Lincon Academy of Illinois Hall of Fame of Historic Illinoisans
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, with its stature, structure, and procedures, is unique among the fifty states. Founded in 1964, the Academy has awarded the state’s highest honor to 156 distinguished citizens who, by birth or residence, have brought honor to Illinois through their achievements.
We are also justly proud of those great citizens who lived in the state’s lengthy and formative era prior to the establishment of the Academy. The Hall of Fame of Historic Illinoisans has been created to recognize those earlier contributions to our heritage, and we salute those chosen as the first to be so honored.
– Governor Jim Edgar President of the Academy
Over the years The Lincoln Academy of Illinois has had two important missions. The first and foremost has been the major convocation to award the “Medal of Lincoln” annually to a select group of Laureates for their exemplary achievements that have brought honor to the state. These impressive and elegant functions have been held every spring, rotating from city to city.
The second mission, now in its eighteenth year, has been the Student Laureate Award, presented each (all to the most outstanding seniors from our over fifty colleges and universities. These award ceremonies have traditionally been held in the House of Representatives Chamber in the State Capitol.
And now it is the pleasure of the Academy to inaugurate a third annual program, the naming of the “Hall of Fame of Historic Illinoisans,” those famous individuals who came before the founding of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, but left: their mark on our great state.
John T. Trutter Chancellor
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois came into existence in 1964, inspired by the interest in the state’s great past and its distinguished sons and daughters created by the Illinois Land of Lincoln Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1964 and 1965. Illinois Day in 1964 at the Fair, with the presence of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the great-grandson of Abraham Lincoln and such other Illinois luminaries as Adlai Stevenson, Allan Nevins, Benny Goodman, Mercedes McCambridge, Cab Calloway, James T. Farrell, Gwendolyn Brooks, and many others, brought on a desire to establish a structure whereby individuals who were born or rose to fame in the twenty-first state could be honored for their contributions to their state, nation, and the world.
The first convocation and installation of members of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois was held on Thursday evening, February 12, 1965, at the Chicago Historical Society. The Laureates elected were John Bardeen, scientist and one of the developers of the transistor; Joseph Leopold Block, leader in commerce and industry; John Stephen Boyle, chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court; Richard Gibbs Browne, executive director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Avery Brundage, guiding spirit of the Olympic games; James E. Day, president, Midwest Stock Exchange; Rudolph Ganz, composer, conductor, pianist, and music teacher; William Henry Mauldin, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, creator of the immortal World War II characters, “Willie”and “Joe”; His Eminence Albert, Cardinal Meyer, archbishop of Chicago; Nathan Mortimer Newark, technical genius, pioneer in the world of computers; William Allan Patterson, president, United Air Lines; Ward buiis Quaal, president, WGN Continental Broadcasting System; and Adlai I ‘wing Stevenson, former governor of Illinois and United States ambassador the United Nations. Since it founding twenty-seven years ago, more than 150 men and women have been honored by the Academy with the medal of “The Order of Lincoln” the state’s highest award.
Illinoisans have made significant contributions to our history and culture long before the Lincoln Academy came into existence in 1964. The roster of distinguished and talented men and women in our history is a noble one. To omit them from the record of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois would be unworthy of our stated purpose of existence:
To honor individuals whose contributions to the betterment of mankind have been accomplished in or on behalf of the State of Illinois, or whose achievements have brought honor to the state because of their identity with it, whether by birth or residence, or by their dedication to those principles of democracy and humanity as exemplified by the great Illinoisan whose name we bear.
We, therefore, are proud to announce the establishment of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois Hall of Fame of Historic Illinoisans whose life span extended into and beyond the year of Illinois’ statehood – 1818. An initial list of fifty individuals has been selected by the selection committee which was created for this purpose. Compiling this was not easy. We have taken into consideration all of the excellent suggestions of our selection committee and odiers and have produced a list. Needless to say, it will not please everyone, but it also needs no apologies. There will be additional names added every year so that other notable individuals will be properly recognized. We will ask the public and the media to help the Lincoln Academy in making future selections for the Hall of Fame of Historic Illinoisans.
