Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chicago Race Riot (the "Red Summer") of 1919.

In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM introduces present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. Presentism is a form of cultural bias creating a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present fact-based and well-researched articles.

Facts don't require one's approval or acceptance.

I present [PG-13] articles without regard to race, color, political party, or religious beliefs, including Atheism, national origin, citizenship status, gender, LGBTQ+ status, disability, military status, or educational level. What I present are facts — NOT Alternative Facts — about the subject. You won't find articles or readers' comments that spread rumors, lies, hateful statements, and members instigating arguments and fights.

The use of old commonly used terms, disrespectful today, i.e., REDMAN
or REDMEN, SAVAGES, and HALF-BREED, are explained in this article.



The Chicago race riot of 1919 was a major racial conflict that began in Chicago, Illinois, on July 27th, 1919 and ended on August 3rd. During the riot, thirty-eight people died (23 Negro and 15 White), and over five hundred were injured. It is considered the worst of the approximately 25 riots during the Red Summer, so named because of the nationwide violence and fatalities. The combination of prolonged arson, looting, and murder made it the worst race riot in the history of Illinois.

According to official reports, the Chicago riots began after Eugene Williams, a Negro teenager, drowned in Lake Michigan after being struck in the head by a rock thrown by a white man angry that Williams and friends had drifted into the "white side" of the informally segregated beach.
John T. McCutcheon, Chicago Tribune, July 28th, 1919, cartoon.
Responding police refused to arrest the white man who was identified as having thrown the rock and instead arrested a Negro man at the scene. When Negro onlookers complained, they were met with violence, and widespread rioting between Negro and white Chicagoans soon spread throughout the city's Negro residential areas. Tensions between groups arose in a melee that blew up into days of unrest.

A horde of young boys ran to the corner where a young Negro man was beaten during Chicago's race riots in 1919. White youngsters drove out Negro residents by stoning their homes during the race riots.
The state militia was called in to quell the violence on the south side of Chicago during the 1919 race riots.
The sociopolitical atmosphere of Chicago was one of the ethnic tension caused by competition among many new groups. During the Great Migration, thousands of Negroes from the South had settled next to neighborhoods of European immigrants on Chicago's South Side, near the stockyards and meatpacking plants. With industrial jobs in the stockyards and meatpacking industry opening as European immigration was cut off by World War I, from 1916 to 1919, the Negro population in Chicago increased from 44,000 to 109,000, a 148 percent increase during the decade.
Police removed the body of a Negro man killed during the 1919 race riots. The five days of violence were sparked when a Negro teenager crossed an invisible boundary between the waters of the 29th Street beach, known to be reserved for whites, and the 25th Street beach, known to be reserved for Negroes.
The state militia held its ground at 47th and Wentworth Avenue during Chicago's race riot in 1919.
The Irish had been established first and fiercely defended their territory and political power against all newcomers. Post-World War I tensions caused friction between the races, especially in the competitive labor and housing markets. Overcrowding and increased Negro militancy by veterans contributed to the visible racial clashes. Also, a combination of ethnic gangs and police neglect strained racial relationships.
The mounted police rounded up "stray" negroes and escorted them back to a safety zone during the race riots in Chicago in 1919.
The state militia was mobilized in Chicago at the height of the 1919 race riot.
The state militia marched through Chicago during the 1919 race riots.
Heavily armed motorcycle and foot policemen stood at the ready for instant transportation to quell the rioting on Chicago's south side on July 30th, 1919. 
William Hale Thompson was the Mayor of Chicago during the riot, and a game of brinksmanship with Illinois Governor Frank Lowden may have exacerbated the riot since Thompson refused to ask Lowden to send in the National Guard for four days, despite Lowden ensuring that the guardsmen were in Chicago and ready to intervene.
Troops gather at 47th Street and Wentworth Avenue during the Chicago race riots. 
A soldier tells a man to "back up" during the race riots in Chicago 1919. The soldiers were in place to keep white people in their own districts.
Although future mayor Richard J. Daley never officially acknowledged being part of the violence, at age 17, he was an active member of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club, which a post-riot investigation named as an instigator in attacks on Negroes. In the following decades, Daley continued to rise in politics to become the city's mayor for twenty-one years.
Many houses in the predominantly white stockyards district were set ablaze during the 1919 race riots. The five days of violence were sparked when a Negro teenager crossed an invisible boundary between the waters of the 29th Street beach, known to be reserved for whites, and the 25th Street beach, known to be reserved for Negroes.
People look over the remains of a destroyed building in the Union Stock Yards neighborhood during the 1919 Chicago race riots. Photo dated August 2nd, 1919.
Members of a white mob ran with bricks in hand during the Chicago race riot of 1919. Photographer unknown.
United States President Woodrow Wilson and the United States Congress attempted to promote legislation and organizations to decrease racial discord in America. Illinois Governor Frank Lowden took several actions at Thompson's request to quell the riot and promote greater harmony in its aftermath.
A man armed with a machine gun sits at the Cook County Jail during the
1919 Chicago race riots.
Sections of the Chicago economy were shut down for several days during and after the riots since plants were closed to avoid interaction among bickering groups. Mayor Thompson drew on his association with this riot to influence later political elections.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 
Photographs copyright 
© Chicago Tribune

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Captain John Stevens, Naperville Illinois' first professional builder.

