The Fifth Lincoln-Douglas Debate

In 1858, the race for the Illinois seat of the United States Senate was between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. They held a series of seven debates throughout the state, but the fifth one is considered by many scholars to be the turning point in Lincoln’s political career. Using a combination of colorful storyboards, along…

February 16, 1903: A Guest of Honor

In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt made a politically bold decision when he invited African-American leader Booker T. Washington to have dinner with the Roosevelt’s at the White House. People of color worked in the White House but never before had an African-American man been an invited guest to dinner. Roosevelt received support and rebuke for…

Lombard Pianos

Before the Civil War, most of the pianos in America were imported. In the years after the Civil War until the Great Depression, the American piano industry grew to manufacture about half of the pianos in the world. A piano in the home suggested that this was a refined, educated household. [Related: September 18, 1899:…

September 18, 1899: Copyright of Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin

Setting the Scene: 1899 The Spanish-American war ended. Aspirin was patented. Carnation made its first can of evaporated milk. The first motor-driven vacuum cleaner (gasoline powered!) was invented by J.S. Thurman. A United States patent is issued to Ferdinand von Zeppelin for his “Navigable Balloon.” The first known use of the word “automobile” appeared in…

Mary Allen West

First, the backstory. For five years, I was the Director of Music/Organist for Central Congregational Church in Galesburg, Illinois. This magnificent building is on the National Register of Historic Places and tours of church are frequent. I hosted many of those tours and learned much about the people who are memorialized by the stained glass…

“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”

Make a stand (idiom) definition – Adopt a firm position about an issue. Hold firm, as in hold the ground against an enemy. -Merriam-Webster In 1858, Dudley Atkins Tyng was a 29-year-old Episcopalian pastor and abolitionist. Not everyone in his Philadelphia church agreed with his straightforward doctrinal preaching and position against slavery and he resigned…