– Ralph G. Newman Chairman, Selection Committee
THE FIRST FIFTY HONOREES
Jane Addams (1860-1935) was one of America’s most dedicated and successful social reformers. Born in Cedarville, Illinois, she graduated from the Rockford Female Seminary in 1881. A visit to Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in the slums of London, inspired her to found Hull House on the West Side of Chicago in 1889. Addams and her colleagues at Hull House, believing that poverty and lack of opportunity – not racial or ethnic inferiority – thwarted a person’s chance for success in life, sought to do something to improve the odds for those in the slums of Chicago- She lobbied for the passage of important social legislation and was instrumental in the passage of the first factory inspection laws in Illinois, and the establishment of Chicago’s first model tenement code and first juvenile court. The author of several books on social reform, Addams became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
John Peter Altgeld (1847-1902) was brought to this country as an infant by his German-immigrant parents and was raised on a farm in Ohio. After studying law in Missouri, he moved to Chicago in 1875 and entered the real estate business. He was responsible for the construction of the sixteen-story Unity Building in downtown Chicago in 1890, a “skyscraper” governor from 1891-1897. The pardoning of four men who had been accused of complicity in the 1886 Haymarket riots and a controversial stand he took regarding the handling of the 1894 Pullman strike cost him his reelection. He continued to be active in die Democratic party and to support and speak out on behalf of worthy causes. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1902, while delivering a speech in Joliet in advocacy of Boer independence.
Philip Danforth Armour (1832-1902) helped make Chicago the meat packing center of the nation. He left his native Stockbridge, New York, in the businesses in Wisconsin and Minnesota, he formed a partnership with packer John Plankinton in Milwaukee. Largely because of the demand for fresh meat during the Civil War, his business prospered. In 1875 he moved his base of operations to Chicago. By shrewd manipulation of the pork market, he made a quick fortune. He founded the Armour Mission and the Armour Institute, which in 1940 became the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Black Hawk (1767-1838), Sauk war chief, was born in Sauk Village (now Rock Island), Illinois. He opposed the Treaty of St. Louis, which granted Sauk and Fox lands to the government, in 1804. Black Hawk joined Tecumseh in fighting with the British in the War of 1812. In an attempt to repossess tribal lands, he invaded Illinois from Iowa in April 1832 in what became known as the Black Hawk War. Defeated four months later at Bad Axe, Wisconsin, Black Hawk and several of his followers were imprisoned for a short time and then sent to Iowa, under the supervision of Sauk Chief Keokuk.
Shadrach Bond (1773-1832), the first governor of Illinois after it gained statehood in 1818, was born in Frederick County, Maryland, and settled in Monroe County, Illinois, in 1794. He served in several territorial positions and as a delegate from the Illinois Territory to the United States House of Representatives from 1812-1814. Bond was elected governor of Illinois in the election held from September 17 to September 19, 1918. During his term, the State Bank of Illinois was chartered and the capital was moved from Kaskaskia to Vandalia.
Myra Colby Bradwell (1831-1894), editor, lawyer, and crusader for legal reform and women’s suffrage, was born in Manchester, Vermont. Her family moved to Chicago in 1843 and she was educated in schools in Wisconsin and at the Ladies Seminary in Elgin, Illinois. After marrying lawyer James B. Bradwell in 1852, she took up the study of law and established the Chicago Legal News. She was the first woman in the world to serve as editor and business manager of a newspaper. After repeated unsuccessful petitions, Bradwell was finally granted a license to practice law in 1890. In 1892 she became the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Williams Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), three times the Democratic candidate for president of the United States, was born in Salem, Illinois. He received his legal education at the Union College of Law (now Northwestern University) and practiced in Jacksonville before moving to Nebraska in 1887. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1891-1895. A brilliant orator, Bryan won the 1896 Democratic presidential nomination with his famous “Cross of Gold” speech. He was defeated that year and again in 1900 and 1908. He served as secretary of state from 1913 – 1915, during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. In 1925 Bryan helped to prosecute John Thomas Scopes for teaching Darwinism in the schools of Tennessee.
Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, began her life as a nun in her home parish in St. Angelo, Lodigiano, Italy, in 1868. In 1889 Pope Leo XIII sent her to the United States to help the poor Italian immigrants in New York. In 1891 Mother Cabrini came to Chicago where she founded two hospitals – Columbus, in 1905, and Columbus Extension, later renamed in her honor, in 1910. She traveled throughout the world, establishing schools, orphanages, and hospitals. She was canonized in 1946, becoming the first and only American saint.
