Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wonderland (Amusement) Park, Danville, Illinois (South) / Tilton, Illinois

Wonderland Park was built circa 1903, by William B. McKinley, chief executive of the Illinois Traction System.
Wonderland Amusement Park was only open on Sundays. Round trip fare was 10 cents. Admission was free if you presented your round trip ticket for the interurban train. There were baseball games during the week but none of the rides or other attractions were open.
Note the misspelling of "Shoot the Chutes" on this postcard.
There was a Minor League Baseball team (class D), the "Danville Old Soldiers" listed as playing in Wonderland Park in 1906. 

The name Wonderland Park was changed to Wayside Park in 1907.

An article in the Danville Daily Democrat of June 16, 1907, describes it this way: 
"With pretty flowers, green grass, newly painted buildings, a handsome merry-go-round, which has cost $3,000 to place, practically new roller-coaster, a penny arcade not excelled outside of Chicago, a handsome new Nickelodeon, a theater filled with the stellar lights of comic opera, four additional small shows, cages of fine animals from the provinces of Brazil, eating-stands and dozens of new features which have been added to the old ones which stood in Wonderland Park last year, the new Wayside far overshadows anything ever shown in this or any other city in the state, even twice the size of Danville."
According to an article in the Danville Press-Democrat, Wayside Park was dismantled in April of 1909

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Thank you Leann Stine of the Danville Public Library, for adding information about Wonderland Park. 

Marguerite Stitt Church, Congresswoman.

After years of assisting the political career of her husband, Ralph Church, and working for various charities, Marguerite Stitt Church won election to the House of Representatives to succeed Congressman Church after his death in 1950. Congresswoman Church sought and gained a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, traveling to more than 40 countries and seeing firsthand how U.S. foreign aid was employed in them.
Marguerite Stitt was born in New York City on September 13, 1892, the daughter of William and Adelaide Stitt. She developed an interest in foreign countries at an early age when her parents took her abroad each summer as a child. She attended St. Agatha School in New York City and, later, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, earned an A.B. in psychology with a minor in economics and sociology from Wellesley College in 1914. After graduation, she taught a biblical history course at Wellesley for a year before enrolling in a masters program in economics and sociology at Columbia University. She completed her graduate degree in 1917 and worked for a year as a consulting psychologist with the State Charities Aid Association of New York City. 

In 1918, she traveled to Chicago and met Illinois state legislator Ralph Church. The couple married that December and settled in Evanston, Illinois, where they raised three children: Ralph, William, and Marjory. Marguerite Church worked in a succession of organizations devoted to family and children’s welfare. In 1934, Ralph Church was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to the first of seven terms in a seat representing the densely populated suburbs just north of Chicago. Marguerite embarked with him on investigative trips, making her own speaking tour on behalf of Republican presidential campaigns in 1940 and 1944. During and after World War II, at her husband’s request, she made several inspection tours of Europe. In Washington she served as president of the Congressional Club, a group of wives and daughters of Members of Congress, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court. But she later recalled that while he was alive she never seriously considered a political career. “My political life was one of adaptation to his life,” Church observed. Nevertheless, her experience as a congressional spouse was critical to her later success, making her “a realist as regards the practical operation of Congress.”

Ralph Church died suddenly of heart failure during a House committee hearing in March 1950. Shortly thereafter, GOP leaders in Illinois persuaded Marguerite Church to run for her husband’s vacant seat. “If a man had been nominated and made a mistake, you would have said he is stupid,” Church said at the time. “If I make a mistake, you will say she is a woman. I shall try never to give you reason to say that.” In the general election that fall, she defeated Democrat Thomas F. Dolan with 74 percent of the vote. In her next five re–election bids, she was never seriously challenged, winning between 66 and 72 percent of the vote. “The [local GOP] organization, of course, never considered anybody else after I got in,” Church recalled. “They just went along.” Much of her success was due to her attention to district needs. She returned to Illinois frequently, opened her home to voters, and personally dictated replies to an average of 600 letters per week. Her cardinal rule was if anyone came asking for help, “never let yourself ask, ‘Is he a Republican or a Democrat?’…We never made any political distinction whatsoever, and I think that was one reason that in the long run people began to trust me.” Church’s independence also earned her the respect of colleagues.

When Church took her seat in the 82nd Congress (1951–1953), she was assigned to the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments (later Government Operations), where she chaired a special subcommittee investigating President Dwight Eisenhower’s reorganization of the Council of Economic Advisers. Church was instrumental in helping to pass recommendations offered by the Second Hoover Commission on efficiency in government. In 1957, Church supported the Civil Rights Bill. She also was one of the first Members to bring African–American guests into the House dining room, when she treated six young newsboys to lunch. Capitol staff told her she would never get through the door. “Well,” she replied, the boys have worked hard selling newspapers “and I certainly do not intend to tell them they can’t luncheon in the dining room of their own Capitol.” The group ate lunch in the dining room. Though not “militant about a woman’s rights,” Church supported women’s rights legislation, including the Equal Pay Bill. She encouraged women entering politics to think of themselves as public servants rather than advocates of feminism. She believed in “equal protection under the law for both men and women, period.”

