Hello. My name is Neil Gale. As a child, I had no interest in History. Like many of us, I found learning History in elementary school boring. I didn't think remembering dates, names, and events would be helpful as an adult... "in the real world." History could have been more captivating and interesting to me. Teachers didn't seem to try making learning history fun or interesting and didn't present the "results" or aftermath of historical events.

My mom and aunt would take me to antique and collectible shows. At seven, I began collecting antique and vintage Chicago postcards (Chicago proper - no suburbs).

The first time I found an antique dealer's booth with tables of shoe boxes filled with postcards from around the World, I parked myself on one of his folding chairs in front of the many boxes marked "Chicago" and "Illinois." After about two hours, my mom returned to the dealer's booth to find me still looking through and reading the postcards.

Postcards were very reasonable back then, mostly 10¢ to 25¢ each postcard, so I could buy some myself. Furthermore, I learned how to successfully negotiate a lower price when buying higher-cost items. I have approximately 5,000 Chicago postcards.

By the time I was in High School, I had developed an interest in American History. Still, the teaching methods mainly relied on memorization. I spent many Saturdays researching Chicago history at the Chicago Historical Society, so 
frequently that the library administrator gave me a free library card. I wasn't even a member of the CHS. Thinking about this administrator today, I believe she played a significant role in honing my research skills and by allowing me access to Chicago Historical Society Library. 

My senior year in High School was the first year of the Chicago Metro History Fair, including public and private schools from the Chicagoland area. My project analyzed why the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair opened for a second year. I had many of my postcards and a research report on the financial profitability of the World's Fair at the end of the Great Depression and Prohibition. I highlighted the benefits to the City of Chicago and to the state of Illinois. 

I won the regional first and second rounds, receiving a Certificate for 'Outstanding Historical Ability and Performance"' with an Honorable Mention. 

I received an "Outstanding Achievement Award" in the History Fair's finals at the old Chicago Cultural Center (renamed from Chicago Main Public Library in 1977).
Regional Semi-Finals
The Chicago Metro History Fair's finals were held at the Chicago Cultural Center (renamed from Chicago Main Public Library in 1977). I received a "Certificate for Outstanding Achievement" Award.
Certificate of Outstanding Achievement Award - Finals
The First Chicago Metro History Fair.

Brass Plaque
I wanted to share some unique Chicago postcards as my Chicago postcard collection grew. I opened the Chicago Postcard Museum on November 1, 2007. The Virtual Museum is constructed with lobbies, galleries, rooms, and exhibit halls, just like walking into a brick-and-mortar Museum. Special presentations and collections of extremely rare, antique, and vintage postcards will be displayed.

Listen to Dr. Gale's Interview on WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago Public Radio, Eight Forty-Eight Show presents: Passion for Postcards Goes Digital. Hosted by: Stephanie Lecci. February 26, 2008. 

Below is an article from the Chicago Reader, "Show Us You're [______]." February 2, 2012

As a historian and author, I enjoy learning about Illinois' History and presenting the stories and photographs that make Illinois' History come alive. The next evolution of a modern-day historian is to interact with History by allowing others to add to the richness of the article presentations with additional facts, photographs, and personal and family experiences. This is where a Facebook group excels by allowing feedback, comments, videos, pictures, and images to be added to the presentations, enriching the experience of all readers.

The resources below help students research and prepare for the Chicago Metro History Day and the Illinois Regional History Fair semi-finals, all leading up to the state finals competition on Illinois History Day held in Springfield, Illinois, each May.

In October 2012, I started the Facebook group and named it Living History of Illinois and Chicago®. People worldwide and from all walks of life have joined to participate in this social history venue, forming one of the most interesting educational and entertaining groups on Facebook. The 52K member group hosts Junior and Senior High School (6th-12th grades) history and social studies classes with their educators for lesson plans. 

On February 21, 2023, I changed the group from PUBLIC to PRIVATE because Facebook's new membership type automatically approved them as members. People will still find the group but must join to post, comment and participate in this clean and healthy group.

I've recruited dozens of Illinois community, township, and county Historical Societies, History Museum Directors, Museum Curators, and career Historians to join the group. Many members are in public service, including Mayors and former Mayors from towns and cities all over Illinois. In addition, the group is loaded with local media broadcasters, including news anchors and researchers from NBC, ABC, CBS, and other TV and cable networks, plus radio personalities from around the state. The group boasts of having several professional photographers who share their own photographs.

In 2013, I started the Digital Research Library of Illinois History®. The library includes my personal research papers, including a series about 'Lost Town of Illinois,' 'Chicago's Forgotten Neighborhoods,' and 'Defunct Amusement Parks of Illinois.' The library's goal was to be a prime Illinois history resource for students and educators.

Because of Facebook's restrictions on each group's number of posted images stored (approx. 5,000 per group), the oldest ones are deleted when new ones are posted. I found it necessary to create a way of "Saving Illinois History, One Story at a Time" before the posts on Facebook is deleted. 

On November 6, 2016, I founded the Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal. The Journal presents Illinois history in a friendly format. Being membership free, anybody online can add their comments to the articles in the Journal. It has replaced the Digital Research Library of Illinois History® site, which is now our file server and backup.

On July 28, 2020, I was removed and blocked from an Abraham Lincoln Facebook group because I provided proof that a member's post was false. Little did I know the person was a group Administrator. After sleeping on the issue, I started a new Facebook group the following day, "Abraham Lincoln Forum™."

I offer our members and the general public a free Daily Illinois Newspaper. The Living History of Illinois Gazette™ has current news from all over Illinois.  

To offset the costs of hosting and management fees for the Digital Research Library of Illinois History®, Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™, and the Living History of Illinois Gazette™, I opened an online store with unique Illinois and Chicago logoed items that I personally designed or re-created. The Illinois History Store® profits fund these Illinois history projects.