George Rogers Clark (1752-1818), farmer, soldier, surveyer, and explorer, was born near Charlottesville, Virginia. He explored the Ohio River in 1773 and surveyed for the Ohio Company in Kentucky in 1774. He commanded a Kentucky company during the Revolutionary War and led the expedition which captured Kaskaskia and the Illinois country in 1778. Clark’s military dominance over the Northwest country was a major factor in confirming its session to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris.
Edward Coles (1786-1868), the second governor of Illinois, was a native of Virginia and attended Hampden-Sydney College and the College of William and Mary. He served as private secretary to President James Madison from 1809-1815, and was sent to Russia on a diplomatic mission in 1816. An ardent abolitionist, he moved to Edwardsville, Illinois, in 1819, bringing the slaves he had inherited with him. After settling in Illinois, he emancipated the slaves and assisted them in making a new start in life. Coles was appointed register of the federal land office at Edwardsville in 1819, and was elected governor of the state in 1822. Accomplishments during his four-year term included judicial reorganization and the defeat of an effort to make Illinois a slave state.
Daniel Pope Cook (1784-1827), emigrated from Scott County, Kentucky, to Kaskaskia, Illinois, where he studied and practiced law. He moved to Edwardsville, where he became editor of the Illinois Intelligencer in 1816. After presiding as a judge on the Western Circuit, he became the first attorney general of Illinois in 1819. Cook served in the United States House of Representatives from 1819 – 1827, and was President John Quincy Adams’s emissary to Cuba in 1827. Cook County is named in his honor.
Richard J. Daley (1902-1976) was mayor of Chicago for twenty-one years (1955-1976), longer than any previous mayor in the city’s history. Born to working-class parents in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, he went to law school at nights while working in the nearby stockyards, graduating from DePaul University in 1933. He rose through the ranks in the city’s Democratic party, holding a variety of positions in local government. Prior to his first election as mayor, Daley served as state representative, state senator, and clerk of Cook County, and became chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee in 1953. His ability to negotiate compromises with differing elements in the city and get things done led to Chicago becoming known as “the city that works.”
Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), lawyer, orator, and lifelong dissenter, was born in Kinsman, Ohio. He studied at Allegheny College and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced law in Ohio before moving to Chicago in 1888. He served as corporation counsel for the city and spent one term in the Illinois House of Representatives. Because he often appeared in defense of unpopular causes, Darrow was sometimes called the “counsel for the damned.” He defended labor leader Eugene Debs in the 1895 Pullman strike trial; the McNamara brothers, accused of bombing the Los Angeles Times building; and Leopold and Loeb, killers of a teenaged Chicago boy. He opposed William Jennings Bryan in the 1925 Scopes “monkey trial.”
Charles Gates Dawes (1865-1951), a native of Ohio and graduate of the Cincinnati Law School, practiced law in Nebraska before entering the natural gas supply business, first in Wisconsin and then in Evanston, Illinois. After serving as comptroller of the currency in the administration of President William McKinley, he established the Central Trust Company of Illinois. Dawes joined the army during World War I, leaving with the rank of brigadier general. He was the author of the Dawes Plan, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926. He was vice president of the United States under President Calvin Coolidge and was appointed ambassador to Great Britain by President Herbert Hoover.
John Deere (1804-1886), inventor and manufacturer, was born in Rutland, Vermont, and settled eventually in Grand Detour, Illinois, where he opened a blacksmith shop. After considerable experimentation, he developed the first successful steel plow in 1836. In 1847 he moved his factory to Moline, Illinois. His factory, by 1883, was producing fifty-eight percent of all plows made in the United States.
Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966), a native of Chicago, studied cartooning at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Disney created the idea of one drawing for each frame in animation and achieved his first film success in 1928 with Steamboat Willie, featuring a character named Mickey Mouse. Later films include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) and Sleeping Beauty (1959). He produced television shows and built two amusement parks: Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida.
Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) was born in Brandon, Vermont, and studied at the Canandaigua Academy in western New York State before heading West in 1832. He settled in Jacksonville, Illinois, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1833. A Democrat, his political career extended from 1835, when he was elected an Illinois state’s attorney, to his death in 1861, during his third term in the United States Senate. In the intervening years, he had served in various offices, including justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and two terms in the United States House of Representatives. He is probably best remembered for his debates with Abraham Lincoln during the campaign for the United States Senate in in the election of 1858, which he won. After losing the 1860 presidential election to Lincoln, Douglas – in failing health – toured the country in an effort to quell fears in the South and preserve the Union.