Thousands of fine homes in modern Naperville have been built in a ring of subdivisions that developed around the small farm village that was first settled in the early 1830s, when northern Illinois was still an undeveloped frontier.

The first building boom started with the completion of a dam and sawmill on the DuPage River, which supplied the materials needed for homes and barns. The Naper Sawmill began operating in 1832; most homes at the time were stick-built or lumber hand sawn from native trees. Many of these early homes were constructed by Naperville's first professional builder, John Stevens.

John Stevens, born in Rindge, New Hampshire on September 2, 1785. While quite young, his family moved to Hartland, Vermont. Once married to Miss Polly Taylor, a native of Hartland, they moved to Enosburg, Vermont where he operated a farm and tavern. He was also a millwright, a builder, the captain of a sailing vessel on Lake Champlain, and a good friend of Joseph Naper, whose stories of the rich new land in Illinois, soon to be opened for settlement by the government, prompted Stevens to leave Vermont in June, 1832, and head for Illinois.

Joseph Naper is credited with founding Naperville along the DuPage River in 1831. The town became the county seat when DuPage County was established in 1839. Naper drew the first plat in 1842 and was elected the president of the board when the village of Naperville was incorporated in 1857.

Stevens' first job in what was later to become Naperville was to help the Napers construct their sawmill. His talents were readily apparent, leading to several requests to build homes for the growing number of settlers. With his future assured, Stevens instructed his wife, Polly, to sell their properties in Vermont and to join him in Illinois.

Polly arrived with their two sons, six daughters, and three sons-in-law. Three of the Stevens' daughters were pregnant; daughter Lucetta soon gave birth to William Laird, the first known Caucasian child born in DuPage County.

The family settled on Stevens' claim, which extended from the present-day West Street in Naperville, 80 acres east of the river and 80 acres west of the river. The family planted corn while Stevens began his career as a builder.

Naperville became an important stop at the crossroads of two main stage routes that ran from Chicago to Galena and to Ottawa.

The first house, the "Century House," was built in 1833 by Captain John Stevens who is believed to have sailed here with Joseph Naper, the Founder of Naperville. The building was for George Martin, which stood on the south side of the DuPage River on the current site of Rotary Hill Park, across from Naperville High School. It was the first frame building constructed in DuPage County. The beams, flooring, and siding were cut out from large walnut trees on the Martin Property, milled into lumber at the Naper sawmill. The joists, studs, and rafters were sawn from Martin's oak trees. The sturdy foundation was fashioned with limestone blocks from the quarry that is now Naperville's Centennial Park. This well-crafted, landmark house was continuously occupied for 117 years until it was destroyed by fire in 1958.

While John Stevens was the first Naperville builder, his son-in-law, George Laird, was the first Naperville builder to go broke. Laird had begun constructing an inn and tavern in downtown Naperville, on the north bank of the DuPage River. He ran out of money before completing the structure, so Stevens stepped in to finish what became one of the most famous buildings in DuPage County history: The Pre-Emption House.
The Pre-Emption House was the first hotel in DuPage County. John Stevens' son-in-law, George Laird, began construction on the hotel and Stevens finished it in time for the 1836 4th of July celebration.
The Pre-Emption House was the first hotel in DuPage County and Stevens its first proprietor. To celebrate the occasion, he hosted a gala grand opening party on the 4th of July, 1836. The patriotic ceremonies featured a Grand March of civic organizations and dignitaries, which paraded from the Pre-Emption House to a nearby church. The assembled crowd listened to a reading of the Declaration of Independence and heard Captain Naper's announcement of his plans to run for the state legislature. Stevens took the floor and invited everyone to an outdoor dinner served under an arbor next to the Inn.
June 10, 1931: The original Pre-Emption House at Main Street and Chicago Avenue in Naperville. Built in 1831, it was one of President Lincoln's favorite stops and one of the oldest taverns in the United States.
The Pre-Emption House quickly became the focal point of the community as well as an important travel stop on the new Southwest plank road to Chicago. Its guests included many notables of the day, including Abraham Lincoln, who spoke to an admiring crowd from the porch roof. 