Church left Government Operations in the 84th Congress (1955–1957) to focus exclusively on her Foreign Affairs Committee assignment (which she had received two years earlier). After winning re–election in 1952, she had been offered a spot on the prestigious Appropriations Committee, where her husband once sat and, in fact, where only one woman had previously served. The committee chairman made the offer, but Church declined. “I’m awfully sorry,” she replied. “I’ve spent all summer trying to persuade people that it would be a loss to the country if they didn’t put me on the Foreign Affairs Committee. That has become my major interest.” She later claimed that she did not want to accept an assignment that, she believed, was made partly as a tribute to her husband. She served on Foreign Affairs until she retired from Congress.

Church’s chief interests and influence flowed from her work on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where she was assigned to the Subcommittee on Foreign Economic Policy. She was a skeptic of large foreign–aid bills appropriated for many of America’s Cold War allies in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. “The idea that you can win friends and influence people merely by pouring out millions—and it’s amounted by this time to billions—never caught my attention or my faith,” she recalled. As a member of the Subcommittee on the Far East and the Pacific, she traveled widely to witness firsthand the implementation of American programs. “Some officials protested that this was no place for a lady,” Church told a reporter. “I told them I was not a lady. I was a Member of Congress.” In 1959, while Ranking Republican Member on the Foreign Economic Policy Subcommittee, she logged more than 40,000 miles in 17 countries. Her experience with a group of tribal women in a remote sub–Saharan African village shaped her view of how foreign aid should be targeted. “These women, I found, didn’t want guns; they didn’t want atomic plants; they didn’t want navies,” Church said. “They wanted someone who could show them the next step up from where they were to where they’d like to be.”

During the first year of the John F. Kennedy administration, that memory factored into her championing of the Peace Corps, which sought to provide educational and technological support to developing countries through the work of trained college–aged American volunteers. During a September 14, 1961, debate, seven–term Representative H.R. Gross of Iowa launched a verbal diatribe against the Peace Corps program. Gross described it as a “Kiddie Korps,” reminiscent of Hitler’s youth corps in Nazi Germany, and a “utopian brainstorm” that would exacerbate the U.S. deficit. In response, Congresswoman Church entered the well of the House to speak on behalf of the program, recounting her numerous trips abroad where she had seen foreign–aid dollars misspent and misdirected in the battle for the developing world. “Here is something which is aimed right,” Church told colleagues, “which is American, which is sacrificial—and which above all can somehow carry at the human level, to the people of the world, what they need to know; what it is to be free; what it is to have a next step and be able to take it; what it is to have something to look forward to, in an increase of human dignity and confidence.” A GOP colleague recalled that Church’s floor speech was critical in persuading a number of reluctant Republicans to support the measure. “You quite literally could see people who had been uncertain or perhaps who had already decided to vote against the Peace Corps sit there, listen to her very quietly and start to rethink,” Representative Catherine May of Washington State said.” Later that afternoon, the Peace Corps legislation passed the House by a wide margin, 288 to 97.

In 1962, as an advocate of mandatory retirement for Members of Congress and facing reapportionment in her district, Church set her own example by retiring at age 70 after the close of the 87th Congress (1961–1963) in January 1963. She worked on behalf of the Republican presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Richard M. Nixon in 1968. She later served on the boards of directors for the Girl Scouts of America and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. In 1971, President Nixon selected Church to serve on the planning board for the White House Conference on Aging. 

Marguerite Church resided in Evanston, Illinois, where she died on May 26, 1990 at 97 years old.

By History, Art & Archives
Editor; Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

The history of Illinois Training School for Nurses at Cook County Hospital, Chicago.