Eugene Field (1850-1895), poet and journalist, was born in St. Louis and grew up in Missouri. He began his journalism career at the St. Louis Evening Journal in 1872. After working for three other newspapers in Missouri and Colorado, he joined the staff of the Chicago Daily News in 1883. His “Sharps and Flats” column of general commentary appeared for over a dozen years. Field is best known, though, for the sentimental children’s poems he wrote.
Marshall Field I (1834-1906), “the merchant prince of Chicago,” began his career in the dry goods business in his native Massachusetts. Arriving in Chicago in 1856, he went to work as a clerk for a wholesale firm. With two partners, Field opened a grand new store at State and Washington Streets in 1868. He bought out his partners’ interest in 1881; Field, Palmer and Leiter became Marshall Field and Company, still the largest department store in the city. With a gift of one million dollars in 1893, he helped found the Field Museum of Natural History.
Lucy Louisa Coues Flower (1837-1921), a native of Massachusetts, attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She began teaching in the public schools of Madison, Wisconsin, in 1859 and married Madison lawyer James M. Flower in 1862. Upon moving to Chicago in 1873, Flower devoted her educational interests to various philanthropies, including the Half-Orphan Asylum and the Chicago Home for the Friendless. She served as a member of the Chicago school board from 1891 – 1894.
Melville Weston Fuller (1833-1910) was born in Maine and studied at Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Augusta, Maine, before moving to Chicago in 1856. Fuller received public acclaim for several of the cases, including litigation involving the rights of Chicago to the Lake Michigan shore line, and for his work in building up the city’s park system. He was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1888 by President Grover Cleveland.
Harold (“Red”) Grange (1903-1991), football’s first superstar, was born in Forksvilie, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. In the early 1920s, Grange played football for the University of Illinois, where he was nicknamed the “Galloping Ghost.” In 1925 Chicago Bears coach George Halas signed Grange to an unprecedented $25,000 contract. During his long sports career, Grange played for two other football teams—the Chicago Bulls and the New York Yankees—before he retired from playing in 1934. From 1935-1937 he served as assistant coach for the Chicago Bears.
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, graduated from the United States Military Acaemy at West Point in 1843, fought in the Mexican War (1845-1847). He resigned from the army in 1854 and worked as a farmer and leather merchant in St. Louis, Missouri, and Galena, Illinois. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant resumed his army career as colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteers. His talents in commanding men and winning battles won him continual promotions. In 1864 he was made general, the first use of the rank since it was conferred on George Washington. As commander of all Union forces, he accepted Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1864. Grant was president of the United States from 1869 – 1877. While dying of throat cancer, he completed his critically-acclaimed Memoirs in 1885.
William Rainey Harper (1856-1906), scholar and educator, was a native of Ohio who graduated from Muskingum College at the age of fourteen and received his Ph.D. from Yale University before his nineteenth birthday. He was principal of Masonic College in Tennessee prior to accepting a position teaching Hebrew at Chicago’s Union Theological Seminary in 1879. From 1886 – 1890 he was professor of Semitic languages at Yale. Harper returned to Chicago in 1891 to help found the University of Chicago and became its first president, a position he held until his death in 1906.
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), one of America’s most successful and respected novelists, was born and grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. An adventurer who sought excitement in faraway places, he was an American ambulance driver and served with the Italian infantry in World War I. His literary works include The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). The Old Man and the Sea won a Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and a Nobel Prize for literature the following year.
Henry Horner (1879-1940), Illinois’ thirtieth governor, was born in Chicago, attended the University of Chicago, and received his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1898. He practiced law in Chicago until 1914, when he was appointed judge of the Probate Court of Cook County. A Democrat, he was elected governor of the state in 1932. He was reelected in 1936, after first winning a bitter primary election in which he defeated the candidate of the Chicago political machine. In an attempt to restrict the power of political machines, Horner supported a law requiring permanent voter registration. A great admirer and student of the life of the sixteenth president, Horner amassed a magnificent Lincoln collection which he bequeathed to the Illinois State Historical Library. He died before completing his second term as governor.
John Jones (1816-1879), the son of a freed slave woman and a German man, was born in Greene County, North Carolina. He was apprenticed to a tailor in Tennessee and moved to Alton, Illinois, and then to Chicago in 1845. He opened a tailor shop in the city, taught himself to read and write, and prospered making fine clothing for wealthy Chicagoans. His shop was a stop on the underground railroad, which helped thousands of slaves to safety in the North. Jones served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners from 1872 – 1875, becoming the first African-American to hold elective office in Illinois.