Eight Naperville businesses contributed to the development of the Southwest Plank Road, which was completed in 1851 and connected Chicago, Naperville, and Oswego. The new plank road was constructed using wooden planks, 3 inches thick and 8 feet wide. These were nailed to log stringers at the outer edges. To cover the cost of constructing and maintaining the road, the owners charged toll fees: 37¢ for a four-horse vehicle, 25¢ for a single team of horses, 12¢ for a horse with rider, 4¢ for a head of cattle, etc.
Hay wagon on the Southwest Plank Road, circa 1852.
In the 1870’s, maps described the road simply as “North Boulevard," however, in 1877, the entire length of road was re-named Ogden Avenue after the first mayor of Chicago, William B. Ogden. By 1874, the plank road disappeared and eventually became just another gravel road. But, when Daniel Burnham published his master plan for Chicago in 1909, Ogden Avenue was proposed as one of the key arterial streets for handling the expected growth in motorcar travel.

These businessmen then opposed a Naperville right-of-way for the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad when its representatives came prospecting that same year. The Galena line went through Wheaton instead. But the town got a second chance when the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad ran its line through Naperville in 1864.

This historic event was portrayed by the late Naperville artist Lester Schrader and is today exhibited at the Naperville Heritage Society Museum. The Pre-Emption House served the community from 1834 to 1946 and had several proprietors. The final operators were Frank and Gertrude Wehrli, who raised 13 children in the historic building. The old hotel was dismantled in 1946 but its impact on the community continued to grow over the years. Public interest moved the Naperville Heritage Society to rebuild an exact replica of the Pre-Emption House near the historic Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville.

John Stevens sold the pre-Emption House in 1857, soon after the flood of that year. He built another hotel several blocks away on higher ground, where he lived with his large family until his death. The early years on the frontier were full of hardship. The Stevens' family lost one married son, one married daughter, and three sons-in-law. John and Polly Stevens raised 14 of their grandchildren and some great-grandchildren in their 21-room inn, while continuing to operate their farm on the west side of town.

In 1834, Stevens had built a home for himself that was closer to his farmland. This home, located at 27 N. West Street in Naperville, has been occupied by descendants of John Stevens ever since.
The Wilson-Drendel-Fessler family homestead was built by John Stevens in 1834 and has been continuously occupied for 170 years.
The current residents are George and Judy Fessler. It is the oldest surviving home in Naperville, and each succeeding generation of the Stevens' descendants has maintained the home like a family treasure. It stands today as a living part of Naperville's heritage and a tribute to John Stevens, the first professional builder of Naperville.

Captain John Stevens died on May 3, 1862 and is buried at the Naperville Cemetery.

The Oldest House in Naperville, Illinois - September 12, 2014.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

The Chicago Beach Hotel, Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago Beach Hotel was a luxury resort hotel located at 53rd Boulevard on the lakeshore in the "Indian Village" neighborhood of the Kenwood community, Chicago, Illinois.
The hotel was built in 1892 by Warren Leland and was one of many speculative hotels built to accommodate the hordes of tourists drawn by the upcoming World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. It contained 450 rooms, with 175 bathrooms. The property included private access to Lake Michigan's beach front.
The building resembled the Hyde Park Hotel and probably shared architects. Many Chicagoans of high social standing became residents and members. The building had private access to the beach until 1915 when the city created an adjacent bathhouse. It lost its beach frontage entirely in 1920 when the shoreline was moved more than a block eastward with a landfill project that created South Lake Shore Drive.
In 1921 a huge 12 story, 545-room addition was constructed on the eastern portion of the property. The original structure, by now outdated, was then demolished in 1927. 
During World War II, the hotel served as a hospital for the army. After the war, the former hotel was used as apartment space before the entire structure was razed and the space became the location of the upscale Regents Park Apartments. The Algonquin Apartments, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, were built on the site of the original wing in 1950.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1960s & 70s Devon Avenue Bakeries in Chicago.

Devon Avenue in Chicago's West Ridge and Rogers Park communities was loaded with bakeries in the 1960s & 70s. If you know a bakery that belongs on this list, please leave the name and address in a comment below.
They are still open on Devon Avenue.
They are still open on Devon Avenue.

Arfa Bakery, 1348 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Litberg's Bakery, 1519 W Devon Avenue, Chicago.
Nelson's Bakery, 2245 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Heinemann's Bakery, 2255 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Devon Bakery, 2301 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Burny Bros. Bakery, 2433 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Schlosser's Bakery, 2433 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Farber's Bakery, 2502 1/2 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Gross Bakery, 2546 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Leonard's Bakery, 2651 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Kuznitsky's Bakery, 2745 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Gitel's Kosher Pastry Shop, 2745 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Knopov's Bakery, 2815 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Levinson's Bakery, 2856 W Devon Avenue, Chicago
Tel-Aviv Kosher Bakery, 2944 W Devon Avenue, Chicago

Friday, July 27, 2018

Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass co-authored: "The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition."

