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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Teaching Illinois with Primary Sources

Illinois Header

Introduction | Primary Sources and Analysis Tools |
Library of Congress Resources | Primary Source Set

Choose a link below to access printable PDF versions of these materials including additional information, color images and citations.
Teaching Illinois with Primary Sources Resource Booklet | Primary Source Set  


On December 3, 1818 with a population of 34,620, Illinois entered the Union as the 21st state. Today, a population reaching almost 13,000,000 makes Illinois the fifth most populated state.  Living here, students may feel they already know about the great state they live in but Illinois has a vast history covering many topics. When we think about Illinois usually the first thing coming to mind is "Land of Lincoln". Abraham Lincoln was a great part of Illinois history, from early days as a lawyer in Springfield through becoming the President of the United States. His many accomplishments and way he helped shape Illinois and later the Union are found in the Library of Congress collections. Although Illinois is proud to be called the "Land of Lincoln", he is just a part of what makes Illinois. While most early settlers were farmers faced with difficulties of growing and maintaining crops and livestock, towns and cities began to emerge.

Everyday life in small towns is portrayed in images and documents in the LOC collections. How some of these towns thrived and were later abandoned can today be found in many students’ hometowns. Even cities like Chicago, which adds abundant history to Illinois, have changed over the years. From Chicago's booming population to the devastation of the great fires and effects of the Haymarket affair, each of these topics has primary sources that can be used in the classroom.  Illinois at war, women's suffrage, world fairs, state parks and many other items have helped to make Illinois what it is today and can be found in primary sources at the Library to add to student's learning experiences.

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