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The 2014 Illinois History Symposium – March 27-28, 2014

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The 2014 Illinois History Symposium entitled "The Civil War, Part III: Copperheads, Contraband, and the Rebirth of Freedom" will be held on Thursday and Friday, March 27-28, 2014 at the Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University – Charleston, Illinois. The symposium coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Charleston (Illinois) Copperhead Riot, the presidential election of 1864, and the 13th Amendment (2015).

It is sponsored by The Illinois State Historical Society, Booth Library, the History Department at E.I.U., the Coles County Historical Society, and the Illinois State Genealogical Society. The 2014 Illinois History Symposium is open to scholars, academics, students, and to amateur and professional historians.

The Illinois State Historical Society incorporated in 1900 after a meeting at the University of Illinois campus in 1899. Two of the founders were Judge Hiram W. Beckwith, then President of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library (I.S.H.L.), which evolved into the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, then Librarian of the I.S.H.L

In 1903, it became “legally affiliated with the State Historical Library,” in the words of Mrs. Weber’s friend Professor Evarts Boutell Greene of Columbia University recounted in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. That same year, Mrs. Weber was elected Secretary & Treasurer of the Illinois State Historical Society.

She was re-elected in 1904. Judge Beckwith served as first President of the Illinois State Historical Society.

In 1908, Mrs. Weber established the quarterly Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. She remained publisher until her death.

In 1913, when the Illinois General Assembly appointed the Centennial Commission to organize state-wide celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the State of Illinois’s admission into the Union, it consisted of members of both houses, three representatives of the University of Illinois, and two representatives - the president and secretary - of the Illinois State Historical Society. Mrs. Weber was consequently elected Secretary of the Centennial Commission, which meant, as Professor Greene pointed out, she was simultaneously running the Illinois State Historical Library, the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Centennial Commission. In addition to organizing the centennial celebrations in 1918, the Centennial Commission’s work led to the publication of the six-volume Illinois Centennial History, and the construction of the Centennial Building.

The Illinois State Historical Society formerly occupied the Centennial Building (now the Michael J. Howlett Building) with the Illinois State Library and the I.S.H.L. In 1997, The Illinois State Historical Society became fully independent organization from the state government.

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