Ida B. Wells grew up in the post–Civil War South and became a fierce opponent of lynching. She came to Chicago in 1893 to protest the exclusion of Negroes from exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition. The Haitian building stood in as a center for Americans of color. Frederick Douglass, the noted abolitionist, and advocate for equal rights represented the Haitian government at the fair. Wells described Haiti's pavilion as “one of the gems of the World's Fair, and in it, Mr. Douglass held high court.
                             Ida B. Wells                                                Frederick Douglass

Wells and Douglass co-authored and published the book, "The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not In The World's Columbian Exposition." (in PDF Format)

As Wells described it, the booklet was a clear, plain statement of facts concerning the oppression put upon the colored people in this land of the free and home of the brave. We circulated ten thousand copies of this little book during the remaining three months of the fair. Every day I was on duty at the Haitian building, where Mr. Douglass gave me a desk and spent days putting this pamphlet in the hands of foreign visitors to the World's Fair.

Ultimately, the fair officials offered to sponsor a special day for Negroes. Wells and many other African Americans considered Negro Day little more than a gesture and were reluctant to participate. Frederick Douglass, however, took the opportunity to spotlight the problems that people of color faced in the United States. Douglass died in 1895, but Ida B. Wells moved permanently to Chicago and became involved in a wide range of civic and club activities like that of the Alpha [Woman's] Suffrage Club of Chicago. Wells was a Chicagoan until her death in 1931.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

“Barack Obama Day” is celebrated every August 4th which is his Birthday. It was made a state of Illinois holiday in 2018.

In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM introduces present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. Presentism is a form of cultural bias creating a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present fact-based and well-researched articles.

Facts don't require one's approval or acceptance.

I present [PG-13] articles without regard to race, color, political party, or religious beliefs, including Atheism, national origin, citizenship status, gender, LGBTQ+ status, disability, military status, or educational level. What I present are facts — NOT Alternative Facts — about the subject. You won't find articles or readers' comments that spread rumors, lies, hateful statements, and members instigating arguments and fights.

The use of old commonly used terms, disrespectful today, i.e., REDMAN
or REDMEN, SAVAGES, and HALF-BREED, are explained in this article.



Illinois celebrated the first state holiday for the former President's birthday, "Barack Obama Day," on August 4, 2018.
Barack Hussein Obama was photographed for Rolling Stone magazine in 2012, just before beginning his second term as President of the United States.
The bill was introduced to the Senate floor by Senator Emil Jones III and passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly on May 19, 2017, with no votes against it. However, several legislators abstained from the vote. It was handed to the governor for approval on June 16, 2017.

The day is "set apart to honor the 44th President of the United States of America who began his career serving the People of Illinois in both the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. He dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities." 

Illinois Senate Bill 55 was passed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Republican, on August 4, 2017.

"It's incredibly proud of Illinois that the President came from Illinois. I think it's awesome, and we should celebrate it," Rauner said, "I don't think it should be a formal holiday with paid, forced time off, but I think it should be a day of acknowledgment and celebration." Barack Obama Day is a commemorative holiday but not a paid holiday, so government employees continue to work.
Barack Hussein Obama's baby picture, Circa 1961.
President Barack Obama (born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - not Kenya, Africa) is one of three presidents from Illinois, the other two being Abraham Lincoln (born near Hodgenville, Kentucky) and Ronald Reagan (born in Tampico, Illinois).
NOTE: Perry County, Alabama, declared the second Monday of November to be Barack Obama Day.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Whole Story of the Choo-Choo Diner that Continues Today in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The first "Choo-Choo Limited Restaurant," a "restaurant designed with children in mind," opened at 4923 Oakton Street in Skokie on July 1, 1949, and was operated by Roy Ballowe and William Indelli. The Choo-Choo Limited had 19 seats and two O-scale trains: a Pennsylvania steam engine and a Santa Fe streamline diesel, each pulling about 6 food cars. Two waitresses with brakeman's caps reading "Choo-Choo" worked there, calling orders to the kitchen and listening for the cook's cry of "'Board!" with a steam whistle blast, indicating that food was ready. The waitresses used a numbered seat system and a control box to know where to stop the train. 