The Illinois Training School for Nurses (ITSN) was established September 21, 1880 by a group of prominent Chicago women dedicated to the prospect of training young women to care scientifically for the sick.
The old Cook County Hospital. Original building when school entered on May 1, 1881. Administration building (center) finished in 1882.
Twenty-five directors, all female, headed the project. Prominent among these were Sarah L. Wright, Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson, Margaret Lawrence, Lucy L. Flower, and Elizabeth B. Carpenter.
Illinois Training School for Nurses - Nurses Home.
Considerable political opposition to the plan was based on the belief that modest young women of good moral character were not suited for a profession which required a rigorous education, long hours of work, and intimate contact with strangers. However, on November 13, 1880, the Chicago Medical Society passed a resolution affirming its support for ITSN. On December 1, the Cook County Commissioners and the Training School reached an agreement that the county would pay the school to provide trained instructors and student nurses to staff one medical and one surgical ward of the Cook County Hospital.
Illinois Training School for Nurses student's room.
Illinois Training School for Nurses student's room.
On May 1, 1881 the first pupil nurses began working in the wards, replacing untrained male nurses who had held their positions through political appointments. Later that year, the school began providing nurses for the lying-in ward[1]. Other wards followed shortly: in 1882 all remaining female and medical wards; in 1883 the surgical wards; in 1893 the contagious disease hospital; in 1897 the skin and venereal wards. Eventually, ITSN provided nursing service for every ward of Cook County Hospital. Working so closely with one of the world's largest public hospitals, the Illinois Training School for Nurses attracted many prominent pioneers in nursing education. Superintendents of ITSN included Mary Brown and Edith Draper from New York's Bellevue Training School, Mary C. Wheeler, an early ITSN graduate, and Laura Logan, who helped establish the University of Cincinnati school of Nursing. Under the leadership of women like these, ITSN gradually added to its curriculum many special programs and pioneering innovations, including private nursing, a visiting nurses service, post-graduate and dieticians' programs, and affiliation with other nursing schools.

First graduates from the Illinois Training School for Nurses; Spring & Fall of 1883.
1) Sophie Falk, 2) Melissa J. Bartles, 3) Angie Bean, 4) Phebe Brown,
5) Anna Steere 6) Helen Nutting 7) Janet Topping
Private nursing was begun in April, 1883 as a service to the sick outside the hospital. Trained student nurses were dispatched to work full time in private homes, thus filling a genuine need within the community while simultaneously raising additional funds for the school.

Crerar nursing, begun in the fall of 1892 through a bequest of John Crerar, was a particularly important service in the years before the widespread activities of the Visiting Nurses Association. Crerar nurses, who were ITSN students, provided nursing care in the homes of low-income families who paid a minimal fee to the school. In this way, ITSN was able to provide a community service as it trained students. Private nursing and Crerar nursing were important public relations measures that helped create public support for a school which increasingly depended on contributions and bequests to purchase buildings and expand services and training.
Illinois Training School for Nurses - Nursery
In May, 1885, ITSN agreed to provide nurses for the Presbyterian Hospital. This service was interrupted in November for financial reasons but was resumed in 1888. It continued for fifteen years until 1903, when the increasing size of both Presbyterian and Cook County Hospitals made it impossible for ITSN to staff both facilities.

In 1895, ITSN began admitting a few post-graduate nurses. In 1920 a post-graduate course for dieticians was established, for which a college degree was a pre-requisite.
Medical staff including Dr. F.A. Besley holding infants at the Illinois Training School for Nurses.
Affiliation was begun in 1905. This program allowed students from smaller schools to spend their final year of training at ITSN, working in the wards of Cook County Hospital and gaining a breadth of experience unavailable in smaller hospitals. Dixon Hospital, Brokaw Hospital of Bloomington, Passavant of Chicago, and the Moline Hospital were some of the early participants in the program.

With its many special programs and innovations in the field of nursing education, ITSN was long interested in improving education for nurses and elevating their professional status. The quality of education at ITSN was consistently upgraded over the years through the addition of more required medical and scientific coursework, a greater breadth of practical experience in the hospital wards, and an increase in the length of time required to receive the nursing certificate, from 24 months to 36 months.
Illinois Training School for Nurses
Graduation Pin
In 1926, after much exploration of the issue, ITSN reached an agreement to merge its corporate identity with the University of Chicago (U of C). In return, U of C would later establish a nursing school which would award its graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree. ITSN continued to operate independently until 1929, when the merger took effect and ITSN ceased to exist. All ITSN property and assets reverted to the University of Chicago and ITSN contracts with the Cook County Commissioners were terminated.

The County Commissioners, who had relied almost entirely upon ITSN nurses to staff the Cook County Hospital, established its own training school to perform the same function. The County rented the former ITSN facilities from their new owner, the University of Chicago, hired the former ITSN faculty to staff the school, and allowed ITSN students to transfer with full credit to the Cook County School of Nursing (CCSN). Although CCSN appeared to be a continuation of ITSN, the Illinois Training School had actually ceased to exist as a corporate identity upon its legal merger with the University of Chicago. The name of the Illinois Training School for Nurses was to be perpetuated in a scholarship fund for the University of Chicago's School of Nursing.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] Lying-in (or confinement) is an old childbirth practice involving a woman having bed rest in the postpartum period after giving birth.

"History of the Illinois Training School for Nurses, 1880-1929." Published 1930.
In my Digital Research Library of Illinois History®