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Past Tracker |


Pre-Statehood Era: 1700-1818

Early Statehood: 1818-1861

Civil War Era: 1861-1865

Late 19th Century: 1866-1900

Early 20th Century: 1900-1914

World War I: 1914-1918

Roaring Twenties: 1918-1929

Great Depression: 1930-1941

World War II: 1941-1945

Cold War Era: 1946-1991

Millennium: 1991-Present

Lesson Plans



Can't find what you're looking for here on Past Tracker? There are several other online resources that you can access to discover more about Illinois' history. Provided below are links to other sites that may help you in your search.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, part of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

American Memory

  • A digital record of American history and creativity hosted by the Library of Congress.

The Avalon Project

  • Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy hosted by Yale Law School.

History of the Printed Newspaper

  • A resource database website containing links for external sites based off the history of newspapers, printing press, and the future of newspapers. 

Illinois Harvest

  • A free public gateway combining search, aggregation, and discovery services. They provide organized and thematic access to digitized and born-digital resources about Illinois, created by Illinois scholars, and from the digital collections of the University of Illinois Library.

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

  • The IHPA serves the state of Illinois through overseeing 56 historic sites and providing resources, research and assistance to individuals and communities across the state.

Illinois History.com

  • This blog by Jon Musgrave covers historic literature of Southern Illinois.

Illinois History Teacher

  • Created by the IHPA, this website offers both fiction and non-fiction resources for teachers, including lesson plans.

The Illinois State Archives

  • Contains primary sources, teaching packages, access to the Regional Depositories (IRAD), databases, and genealogical resources.
  • The Eastern Illinois University History Department would also like to thank the Illinois State Archives for giving us the permission to reproduce the documents contained in their publications, Windows to the Past: A Selection of Illinois County Records from 1818 to 1880Hard Time in Illinois, 1930-1940: A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State ArchivesThe Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827-1911: A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State ArchivesIllinois at War, 1941-1945: A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State ArchivesFrom the Ashes, 1872-1900: A Selection of Documents from the Proceedings Files of the Chicago City Council, and Early Chicago, 1833-1871: A Selection of City Council Proceedings Files from the Illinois State Archives.

Illinois in the Gilded Age

  • A digital collection focused on documents about the Gilded Age in Illinois and maintained by Northern Illinois University. 

Internet Archives and Open Library

  • An archive of over 10 million free digital books and texts; contains many early twentieth century works on Illinois.

Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

  • A collection of letters and journals by Jesuit priests in the seventeenth century. The latter volumes contain information on Illinois.

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

  • Links to select copies of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society from 1908 to 2006.

Laws of Illinois

  • Link to Western Illinois University's digitized laws of Illinois from prior to statehood to present.  Includes digitized law volumes.  

Library of Congress

Library of Congress Resources for Illinois

  • The Library of Congress is the federal archive of the many important images and documents in American history. Their digital collections contain everything from newspapers to original photographs.

  • WPA Posters Collection- Part of the Library of Congress collection, this contains many informational and promotional posters created by the Work Projects Administration during the Great Depression, including Illinois projects.


  • Lincoln/Net presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861), including Lincoln's writings and speeches, as well as other materials illuminating antebellum Illinois. This is a project of Northern Illinois University.


  • A web-based center for history starting at the local level, created and produced by Eastern Illinois University students and faculty.

"Making of America" Website

  • A digital collection of primary documents pertaining to social history maintained by the University of Michigan.

New Deal Network

  • A research and teaching resource for students and educators about the New Deal.

Prairie Fire

  • A collection of digitized documents about Illinois from the beginnings of white settlement to 1818.

Quincy Library

  • A digital newspaper collection managed by the Public Library of Quincy, Illinois.

The Red Hot Jazz Archive

  • A history of jazz before 1930.

Roselle Archive

  • A collection of digital archives and photos maintained by the partnership between Roselle History Museum and the Roselle Public Library. 

Smithsonian Learning Lab

  • This digital resource put out by the Smithsonian offers teaching packages and digital files for both children and adults.
  • Every Picture Has a Story- A variety of lesson plans focusing on the more than 13 million photos in their collection. 

Teaching with Primary Sources at EIU

  • This program from Eastern Illinois University provides resources for teachers using primary sources in the classroom. This program will be ending September 30, 2017.

University of Chicago Library: Digital Activities & Collections

  • Searchable collection from the University of Chicago, including the Enrico Fermi collection and other correspondence, maps, and resources.

University of Houston

  • University of Houston’s online digital history textbook; contains many useful documents pertaining to Illinois and lesson plans/ideas for educators.

University of Illinois: Historical Newspaper Digitized Collection

University of Illinois Springfield's Digital Collection

  • Collections for the the history of University of Illinois-Springfield and Sangamon State University, as well as the Illinois Regional Archive Depository (IRAD) for Central Illinois.

Western Illinois University Archives

  • A collection of digitized documents, archives and information for Western Illinois University and the western IRAD location. Also contains information regarding their Mormon collections.