As Ballowe once said, "Trains go fast, and that's how we wanted our customers to be served." The diner quickly became a source of popularity among adults and children alike. The idea for the Choo-Choo restaurant style was conceived while Roy served as a soldier in the Philippines. The rations served were less than ideal, and Ballowe dreamed of the kinds of food he'd like to have. After a fellow soldier complained about the "gravy train," the idea began to take shape in Roy Ballowe's mind. "Gravy train," thought the young Private. "Why not serve hamburgers on a model train? Kids love both of 'em." The Choo-Choo Limited Restaurant was featured on the Camel Caravan TV program. It was closed in 1956.

Roy Ballowe opened A second Choo-Choo in April of 1951 at 1114 Central Ave in Wilmette.

James Ballowe, Roy's brother, an Attorney by trade, opened the new Choo-Choo Diner at 600 Lee Street (at Miner Street) in Des Plaines opened in May of 1951, then followed by a Choo-Choo at 3352 West Foster Avenue in Chicago.

In 1956, a new, larger, freestanding building was built and is still in business.

In 1956, the restaurant was popular enough that a new, larger, freestanding building was built, the Choo-Choo we all know today. This photo from 2008 is the owner's attempt to save the restaurant from a Condo developer who wanted the property. The Choo Choo won!
Roy Ballowe later recalled that while Ray Kroc was preparing to open his first McDonald's, he stopped at the Choo-Choo in the Masonic Temple building in Wilmette to check out the other hamburger place in town. Kroc thought the Choo-Choo was a novel operation. Kroc assured him that he didn't think his hamburger restaurant would be competition since he didn't have seats or a train. After Kroc left, Ballowe remarked to his employees that McDonald's was a fly-by-night operation with no chance of survival and would never move as many burgers as the Choo-Choo. Many of Kroc's employees defected to the Choo-Choo because it could pay in cash instead of stock (several employees who stayed with McDonald's became very wealthy as a result). Ballowe never saw Kroc again. While cars took the place of trains, and McDonald's took the place of diners, the Choo-Choo has endured as home to the kid in all of us.
The new neon sign was identical to its 1950s appearance, except that the dash in Choo-Choo disappeared.
The interior of the choo-choo is virtually identical to its 1956 appearance, with Formica surfaces, stainless steel equipment, terrazzo floors, wood paneling, and Naugahyde stools (though they were once light green); even the bathrooms and air conditioner are original.
James donned the proper attire: an engineer's cap, a red bandanna around his neck, and a whistle he would blow whenever he sent the train around.

And according to Marilyn, Ray Kroc didn't think his restaurant would surpass the business the Ballowes were getting. He even paid the Ballowes a visit and reassured them that his restaurant would be no competition. He told them, "I don't have a place for people to sit down."
James and Marilyn Ballowe owned the diner for 25 years before James retired at age 68. Marilyn is happy to see the diner she and her husband created back in business. Says Marilyn, "I'm getting to enjoy it all over again." 

In 1974, the Ballowes sold the business to George and Sue Doris, who ran the restaurant with the Mandas family as a partner. A few years later, George and Sure Doris bought and ran the Choo-Choo Diner entirely on their own until 2000, when Sue Doris died.
The Choo Choo serving train in action.

The current operator, Jean Paxton, has done a great job with the restaurant. The place is busier than ever, the food is delicious, and it's consistently sparkling clean. Equally importantly, she has shown a lot of respect for keeping it authentic, the same place we all remember going to as children.

The Choo-Choo Diner is still going strong today.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Illinois Woman Suffrage Association; "Ahead of their time."

In February 1870, Frances Willard, along with other members of the newly-formed Illinois Woman Suffrage Association, traveled to the state capital in order to convince the Illinois Constitutional Convention to include universal suffrage in the proposed document. Buoyed by petitions to the General Assembly, which favored female suffrage, Willard declared: "The idea that boys of 21 are fit to make laws for their mothers is an insult to everyone." Unfortunately, after Willard and her allies left town, the delegates received almost an equal number of petitions against the issue, including one from 380 Peoria women who protested "having the ballot thrust upon them." In May, the convention followed the pattern set by the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and drafted a document that provided suffrage for all adult males in Illinois, including Negroes, but not for women.

