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Gene Callahan - General Interest

For over 40 years Gene Callahan worked in the political arena, first as a journalist with the Illinois State Register (Springfield) from 1957 to 1967, then as assistant press secretary for Gov. Sam Shapiro, and Lt. Gov. Paul Simon's press secretary until 1972. In 1974 he began his long association with Alan Dixon, when Dixon served as Illinois state Treasurer, then Illinois Secretary of State. When Dixon moved to the U.S. Senate in 1981, Callahan became his chief of staff and most trusted political advisor. After Dixon lost a reelection bid to Carol Mosley Braun in 1992, Callahan worked for several years as the chief lobbyist for Major League Baseball, fighting to preserve its exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act. His long friendship with Senator Dick Durbin dates back to the days when both worked for Lt. Gov. Simon.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life through Callahan’s journalistic career to 1967

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Years with Sam Shapiro, Paul Simon & Alan Dixon to 1980

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Years with Senator Dixon, 1980 - 1986

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Dixon’s 2nd term as U.S. Senator & defeat in 1992

Interview Session 05 (Audio)

Years as lobbyist for Major League Baseball, 1993-98

Transcript

Photos

Caption

Gene Callahan’s high school graduation photograph from Milford High School in 1951.

Where:

Milford High School

When:

1951

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Joe Callahan, Gene’s father, as he appeared in a campaign photo in 1964, the year the ‘bedsheet ballot’ helped him win a seat in the IL General Assembly. Joe was the Democratic Party’s vice-chairman in the Republican stronghold of Iroquois County.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1964

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Gene played baseball during the 1952 through 1954 seasons while attending Illinois College.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene Callahan’s graduation photo for Illinois College in 1955.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1955

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene pitched for the Illinois College Blueboys during his years there.

Where:

Illinois College

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene regarded James Ronan, the long-time Chairman of the Democratic Party in Illinois, as one of his most important mentors during the 1960s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene Callahan joins a group of reporters with John F. Kennedy in 1960 during the candidate’s visit to Illinois. From left to right are reporters Thiem, Jones, Fitzpatrick, Bradley, Dallman, Kimble, Miller, Callahan, Shaughnessy, Armstrong and Gonko.

Where:

Illinois State Capital

When:

1960

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Callahan is featured as the Illinois State Register’s political reporter in a piece of promotional material for the newspaper during the 1960s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

The infamous ‘bed-sheet ballot’ of 1964, where all of Illinois’s General Assembly candidates had to be listed on one at-large ballot due to Illinois’s political leaders’ inability to resolve the redistricting requirements stemming from the 1960 census.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1964

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Governor Otto Kerner (1961-1967) personalized this photo for Gene Callahan during his reportage days with the Illinois State Register.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Callahan is third from the left in this photo of the Sangamon County Young Democrats, circa 1962. Also in the photo, from left to right, are Jim Moody, Randy Richter, Callahan, Bob Flynn, John Fitzgerald O’Brien and Bob Flannigan.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1962

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Sportsman Park as it appeared in the 1960s. It was the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, Callahan’s favorite team, for decades. Gene was there, along with his son Dan on May 8, 1966 when the Cardinals played their last game in the venerable old park.

Where:

Sportsman Park

When:

circa 1966

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Lieutenant Governor Paul Simon is flanked by his staff in 1969. From left to right are Ray Johnsen, Lorraine Gillespie, Mary Lou Speaks, Yvonne Rice, Leroy Wehrle and Gene Callahan, who worked as Simon’s press secretary and administrative assistant.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1969

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain. The photo appeared in the biennial Illinois Blue Book.

Caption

Gene with Senator Alan Dixon in 1976 when Callahan served as Dixon’s Chief of Staff.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1976

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Alan Dixon and Paul Simon peer out from a train locomotive some time during the Governor Ogilvie administration. The two were working on rail issues at the time, and signed the photo for Gene Callahan in 1985.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1985

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene Callahan in the mid 1990s shortly after he went to work for Major League Baseball as its chief lobbyist on anti-trust issues.