Keokuk (1790-1848), Sauk war chief, was born of the Fox clan in Sauk Village (now Rock Island), Illinois. Astute and articulate, he gained admission to the Sauk tribal council. He became chief after Black Hawk’s defeat in the Black Hawk War of 1832 and was given charge of his former rival. In 1837 he spoke at a conference on land disputes in Washington, D.C. He so eloquently set forth the Sauk and Fox claims that the Niles National Register called Keokuk “one of the most sagacious Indians on our frontier.”
Victor Freemont Lawson (1850-1925) was born in Chicago to parents of Norwegian descent, and attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Along with other property, he inherited at his father’s death in 1873 interest in the daily Skandinaven, the only Norwegian-language newspaper in the country. In 1876 he bought the Chicago Daily News which had been started less than a year earlier. Under Lawson’s leadership, the Daily News thrived, soon becoming the most prominent evening newspaper in the nation. In 1890 he founded the Chicago City Press Association, a forerunner of the City News Bureau. Lawson was president (1894-1900) and a director (1893-1925) of Associated Press.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), who became the best-known, most admired, and probably most eloquent president of the United States, was born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, of illiterate parents. His father moved the family to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in 1816, and to southwestern Illinois in 1830. Lincoln was self-taught; he once said he went to school “by littles,” spending a total of less than a year in country schools while he helped his father with farming chores. He worked as a store clerk, surveyer, and postmaster in New Salem, and studied law in New Salem and in Springfield, where he eventually built a prosperous practice. Lincoln served in the state legislature (1834-1841) and the United States House of Representatives (1847-1849). Though he lost that election, his debates with Senator Stephen A. Douglas during the 1858 senatorial campaign made him a leader of the Republican party. He won the presidential election in 1860, becoming the nation’s sixteenth president. Lincoln led the country with strength and compassion during its bloodiest conflict, the Civil War (1861-1865). Thousands of slaves were freed when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, four days after Robert E. Lee had surrendered Confederate forces at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln went to Ford’s Theatre with his wife Mary and some guests. Before the play had ended, the president was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth, a disgruntled Southern sympathizer. Lincoln died the next morning.
Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) was born in Springfield, Illinois, and studied at Hiram College in Ohio, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New York School of Art. Lindsay had ambitions to become an illustrator or cartoonist, but he had a natural talent for writing and it was his poetry that eventually won him fame. Chicago-based Poetry magazine launched his career in 1913 when it published his “General William Booth Enters Into Heaven.” Lindsay’s other well-known poems include “The Congo” and “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight in Springfield, Illinois.”
Elijah Parish Lovejoy (1802-1837), newspaper editor and publisher and martyred abolitionist, was born in Albion, Maine. The son of a clergyman, he graduated from Waterville College and studied theology at Princeton University. In 1833 he moved to St. Louis, where he became editor of the St. Louis Observer, which advocated the emancipation of slaves. Harassed by his enemies, he moved his printing plant to Alton, Illinois, in 1836. On July 4, 1837, he called a meeting to establish an Illinois auxiliary of the American Antislavery Society; its organization was completed by October 26, at which time a mob destroyed his press for a third time. On November 7, while guarding another new press, he was slain by a pro-slavery mob.
Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809-1884), inventor and manufacturer, was born in Virginia and received little formal education. He built a horse-drawn reaper at his father’s farm in 1831. Though he obtained a patent for his invention in 1834, it was not marketed until the early 1840s. McCormick’s reaper revolutionized farming – five times more wheat could be harvested per day than laborers could accomplish by hand. In 1847 McCormick chose Chicago as the location for his manufacturing plant. A “Copperhead” during the Civil War, he founded the Chicago Times, the largest anti-war newspaper in the North. He contributed funds to what became the McCormick Theological Seminary.
Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950), a leading figure of the Chicago Renaissance literary movement, was born in Kansas but moved with his family to Petersburg, then to Lewistown, Illinois, as a small child. He graduated from Knox College, read law in his father’s office, and came to Chicago in 1892. At one time a partner in Clarence Darrow’s law firm, he abandoned a flourishing legal career in 1920 to devote his time to writing. His first great literary success came with the publication of a collection of verse, Spoon River Anthology, in 1915. He was a prolific writer of verse and prose. Masters’s biography of Vachel Lindsay won the Mark Twain Medal in 1935.
