean War

Leslie Axelrod enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1950, and following Electronics Technician School, he was accepted into the Navy's Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, receiving his commission in March, 1952. He began his active service on the USS Lewis, a destroyer escort that was stationed off the coast of North Korea supporting ROK Navy mine sweeping operations. In December 1952 the Lewis was hit by North Korean artillery, sustaining serious damage and loss of life. Axelrod finished his service on the USS Wilkinson, helping install electronic equipment on one of the navy's newest vessels.

Gregory Baise - Governor Jim Thompson Project

Gregory Baise started as a volunteer for Jim Thompson in 1976, when Baise was just out of college and Thompson was running for Governor for the first time. Over the next fourteen years Baise served in the Thompson administration in a variety of capacities, first as the Governor's travel aid until 1979, then as his scheduler, and in 1981 as Thompson's Personnel Director, responsible for patronage hiring. In 1984 he managed Ronald Reagan's campaign in Illinois, and in 1985 Thompson appointed him as Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Michael Bakalis - Governor Jim Thompson Project

In 1978 the Democratic Party selected Michael Bakalis, the young State Comptroller, to run for governor against 'Big' Jim Thompson, a popular young governor with just two years in office. Bakalis had become involved in Illinois Democratic politics in the late 1960s while he was a young faculty member at Northern Illinois University. In 1970 the Democratic Party slated him to run for Superintendent of Public Education, and he won after a spirited campaign. In 1976 he was elected as the State Comptroller. In 1978 Bakalis ran as a fiscal conservative and social moderate, but the race was more about image than issues, and he managed to pull only 40 percent of the vote against Thompson’s 59 percent.

Paul Baker - Educational Reform Act 1985

Dr. Paul Baker, while overseeing the Educational Administration and Foundation at Illinois State from 1985 to 2001, helped conduct research on the Educational Reform Act of 1985. Being a participant in the research being done prior to 1985 in such areas as school effectiveness, essential schools, critical thinking, learning communities, and active learners, Dr. Baker then monitored and researched some of the Act’s many reforms.

Russell Baker - World War II

Russell H. Baker is a Marine veteran of the Pacific theater. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, where he served in the unit's Intelligence section (S-2). Russell subsequently participated in the invasion of Guam.

Jearl Ballow - Vietnam War

Jearl 'Buck' Ballow was a member of Douglas MacArthur's GHQ staff in Tokyo from 1950 through 1953. Completing high school, he then returned to the Army in 1955, eventually becoming a Warrant Officer and CID agent in the mid-1960s. He was on the floor of the 1968 Democratic Convention, then was shipped to Okinawa, spending several years there fighting the island's drug epidemic.

Jearl Ballow - Korean War

In 1965, Ballow attended training to become an Army Criminal Investigator, and was subsequently commissioned as a Warrant Officer. In 1969, during the height of the Vietnam War, Ballow was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. While there, the Island commander put him in charge of fighting the growing drug problem then plaguing military forces on the island. Because of his effectiveness, the commander blocked several attempts to transfer Warrant Officer Ballow to Vietnam.

Jim Banovetz - Pension Crisis in Illinois

Jim Banovetz, Director Emeritus from Northern Illinois University’s Graduate Program in Public Administration and Center for Government Studies, discussed his involvement as a staffer in 1969 on the Illinois State Constitutional Convention, which was adopted in 1970. He discussed the Convention's deliberations on home rule for Illinois municipal governments as well as the delegates' discussion on the pension clause. Banovetz also discussed local government pensions, the relationship between pensions and public union collective bargaining, and the various efforts to deal with Illinois's pension problems since the mid 1990’s.

Jason Barickman - Public School Funding

Senator Jason Barickman discusses his involvement with the effort to change Illinois's school funding formula. He discusses the legislative period from 2012 to 2019. He reviews the challenges in the previous school formula, including funding inequities, the cutbacks found in downstate schools due to the lack of revenue, the negative impact of pro-rating state aid for the neediest schools, and issues related to the state budget (or lack of one) including rising pension and Medicaid costs. He talks about how the new evidence based school funding model became the preferred choice for funding reform, which included support from grass root groups like Vision 20/20, as well as past and present school funding court cases, and various governor commissions.

Claire Edgecomb, Ron Krause, and J. Michael Barker - People of Faith

In 2014 representatives from three ELCA Lutheran congregations in Springfield, Illinois, all with aging congregations and facing the loss of their minister, began discussions on the possibility of blending their three congregations into one. They agreed that the former Atonement Lutheran Church facility would be the location for the new church, but that was just the start of lengthy discussions. Mike Barker (Atonement Lutheran), Clair Edgecomb (Faith Lutheran) and Ron Krause (Luther Memorial) share their memories of the year-long process that eventually resolved all of the issues involved with combining three congregations into one. The end result was that a new congregation, Peace Lutheran Church, held its first service in September 2015.

Makenna Barker - Modern Era

A twelve year-old tells about her 4-H projects.

Dr. Mildred Barnes - Girls Basketball

Born January 12, 1930 in New York and raised in Massachusetts, Dr. Mildred Barnes was involved in sports before the establishment of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics in the United States. Dr. Barnes coached at the high school and collegiate level, and served in various leadership capacities at the state, regional, and national level. She was involved in the transition from six to five player basketball for women, the 1975 Pan-Am Games and 1976 Olympic Games team selections as well as serving on the AIAW. Dr. Barnes was inducted into the Girls’ Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

William 'Bill' Barnhart - Journalists View

Bill Barnhart spent the bulk of his life as a journalist, first with the Chicago based 'City News Bureau,' then the 'Suburban Tribune,' and starting in 1979 with the 'Chicago Tribune,' where he wrote a daily column for the Business Section. He retired from the Trib in 2008. He has coauthored two books with former state legislator Gene Schlickman, the first on former Illinois governor Otto Kerner, who served from 1961 to 1968, the second on the legal career of Justice John Paul Stevens.