Where:

Unknown

When:

mid-1990s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A signed photo of Allen (Bud) Selig, the President and CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers, who in 1992 also became acting commissioner of Major League Baseball. He was finally officially elevated to the post in 1998.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene Callahan with Vice President Al Gore in the mid-1990s, when Callahan worked for Major League Baseball.

Where:

Unknown

When:

mid-1990s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Callahans take a moment to celebrate at the 1994 Springfield Sports Hall of fame. From left to right are Gene, Ann, Lynn, Chari and Dan.

Where:

Springfield Sports Hall of Fame, Springfield, IL

When:

1994

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Dan Callahan, Gene’s son, while Dan coached the Southern Illinois University “Salukis’ men’s baseball team in the mid 1990s. Dan experienced a very brief professional baseball career of his own before turning to coaching.

Where:

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

When:

mid 1990s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Callahans get together in Kansas City in the late 1990s when Gene’s niece Colleen was inaugurated as the first woman president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. Colleen, in the center, is flanked by her daughter and husband, Dick.

Where:

National Association of Farm Broadcasters, Kansas City

When:

late 1990s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene Callahan meets with President Bill Clinton in early 1995 during a meeting at the White House.

Where:

the White House, Washington D.C.

When:

early 1995

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene with Senator Robert Kerry of Nebraska in 1997 while Gene was with Major League Baseball.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1997

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Callahan meets with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley at the National Mayors’ Conference in Portland Oregon in the 1990s.

Where:

National Mayors' Conference, Portland, OR

When:

1990s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Former Senator Paul Simon as he appeared during his tenure at the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University in the mid 1990s. As always, he proudly sported a bowtie.

Where:

Paul Simon Institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

When:

mid-1990s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Gene Callahan with Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Paul Simon and Jeanne Simon in October of 1996 at a morning meeting that Simon and Dixon hosted for Illinoisans in Washington, D.C.

Where:

Washington D.C.

When:

October 1996

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene Callahan, Stan Cook (Former Chairman of the Chicago Tribune and Chairman of the Chicago Cubs), Jerry Reinsdorf, (owner of both the Chicago Bulls and White Sox), and Senator Dick Durbin at the new U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in the mid-2000s.

Where:

U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL

When:

mid-2000s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jim Burns, Gene Callahan, son Dan Callahan and former Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan help Gene celebrate his retirement from baseball in 1998.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1998

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lynn (Callahan) Ruppert holds up her Springfield High School basketball jersey on the occasion of her number being retired in 2004, the first woman player to be so honored.

Where:

Springfield High School, Springfield, IL

When:

Februrary 13, 2004

Ownership:

Springfield State Journal Register photo, February 13, 2004. May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Gene and Dan Callahan share a lighter moment in 1997.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1997

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Callahan had been a life-long fan of Fats Domino and got an opportunity to meet the R & B legend when Gene visited Fats in his New Orleans home in 2003.

Where:

Home of Fats Domino, New Orleans, LA

When:

2003

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Callahan with long-time friend Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, circa 2008.

Where:

Unknown

When:

circa 2008

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Ann and Gene Callahan outside their home in Springfield circa 1997.

Where:

Callahan Residence, Springfield, Illinois

When:

circa 1997

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene with his grandkids, Brad Ruppert, Joe Bustos and Nick Bustos, in 1996 on the occasion of getting his social security card.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1996

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene, a life-long Democrat, was not shy to declare that he did not vote for Rod Blagojevich when the governor ran for reelection in 2006.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2006

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Lynn (Callahan) Ruppert, Colleen Callahan (Gene’s niece) and Cheri (Callahan) Bustos in 2008 during Colleen’s unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Congress.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2008

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Callahan and his longtime friend, Senator Dick Durbin, in 2008. The two first worked together on Lieutenant Governor Simon’s staff in the late 1960s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2008

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Ann and Gene Callahan with daughters Lynn and Cheri in 2009.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2009

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene and journalist colleague Ray Long (Chicago Tribune statehouse reporter) enjoy a moment at the Illinois State Fair’s Democratic Day in 2011.

Where:

Illinois State Fair Democratic Day

When:

2011

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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