Joseph Medill (1823-1899) was born in St. John, New Brunswick, and moved with his family to Stark County, Ohio, when he was nine years old. He studied law in Ohio, and purchased the Coshochton Whig in 1849, which he renamed the Republican. Medill moved to Chicago in 1854 and bought interest in the Chicago Tribune, becoming its business editor and managing editor. A founder of the Republican party, Medill was one of the earliest and most influential supporters of Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy for the presidency. During the Civil War, the Republican Tribune competed against Cyrus McCormick’s anti-war Chicago Times. Medill served as mayor of Chicago from 1871-1873. Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism was endowed by his family and named in his honor.
Robert Andrews Millikan (1868-1953), physicist and educator, was born in Morrison, Illinois. He graduated from Oberlin College and received a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Millikan was on the faculty of the University of Chicago from 1896-1921. He served the nation in a scientific capacity during World War I. In 1921 Millikan was named director of the Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics at Throop Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He was awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on cosmic rays and received many additional honors throughout his life.
George William Mundelein (1872-1939), the son of a poor family in New York City, was a third-generation German-American whose grandfather had been a Union soldier. He graduated from Manhattan College and, upon choosing the priesthood as a vocation, studied at St. Vincent’s Seminary and in Rome. Ordained in 1895, he became the nation’s youngest monsignor in 1906. In 1915 he was named archbishop of Chicago, and cardinal in 1926. During his term, two hundred new churches were built and Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Rosary College, and Mundelein College were established. He purchased land northwest of Chicago to build a seminary, St. Mary of the Lake; the town where it is located was later renamed in his honor.
Walter Loomis Newberry (1804-1868), whose father fought in the American Revolution, was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, and received little formal schooling. He moved to Detroit where he established a dry goods business and prospered. Attracted by the possibilities of the new city of Chicago, he moved there in 1833, entering the banking business and investing heavily in real estate. Director and president of a number of banking and business institutions, he founded the Young Men’s Library Association (1841) and was president of the Chicago Historical Society (1860 – 1868). A provision of his will provided for the founding of Chicago’s Newberry Library.
Archange Chevallier Ouilmette (1764-1840) was born in Sugar Creek, Michigan, the daughter of a French and a mother who was half French and half Pottawatomie in what was then Grosse Pointe, Illinois—an area that now comprises the cities of Evanston and Wilmette, and they established a farm in the area. In 1812 she hid survivors of the Fort Dearborn massacre and later she and her husband helped to establish communication between the United States and Indian tribes. In appreciation for these services, in 1829, the federal government granted this “woman of the Pottawatomie” two sections of land on the shore of Lake Michigan, in the Treaty of Prairie du Chen. The couple sold the property in 1838 and moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There is a Ouilmette Street in the city of Wilmette, which was incorporated in 1871.
Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (1747-1818), Chicago’s first permanent resident, was born in Haiti of African-American and French ancestry. In 1764 Pointe du Sable and a boyhood friend left Haiti on the sloop Suzanne and sailed to New Orleans. With a Pottawatomie guide, he sailed up the Mississippi River. A mutual respect developed between Pointe du Sable and Native Americans. He married a young Pottawatomie woman named Catherine. As early as 1772, he established a trading post in Checagou (a Native American word meaning “wild onion”), near what is now Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The first child born in Chicago was reportedly born at his trading post, which flourished for a number of years. After the Revolutionary War, more settlers began coming to the area and Pointe du Sable sold his property and moved to Peoria.
George Mortimer Pullman (1831-1897) was bom in Brocton, New York, and left school at fourteen to become a sales clerk and apprentice cabinet maker. In the early 1850s, in Rochester, New York, he invented a method for raising the level of streets and adjacent buildings. In 1855 he brought his lucrative business to Chicago, where he prevented the Tremont Hotel from sinking into a quagmire of mud. Pullman conceived an idea to build railroad cars with sleeping berths, which at first was not well-received. He introduced his first sleeping car, the “Pioneer,” in 1865, founded the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1867, and introduced the first dining car a year later. In 1880 he built the model town of Pullman for his employees on the shores of Lake Calumet. He resisted his workers’ demands in a bitter strike in 1894.