When Illinois entered the Union in 1818, its constitution, like those of the other 20 states, expressly gave the vote only to "white, male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years." Illinois' second constitution, adopted in 1848, allowed men to vote for a greater number of officials than previously, but it still excluded women from using the ballot. The state's first documented speech in favor of women's suffrage was made by Mr. A.J. Grover, editor of the Earlville Transcript. His talk inspired Mrs. Susan Hoxie Richardson (a cousin of Susan B. Anthony) to organize Illinois' first woman suffrage society. Another transplant to LaSalle County who supported the suffrage cause at the same time was Prudence Crandall. A school teacher in Mendota, she had been forced to flee Connecticut because she taught Negro girls in her school. Crandall worked in Illinois as an early advocate of the enfranchisement of both black and white women.
The First Illinois Woman Suffrage Convention was held in Chicago in 1869.
However, the Civil War and its upheaval of society brought an abrupt end to the efforts of the fledgling suffrage movement. Women all over the county and in all social positions took on even more responsibility for running the household, managing money, and being involved in public affairs. Many of the early suffragists turned their energies and organizational skills to assisting the government with war relief. In Illinois, abolitionist Mary Livermore and Jane Hoge (both board members of the Chicago Home for the Friendless) were appointed co-directors of the Northwestern branch of the Sanitary Commission. This relief agency provided supplies to soldiers and operated battlefield hospitals. During the war, Mary became "aware that a large portion of the nation's work was badly done, or not done at all, because women were not recognized as a factor in the political world." Although originally opposed to votes for women, the war convinced Livermore that "men and women should stand shoulder to shoulder, equal before the law" and that suffrage was the way for the enactment of social reforms that she felt were needed.

In 1869, Livermore organized an Illinois woman suffrage convention, while at the same time one was being held a block away by "Sorosis," another newly formed woman's organization. The Chicago Tribune reported that women obviously didn't have the capacity to govern since they couldn't even agree on planning a common convention. The paper predicted that "The public will now be annoyed for six months by the characteristic ill humor of a lot of old hens trying to hatch out their addled productions." While admitting that Livermore's group was intelligent and business-like, the Chicago Times sarcastically stated that the appearance of the Sorosis convention "was the best argument for woman suffrage, the men being ladylike and effeminate, the women gentlemanly and masculine."

The Livermore faction, full of distinguished clergymen and educators and hearing addresses from both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized themselves into the Illinois Woman Suffrage Association and elected Livermore President. Within a month, she created the Agitator, a suffrage newspaper, and by September, she had established local associations in Aurora, Plano, Yorkville, and Sandwich. However, later that year, the Agitator was merged with the Woman's Journal, published in Boston, and in 1870, Livermore and her Universalist minister husband moved to Massachusetts, where she continued to work for social reform and women's issues until her death in 1905.

Because another state constitutional convention could not legally be called in Illinois for twenty years, members of the women's suffrage movement began a push for changes in individual laws. While universal suffrage was set back, gains in specific women's rights were accomplished. Through the efforts of Alta Hulett, Myra Colby Bradwell, her husband Judge James Bradwell, and others, laws passed between 1860 and 1890 included women's right to control their own earnings, to equal guardianship of children after divorce, to control and maintain the property, to share in a deceased husband's estate, and to enter into any occupation or profession. This included becoming an attorney (Hulett was the first woman admitted to the Illinois bar) even though women could not legally sit on Illinois juries until 1939 (based on a bill sponsored by Lottie Holman O'Neill, Illinois' first woman state representative).

In 1873, Judge Bradwell secured the passage of a statute that allowed any woman, "married or single, " who possessed the qualification required of men to be eligible for any school office in Illinois created by law and not the constitution. Even though they couldn't vote for themselves, in November 1874, ten women were elected as County Superintendents of Schools.

Probably the two most important people in the Illinois suffrage movement during this time were Elizabeth Boynton Harbert and Frances E. Willard. Harbert helped keep the Illinois association alive by serving as president for a total of twelve years.

She was a prolific writer as well as the founder and first president of the Evanston Women's Club. Her early writings stated that both women and society were injured by pushing children into stereotypical sex roles that confined females to the "women's sphere." She thought that this practice condemned a woman to a non-productive lifetime of dependence on others.

However, Harbert's later writings admit that perhaps women did have some virtues and traits that were typically characteristic of her sex, such as purity, charity, and fidelity. She wrote that women were "born to soothe and to solace, to help and to heal the sick world that leans upon her." Therefore, giving women the vote would allow them to fulfill their natural nurturing function. In essence, Harbert's writings exemplified the whole movement's shift from an elite intellectual pursuit for justice to a middle-class reform movement that would benefit society.

Illinois' most famous reformer of this period was undoubtedly Frances Willard. After her first experiences with the Illinois legislature, Miss Willard returned to Evanston, where she served as President of the College for Ladies and later Dean of Women at Northwestern University. In 1874, she resigned from her position and became totally immersed in the temperance movement that swept the country. She helped establish the anti-liquor Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and eventually served as president of the Chicago, state, and national organizations. She became a believer that giving women the sacred ballot was the only way to get rid of the demon spirits that were ruining the American family.