Barb Barrows - IHSA

Barb Barrows discusses her involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) through her experiences as a high school athlete, a high school coach (soccer, track, and softball), an IHSA gymnastics and badminton sports advisory member, and an athletic director at the newly created Neuqua Valley High School for over 20 years. Barrows details the challenges facing an athletic director moving into a brand new suburban high school with only freshmen and sophomores enrolled. She had to determine which sports should be offered, hire coaches, develop a budget, create team schedules, select uniforms, and organize parent/booster support groups. The high school program has now grown to over 28 sport teams. During her tenure the school's teams have earned 10 state championships and 178 team championships. The school's stadium was renamed after Barrows in honor of her dedication to Neuqua athletics.

Ellyn Bartges - Girls Basketball

Growing up in Hinsdale, Illinois, Ellyn played for one of the eight teams that competed in the first state tournaments for girl's basketball. After graduating college with a degree in history, Ellyn was an assistant basketball coach at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte from 1988 through 1994. After challenging the university about violations of Title IX, Ellyn and her partner moved to Macomb, Illinois. Throughout her career, Ellyn conducted twenty-six oral history interviews with coaches, players, administrators, and referees whose stories went hand in hand with Title IX.

Ellyn Bartges - Family Memories

Growing up in Hinsdale, Illinois, Ellyn Bartges played in the first Illinois State Girls Basketball Tournaments. After graduating college with a degree in history, Ellyn eventually landed an assistant basketball coach position at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte from 1988 through 1994. After challenging the university about violations of Title IX, Ellyn moved to Macomb, Illinois. While working on her master's degree, Ellyn conducted twenty-six oral history interviews with coaches, players, administrators, and referees about the birth of girls' basketball in Illinois and the impact of Title IX.

David Bartlett - Community College Project

Dave Bartlett began his many years at South Suburban Community College in 1967 when the school was named Thornton Junior College and was located in Harvey, in south suburban Chicago. During his many years with the institution, he moved with the campus to South Holland in 1972, and saw the school's name change in 1988 to South Suburban Community College. He recounts much of the school's history during this interview.

Richard Bartolotti - Vietnam War

In an attempt to avoid going straight to Vietnam during the war, Bartolotti signed up for the Marine Corps. However, once he completed basic training in San Diego, California, Bartolotti ended up flying straight to Da Nang, South Vietnam. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 7th Regiment, 3rd Battalion. He shares stories about his rigorous training, his grenade-inflicted injury, and the immense culture shock he experienced not only after he landed in Vietnam for the first time, but when he finally came back home from the war as well.

Bob Bastas - Korean War

Bob Bastas served with the U.S. Air Force as a personnel clerk in Korea from late 1952 through August 1953. Responsible for maintaining sensitive personnel files for the 1993 Airway and Air Communications Squadron at Kimpo Air Base, he shares his observations of U.S. and U.N. operations, American efforts to deliver propaganda over enemy lines, and the life of an enlisted airman during the war.

Lela Baum - Alternatives in Education

Fluffy Baum discusses the history of the Bond County Pre-kindergarten, Parenting, and Birth-to-Three programs, which began as the result of a competitive state grant in 1989. Fluffy explains how these three programs began, covering school districts in Bond and Fayette Counties. Following a split between the two counties, Baum discussed the two Bond school districts of Mulberry Grove C.U. #1 and Bond County C.U. #2. She talks at length about the growth of the program from 40 children to 240 children, and its development over her many years of service.

Frederick Baumberger - Modern Era

A retired grain and livestock farmer talks about his life on the farm.

Edith Baumhardt - Rochester

Edith (Motzkus) Baumhardt was born in the Ruhr Valley of Germany in 1924 and came of age in Hitler's Germany while living in Cologne. Her father was a police officer and an administrator. Edith was forced to join the Hitler Youth, and survived the Allied bombing of Cologne. At the end of the war the family fled to the Allied lines. She immigrated to the United State in 1958, settling in Rochester, where she spent the rest of her life. She married Walter Baumhardt in 1967 and instantly became the step-mother of five young children. She held many positions, including translating and teaching German, but also French, Polish and English.

Harold Beard - World War II

Harold Beard enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard prior to World War II, and in early 1941 was inducted into the active Army. He received training as a mechanic, and spent the last year of the war serving as a mechanic in an artillery unit in northern Europe. He experienced combat, and saw first hand the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.

Dorothy Beck - Community College Project

Dorothy Beck began her career in education at Blackhawk Community College in 1969, teaching English and Philosophy, the beginning of a long career. She eventually served as president of the Faculty Senate. Dorothy was selected to write a book on Blackhawk Community College as part of the school's 50th anniversary. Following her retirement she was elected as a School Trustee in 2011. Her interview covers the history of Moline Community College, which became Blackhawk College in 1961.

Frank Beck - School District Reorganization

Dr. Frank Beck is a scholar at Illinois State University who has done extensive studies on school closure issue, examining the demographic, economic, and educational causes of school closure, the most important and leading trends leading to closure, the results of school closure, and what if any benefits may a closure cause a county, district, or community.

Peter Beckwith - Cold War Era

Peter Beckwith began a career in the Catholic Church when he was ordained at the age of twenty-five. In 1972 Beckwith began a dual career when he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy Reserve. He discusses these two aspects of his life, and the opportunities and challenges they posed. In 1995, Peter was selected for flag rank, a title which he held until his retirement from the Navy in 1999.



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