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), the son of Swedish immigrants, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, served in the Spanish-American War, and attended Lombard College. After trying a variety of jobs, Sandburg began his career as a journalist when he moved to Chicago in 1912, writing first for the Chicago World, and then the Chicago Daily News. Though other poems of his had been published, it was “Chicago,” which appeared in Poetry magazine in 1914 that first attracted public attention. His volumes of poetry include Comhuskers (1918.), The People, Yes (1936), and Complete Poems (1950). Among his books of prose are The Chicago Race Riots (1919), Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926) and Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939). Sandburg received three Pulitzer Prizes—one for history in 1940, and two for poetry in 1919 and 1951. In 1962 he was designated poet laureate of Illinois.
Louis Henri Sullivan (1856-1924), often called the greatest architect of his day, was born in Boston and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ecoie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He came to Chicago in 1875 and worked for various firms before joining forces with Dankmar Adler in 1880. They designed some of Chicago’s finest buildings, such as the Auditorium Theater, McVicker’s Theater, and the Schlesinger and Mayer Store (now Carson, Pirie, Scott). Sullivan’s book, Autobiography of an Idea (1924), was hailed by critics as a major contribution to American literature.
Christian Theodore Thomas (1835-1905) made his violin debut in his native Germany at the age of ten, shortly before he moved with his family to New York. When he was fourteen, Thomas went on his own as a violinist and toured the South. He organized and conducted the Theodore Thomas Orchestra and was conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1876-1891. Thomas accepted an offer to become conductor of the new Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891, a position he held until his death in 1905. He is credited with helping to raise the level of musical tastes in the Midwest.
Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844-1913), who established the world’s first mail-order business, left school in Niles, Michigan, at the age of eleven to go to work in a barrel factory. He worked for dry goods stores in Michigan an Missouri before coming to Chicago in 1865, where his first job was as a clerk at Field, Palmer and Leiter. With George Thorne, he founded Montgomery Ward & Company in 1872 and issued his first catalog the same year. With expensive litigation, he fought developers to keep Chicago’s lakefront between Randolph and 11th Streets free of obstruction. In 1897 the Supreme Court ruled that no building except the Art Institute could be erected on that strip of property between Michigan Avenue and the lake.
Ida Bell Wells-Bamett (1862-1931), who was born a slave, began teaching in Mississippi country schools at the age of fourteen. She fought against injustice and discrimination as a writer, editor, and social activist. After working in Tennessee and New York, she came to Chicago in 1893. She married Ferdinand L. Barnett, a Chicago lawyer and publisher of the Conservator, the city’s first African-American newspaper, in 1894. Barnett f the Negro Fellowship League in 1910 and worked with Jane Addams i separate schools for black children in Chicago. She was the first probation officer in Chicago and a founder and director of the Cook League of Women Voters.
Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931), who became the most respected African-American physician of his day, was born in Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He completed high school in Janesville, Wisconsin, while operating his own barbershop. Williams graduated from Chicago Medical College in 1883. As black physicians were not permitted to work in the city’s hospitals, Williams co-founded Provident Hospital in 1891 as “a venture in interracial cooperation.” He performed the world’s first open-heart surgery there in 18993. Williams left Provident for four years (1894-1898) to serve as chief surgeon at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C. He also served on the staff of St. Luke’s Hospital (1907-1931) and was a founder of the American College of Surgeons
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), a native of Wisconsin, spent two years studying engineering at the University of Wisconsin before moving to Chicago to pursue a career in architecture. After apprenticing with Louis Sullivan, he opened a practice in Oak Park, where he developed his “prairie style” in a series of homes built with low horizontal lines and strongly projecting eaves. Examples of his work can be found in a number of houses and several public buildings in the Chicago area and around the country. Wright designed the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (1923), the Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin (1936), and the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1956).
William Wrigley, Jr. (1861-1932), born in Philadelphia, went to work in his father’s soap manufacturing company there when he was thirteen. He came to Chicago in the 1890s and began producing chewing gum in 1893; in 1898 he formed the William Wrigley, Jr. Company. The Wrigley Building on North Michigan Avenue was constructed in 1924 to house his burgeoning chewing gum empire. Wrigley bought controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1921. Five years later the team’s playing field was renamed in his honor.
Florenz Ziegfield (1869-1932) was a native Chicagoan whose father had founded the Chicago Academy of Music in 1867. Ziegfield entered show business in 1893, when he brought bands and musical acts to the World’s Columbian Exposition. He moved to New York, where he brought actress Anna Held from Paris to Broadway to star in A Parlor Match in 1896. He produced a long series of musical revues, which became known as The Ziegfield Follies, from 1907-1931. The Follies featured beautiful women in a chorus line and music written by some of the country’s most eminent composers.