On March 24, 1877, seventy women of the Illinois WCTU presented the General Assembly in Springfield a petition signed by 7,000 persons asking that no licenses to sell liquor be granted that was not asked for by a majority of citizens of location. Failing their efforts to influence the legislature, they returned in 1879. They presented petitions signed by 180,000 who favored what was termed the "Home Protection" bill, a proposed law that would put liquor sales under local control and allow women to vote in these referenda. Although the bill eventually was defeated, on March 6 of that session, Frances Willard became the first woman ever to stand at the speaker's podium and address an official session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Despite these defeats, the suffrage and temperance movements kept coming back every two years in an effort to obtain some form of female franchise. In 1891, the Illinois legislature was informed by a petition from Jackson County women that they and the "vast majority" of Illinois women did not want the vote. Since ''they belonged to that class of women who kept their own homes and took care of their own children," they were perfectly content to let their fathers, husbands, and sons vote for them. However, other petitioners agreed with the women citizens of Pittsfield who demanded "the right and privilege of voting in municipal elections "as a means to better government and that we may no longer be subject to the control of besotted men and the vicious classes."

Illinois women finally received limited franchise rights on June 19, 1891, when the state legislature passed a bill that entitled women to vote at any election held to elect school officials. Since these elections were often held at the same time and place as elections for other offices, women had to use separate ballots and separate ballot boxes. Subsequent Illinois Supreme Court cases also allowed women to serve as and cast ballots for the University of Illinois Trustees. This resulted in Lucy Flower becoming the first woman in Illinois to be elected by voters state-wide in 1894.

A little-known side-light in the history of Illinois suffrage is the story of Ellen Martin of Lombard. Many Illinois towns had special charters of incorporation written into law just before the 1870 state constitution forbade "privacy laws." While these charters specifically gave the vote only to males, Lombard's copy (perhaps unknowingly) stated that "all citizens" above the age of 21 who were residents shall be entitled to vote in municipal elections. Accordingly, Martin, "wearing two sets of spectacles and a gripsack," went to her polling place with a large law book and fourteen other prominent female citizens. When they demanded their right to vote, allegedly, the judges were so flabbergasted that one was taken with a spasm and another "fell backward into the flour barrel." The judges, however, eventually ruled in her favor, and the first 15 female votes in Illinois were tabulated on April 6, 1891.

Another Lady Lawyer who kept the suffrage movement fueled in its darkest days was Catharine Waugh McCulloch. In 1890, she became the legislative superintendent of the renamed Illinois Equal Suffrage Association. For the next twenty years, she kept the pressure on the General Assembly to approve a law that would allow women to vote in municipal and presidential elections. However, she constantly faced opposition from both individuals and organized groups.

One apparently frustrated man wrote the Illinois Senate expounding on his view that all suffragists secretly hate men and that giving them the vote would ruin the family. Women were, he wrote, "the sex which has accomplished absolutely nothing, except being the passive and often unwilling and hostile instruments by which humanity is created." During this era of labor unrest and mass immigration, a representative of the "Man Suffrage Association" wrote to his Illinois Senator and claimed that every socialist, anarchist, and Bolshevist was for woman suffrage.

Representing the distaff side of the anti-forces was Chicago homemaker Caroline Fairfield Corbin, who founded the Illinois Association Opposed to the Extension of Suffrage to Women in 1897. She believed that women should stay in their "sphere" of home life and allow their husbands and fathers to legislate for their protection. She viewed women's sufferage akin to socialism and fought both movements with religious zeal. Every time the suffragists tried to advance, she and her organization tried to push them back, arguing that most women were opposed to obtaining the vote.

After 20 years of fruitless petitioning to change the state's laws, the Illinois association began to change their tactics and allies. After 1900, more and more women's clubs and labor organizations endorsed some form of woman suffrage legislation. Between 1902 and 1906, the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs endorsed several municipal suffrage bills, including one that exempted women who couldn't vote from paying taxes.

Beginning in July 1910, McCulloch, Grace Wilbur Trout, and others began making automobile tours around the state. A special section of the July 10th edition of the Chicago Tribune detailed the plan of four women speakers, accompanied by two reporters, to visit 16 towns in 7 northern Illinois counties in 5 days. Chicagoan Trout was supposed to give the opening address and make the introductions. The other women were to speak about the legal aspects, laboring women's viewpoint, and the international situation regarding suffrage. Reflecting the tension that often existed between different factions, McCulloch later criticized Trout for speaking much too long and dominating the tour.
Grace Wilbur Trout, President of the Chicago Political Equality League.
In 1912, Trout, head of the Chicago Political Equality League, was elected president of the state organization. She abandoned the confrontational style of lobbying the state legislature and began to strengthen the organization internally. She made sure that a local organization was started in every senatorial district. One of her assistants, Elizabeth Booth, cut up an Illinois Blue Book government directory and made file cards for each of the members of the General Assembly. Trout only allowed four lobbyists in Springfield and tried to persuade one legislator at a time to support suffrage for women.

The Alpha Suffrage Club is believed to be the first Negro women's suffrage association in the United States. It began in Chicago, Illinois, in 1913 under the initiative of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her white colleague, Belle Squire. 

Read the first Alpha Suffrage Club's newsletter here:
The Alpha Suffrage Record; Volume 1, Number 1, March 18, 1914

During the 1913 session of the General Assembly, a bill was again introduced giving women the vote for Presidential electors and some local officials. With the help of the first-term Speaker of the House, Democrat William McKinley, the bill was given to a favorable committee. McKinley told Trout he would only bring it up for a final vote if he could be convinced there was sentiment for the bill in the state. Trout opened the floodgates of her network, and while in Chicago over the weekend, McKinley received a phone call every 15 minutes day and night. On returning to Springfield, he found a deluge of telegrams and letters from around the state, all in favor of suffrage. By acting quietly and quickly, Trout had caught the opposition off guard.
The Rainy Day Suffrage Parade passes by the Chicago Public Library during the 1916 Republication National Convention.
Passing the Senate first, the bill came up for a vote in the House on June 11, 1913. Trout and her troops counted heads and literally fetched needed men from their residences. Mrs. Trout actually guarded the door to the House chambers. They urged members in favor not to leave before the vote while also trying to prevent "anti" lobbyists from illegally being allowed onto the House floor. Getting the votes of all 25 first-term Progressives and the 3 Socialist Party members, the bill passed with six votes to spare, 83-58. On June 26, 1913, Governor Dunne signed the bill in the presence of Trout, Booth, and union labor leader Margaret Healy.

Women in Illinois could now vote for Presidential electors and for all local offices not specifically named in the Illinois Constitution. However, they still could not cast a vote for state representatives, congressmen, or governors; and they still had to use separate ballots and ballot boxes. But by virtue of this law, Illinois had become the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote for President. National suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt wrote:
"The effect of this victory upon the nation was astounding. When the first Illinois election took place in April, (1914) the press carried the headlines that 250,000 women had voted in Chicago. Illinois, with its large electoral vote of 29, proved the turning point beyond which politicians at last got a clear view of the fact that women were gaining genuine political power."
On June 26, 1913, Governor Edward F. Dunne, seated of Illinois, signed the Suffrage Bill that gave Illinois women the right to vote. Governor Dunne signed the bill in the presence of his wife, left, and suffragette leaders Grace Wilbur Trout, Elizabeth Booth, female lawyer Antoinette Funk, and teachers union leader Margaret Haley, seated.
Besides the passage of the Illinois Municipal Voting Act, 1913 was also a significant year in other facets of the women's suffrage movement. In Chicago, African American anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett founded the Alpha Suffrage Club, the first such organization for Negro women in Illinois. Although white women as a group were sometimes ambivalent about obtaining the franchise, African-American women were almost universally in favor of gaining the vote to help end their sexual exploitation, promote their educational opportunities, and protect those who were wage earners. On March 3, 1913, more than 5,000 suffragists paraded in Washington, D.C. When Wells tried to line up with her Illinois sisters, she was asked to go to the end of the line so as not to offend and alienate the Southern women marchers. Wells feigned agreement, but much to the shock of Trout, she joined the Illinois delegation once the parade started.

In June 1916, many Illinois women were among the 5,000 who marched in Chicago to the Republican National Convention hall in a tremendous rainstorm. Their efforts convinced the convention to include a Woman's Suffrage plank in the party platform. They got Presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes to endorse the proposed constitutional amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Three years later, Congress finally passed Susan B. Anthony Amendment. First introduced in Congress in 1878, it stated simply:

"The right of citizens of the
United States to vote shall not be
denied or abridged by the United States
or by any State on account of sex."

On June 10, 1919, Illinois became the first state to approve this amendment. Ratification by the 36th state, Tennessee, came 12 months later, and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution took effect on August 26, 1920. This made the United States the 27th country to allow women universal suffrage.

National President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the idea of a "League of Women Voters" as a memorial to the departed leaders of the Suffrage cause. The next year, the National American Woman Suffrage Association was disbanded, and the League of Women Voters was founded on February 14 at the Pick Congress Hotel in Chicago. Present at the creation were suffragists Jane Addams, Louise de Koven Bowen, Agnes Nestor, Wells-Barnett, Haley, McCulloch, and Trout. Gone but not forgotten were the women who first led the way: Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Livermore, Frances Willard, and countless others.

On November 15, 1995, a simple plaque was dedicated in recognition of their efforts in the Illinois State Capitol next to the statue of Lottie Holman O'Neill of Downer's Grove; the first woman elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.